The European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) has issued its annual report on discrimination in the bloc and referred to the Hungarian government’s advertisement campaign that focused on US billionaire George Soros as anti-Semitic. Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party reacted that the report “reflects the lies of the Soros network”.
The agency said anti-Semitism took many forms, noting that the Federation of Jewish Communities in Hungary (Mazsihisz) had called on Prime Minister Viktor Orban to stop the government’s campaign against Soros.
Meanwhile, referring to Hungary’s Equal Opportunity Authority, the report noted that more than one-third of Hungarians interviewed had experienced some kind of discrimination, for instance, due to their origin or age.
The agency also referred to police action in the context of migration through the Western Balkans, insisting that asylum seekers had been maltreated yet no police officer or border guard involved had been sentenced. The agency said EU member states were obliged to ensure safeguards and investigate all cases thoroughly.
The FRA said that with the exception of unaccompanied minors, Hungary placed almost all asylum seekers in border transit zones. This, it added, was considered deprivation of freedom under international and European law, since the asylum seekers were only able to leave the camps by stepping back into Serbia.
The report noted that the European Court of Human Rights had ruled against Hungary for unlawfully detaining two asylum seekers in the autumn of 2015 in the Roszke transit zone before sending them back to Serbia.
Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party said in reaction to the report that “George Soros has people everywhere, this organisation included”.
Balazs Hidveghi, Fidesz’s communications chief, said that the report “reflects lies about Hungary as earlier propagated by the Soros network”.
Citing the report which he said equated attacks against Soros with anti-Semitism, Hidveghi added: “Everybody knows that it is not Soros’s background that we find problematic but his views and pro-migration activities.” Hidveghi insisted that Soros “amassed his fortune from speculation and ruining others, and he now wants to use his funds to organise migration … Our message is that Soros should keep his filthy money to himself.”