Orban faces backlash over billboard campaign

The Hungarian government’s ad hoardings campaign on “Brussels’ plans” contains accurate, true and tenable statements, Gergely Gulyas, the head of the Prime Minister’s Office, told a regular press briefing on Thursday. European public officials, the European Commission (EC) and the European People’s Party (EPP) should all be capable of self-criticism, he said. The five-year EU parliamentary cycle about to end is best described by failed attempts to keep migrants outside the EU and the UK within the bloc, he said.

Gulyas added that EC President Jean-Claude Juncker, who is featured on the ad hoardings, had done “all he could” to have Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party expelled from the EPP, and publicly declared this intention recently, during the EP election campaign. “Fidesz has always been loyal to the EPP,” he said. In response to a question about the billboard campaign, Gulyas said the government will reach out to every voter by mail to inform them about the details of the campaign.

On Thursday, Juncker and several other EPP politicians rejected the campaign. At the plenary session of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) in Brussels, Juncker said that he is “totally unable to hate someone” and very surprised to see “these posters now spread around in Hungary full of hatred”.

Swedish EPP MEP Gunnar Hökmark urged group leader and spitzenkandidat Manfred Weber to “address the question of Mr. Orban and Fidesz at the next group meeting and at an extra meeting with the Bureau of the group already next week,” according to Politico.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel told a press conference on another subject that Juncker has her “full solidarity.” Meanwhile, Merkel’s successor as chair of the CDU, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, did threaten Fidesz on Thursday with halting bilateral cooperation between the two parties, unless they could find common ground on the EPP’s broader aims, DW reported. “It’s up to the Hungarians to clearly prove that they still belong in the EPP,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told Der Spiegel.

Source: MTI, Hungary Journal
Photo: MTI

 

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