Government Must Report on Reallocation of EU funds!

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94110019_130810775220155_3234814288963043328_nIn just one day, more than two thousand people have already responded to the internet vote I launched: if they could decide instead of the government, what they would spend the EU funds on that the European Union has released and dedicated to the fight against the coronavirus.
It is no secret or surprise that people have so far, almost without exception, voted for Fidesz to reallocate the funds released for protection and to replace jobs and salaries lost instead of expenditures and investments that are unnecessary in this situation, or at least could be postponed.
No matter how hard the Hungarian government and its service staff are trying to turn people against the European Union, the facts remain solid: the EU is indeed acting and freeing up serious money so that the governments of the Member States can take effective action in the grave situation. The European rescue packages (RescEU) contain at least 12 capacities and programs that Hungary can also use.
One such solution is that EU money previously provided for other purposes and programs can now be reallocated by governments and spent on fighting the epidemic, supporting the economy that crashed as a result of the epidemic or helping people in need of a life belt. There are many such multi-billion forint items, and the decision lies in the hands of Viktor Orbán.
If indeed protection and help come first, he can redirect these funds with a single stroke of pen. Such are the two billion forint budget allocated for the castle program or the multi-billion forint communication and training budgets at the ministries. Fidesz and the government are still vague about this money, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch known for his snappy arguments, for example, defended what was impossible to defend by saying that reallocating these EU developments would be “gross austerity measures” that would only exacerbate the “economic and social crisis”. The question is, where?
For relatives with an interest in the castle program? For the power serving media outlets with an interest in winning communication tenders? Or were these items buried in advance in the public money cemetery in Felcsút and it would be difficult to remove them from the system now? Well, it must be a great dilemma up there: are all Hungarians important or just their own people?
I hereby call on the Government to report on the plans for all application funds committed but not yet paid and the planned reallocation funds from applications still open! Given the situation that the European Union now makes this possible, they must declare which programs they have decided to rather use for health equipment, protective gear and job protection.
Our online vote on the reallocations is still open (available at: ujhelyi.eu/koronavirus), and many more thousands of people are expected to have their say on this matter in the coming days, with the result of which we shall confront the sneaky government!

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
April 19, 2020

Ujhelyi: For Fidesz, the coronavirus is not the enemy, the European Union is

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UJHELYI IstvanFidesz MEPs did not support the united, historic resolution tabled jointly by the leading groups in the European Parliament on health care, economic and social measures against the coronavirus pandemic.
Fidesz did not support the strengthening of health protection, they did not support the helping of people who lost their jobs, the reimbursement of wages lost due to the epidemic neither, nor did they support the transformation of the functioning of the European Union in order to manage the crisis more effectively.
Fidesz’s representatives preferred to stand up for Viktor Orbán’s frustrated power mania than supporting the security of the lives of the people of Europe and thus of Hungary. Fidesz has made it clear that it is not the coronavirus that they perceive as the real enemy, but the European Union.
Fidesz had previously called it “tasteless” that measures to protect people’s lives included issues of the rule of law. This pathetic argument is especially tasteless coming from Fidesz, who recently mixed Viktor Orbán’s absolute power takeover efforts into measures for the protection of the lives of Hungarians, supported by the entire opposition.
Fidesz regularly talks about double standard, although they are happy to apply it themselves. The moment of truth was there, but pro-government MPs did not live up to it: they failed.

Brussels – 17/04/2020

God May Forgive, But I Cannot

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jegyzetcover33“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing”; Luke 23:34.

This Easter really is different from the previous ones, the Prime Minister was, in fact, right. And not only because our generation, accustomed to peace, is facing unprecedented circumstances as result of the coronavirus epidemic, but also because it has once again been proven that the powers that be cannot live up to their responsibility even in this pressing situation. We could say, of course, that it as us being stupid, as the System of National Cooperation pressed into a tricolor was an ugly lie as soon as it was born, yet one – perhaps just driven by Christian forgiveness – believed again and again that it would be different over time: the pendulum shall mellow down and swing back from the madness. Well, it hasn’t, and the government remains true to itself being incapable of acting any differently. In other circumstances, I would simply call them scum of the Earth, but for the sake of honouring the holiday, let me just use the adjective ‘hypocritical’ to describe them.
The government in power took the threat of the virus lightly at first, saying that migration organized according to the score of the Soros World Conspiracy was a much bigger problem than any impending pandemic. Finally, recognizing the problem and the responsibility, they took a series of belated steps. I myself have supported and continue to support all government steps that will help the protection succeed; this is a clear duty. Unfortunately, however, the big picture is shadier.
In the free minutes of social and public media, advertisements about the nation clinging together and the adjournment of political debates are being poured on us from government money. Nice, refined  messages that people wish were true. It is infinitely sad that behind them lies the shadow of rotting intent. As soon as the government saw the opportunity, one of its helping hands grabbed a dagger and it still cuts, stabs and sabres with it wherever it can; mostly, of course, below the belt. The way in which they marched against the European Union and the way in which they are raising a screen of lies between Brussels and Budapest is not only pathetic, but also extremely dangerous. Although they might win a political battle with it back at home for a few minutes, they harm the entire nation in the long run. And the way the government sent all the infantries of the machinery (i.e. from the chief medical officer forced into a clamp, to a MEP to has seen better days through media workers bought for small change) against Budapest Mayor Gergely Karácsony and the opposition mayors is both extremely pitiful and infinitely saddening.
Because we are now facing a threat that really demands unity and not an intensification of the ideological civil war that is tearing families apart. But no, the government is using this situation too to weaken its rivals by propagandist repetition of conscious lies. Of course, thirteen years ago already, Viktor Orbán has said in a speech to foreign diplomats that he had learned: “When there is a chance to kill your rival, you do not think, you execute.”
As a father of six, I am infinitely sad and upset that once decent people give their names to the disgusting, despicable acts of the government, and that decent citizens, without any reflection, believe everything that flows from the publicity dominated by the ruling power. The coronavirus epidemic is a real threat, not some cheap political product! People’s health and securing their livelihood is a priority to be protected, not a tool for political games! The European Union is a valuable and helpful community to us all, not an enemy! The governing power now operates by means for which there is no excuse. If there is a God, he may forgive them, but as a Hungarian, a father, and a relentless European, I cannot.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
April 12, 2020

Ujhelyi Claims Dozen of EU Support Tools Available in Fight Against Coronavirus

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_LEZ2159At an extraordinary press conference on his social media platform, MEP István Ujhelyi reported on new EU funding and support tools Hungary can use for protection against the coronavirus, the existence of which is, however, denied by the government.
In doing so, the MSZP politician once again refuted the government’s claims that our country does not receive any help from the European Union. “It is perceptible that much of the country doubts the credibility of Viktor Orbán and his government, and the serious lies about EU funding provide valid basis for this,” Ujhelyi said, recalling that according to official government communication the country has only received aid from China and the Turkish Council in the preparation for the epidemic.
According to Ujhelyi, it is factually proven that the European Community makes nearly two thousand billion forints of funds accessible to Hungary. This, by the way, as pointed out by the Socialist MEP, is part of the EUR 37 billion European rescue package voted on by Fidesz MEPs at an extraordinary session of the European Parliament on Thursday. Earlier, Ujhelyi presented a letter sent to Ministers Miklós Kásler and László Palkovics sent in early March by EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira and EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.
This letter informed the Orbán government that, as part of the first rescue package, the Hungarian government would not have to repay the pre-financing from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which is EUR 861 million for Hungary. Moreover, the Commission had decided that this amount would be complemented by a pre-financing budget for 2020 of an additional EUR 607 million; this means that around EUR 520 billion of EU funds are already at the disposal of the Orbán government.
István Ujhelyi also pointed out that while Hungary can expect nearly two thousand billion forints (EUR 5.6 billion) from the European rescue package opened up in connection with the coronavirus, other member states can expect a more modest budget. The Czech Republic and Croatia, for example, receive “only” EUR 1.1 billion, but Romania (EUR 3 billion) and Italy in severe crisis (EUR 4.1 billion can expect less resources than Hungary, with Poland alone getting bigger EU support.
According to the MSZP MEP, the government’s argument that this money has already been allocated in advance and therefore cannot be reallocated is also a lie. Referring to a letter from the European Commission, Ujhelyi refuted Fidesz’s arguments, saying it was clear that Hungary had not yet sent its bills to Brussels of the freed up amount, meaning that these funds could now indeed be reallocated for protection against the coronavirus, the EU has offered the possibility to do so.
“I call on the government to explain to the public in detail what it wants to spend this tremendous amount of money on! What exactly are those urgent projects that do not permit the government to spend on protection against the coronavirus? Are these the tenders already promised to be won by the circle of friends and buddies? If there is only one such project, then it becomes clear that it was more important for Fidesz to stuff one of Lőrinc Mészáros’s companies with money than to deal with the situation of Hungarian families during the epidemic! ” said István Ujhelyi on his community page.
At the Saturday press conference, the European politician of MSZP also said that there were twelve different EU tools and programs that the government could use for protection, such as health institution development or job protection. Ujhelyi mentioned that, for example, the Prime Minister’s Office had an EU budget of HUF 13 billion that was allocated for communication with the public, but now, in line with the EU decision, we could use it for protection against the coronavirus.
According to Ujhelyi, there are similarly mobilizable EU funds in the treasury of the Ministry of Foreign Economy and Foreign Affairs (HUF 10 billion) and the Ministry of National Economy (HUF 64 billion). The Socialist MEP added that there are currently 47 open applications in the Széchenyi2020 program, almost all of which could be used for protection if the government made the necessary call. According to István Ujhelyi, instead, the government is lying to Hungarian society, to the European Union and to the Members of the European Parliament, although it should rather build trust among European partners and the Hungarian people in this severe crisis.

Budapest – 28/03/2020

Ujhelyi: Fidesz Government Denies EU Funding of HUF 520 billion

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LEZ_9758At the current exchange rate, the European Commission provides the Hungarian government with an amount of roughly HUF 520 billion for protection against the coronavirus.
However, Fidesz is still trying to deny this – socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said at an extraordinary online press conference on his social media platform. The MSZP politician also presented a letter sent to ministers Miklós Kásler and László Palkovics in early March by EU Commissioner for Cohesion and Reform Elisa Ferreira and EU Commissioner for Jobs and Social Rights Nicolas Schmit.
Ujhelyi said that this letter was meant to inform the Orbán government that, as part of the first rescue package, the pre-financing from the European Structural and Investment Funds, which would be EUR 861 million for Hungary, would not need to be repaid. Moreover, the Commission had decided that this amount will be complemented by a pre-financing frame for 2020 of an additional EUR 607 million. Thus, added up, about HUF 520 billion of EU funds are already available to the Orbán Cabinet. “The Hungarian government was notified about this 10 days ago, so the ministers either did not inform the head of the government or Orbán’s team is deliberately lying and have a different plan altogether for the money,” Ujhelyi said.
The MEP added that the European Union had already taken a number of immediate steps to protect against the coronavirus and help the Member States. For example, such is the EUR 37 billion package decided and approved by the European Parliament just yesterday, which will provide Hungary with a budget of approximately two thousand billion forints; of which the above mentioned sum of 520 billion is also a part of.
Ujhelyi pointed out that the EU has opened up the necessary funds to enable Member States to procure healthcare equipment and support businesses in crisis, but thanks to a decision made by the European Parliament yesterday, some resources can be drawn from the EU Solidarity Fund, though previously this could only be done in times of natural disasters.
The European politician of MSZP stressed that, although the Member States are locking themselves down in the current situation, the European Union is active and the institutions are making every effort to provide the Member States with resources. “It is a deliberate communication strategy to blame the European Union for the public anger that is expected to result from the decline of healthcare, even though the organization of healthcare is the exclusive the responsibility of the Member States.
I call on Viktor Orbán and the government not to deny our European allies and European solidarity by bowing to the Turkish Council in a deceiving fashion, but to help the common work. It will be difficult for me to fight for resources for the interests of Hungarian employees and the protection of Hungarian society if in the meantime the Hungarian government will  treat Brussels as a scapegoat, rather than a partner,” said István Ujhelyi.

Budapest, 27/3/2020

COVID19: Letter to Ursula von der Leyen & Mariya Gabriel to save circus art

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1081899566_2342d82903_bUrsula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, Head of the Covid19 Operative Team
Mariya Gabriel, EU Commissioner for Education and Culture

Dear Madam President Von Der Leyen,
Dear Madam Commissioner Gabriel,

Desperate times call for desperate measures; and we are undoubtedly living historic days in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. It is already evident that the coercive measures and panic due to the disease are causing serious, currently incalculable and lasting damage to the world economy. The outbreak primarily affects industries and economic sectors that rely on travel, entertainment and servicing of the masses. Circus art, which has also recently been forced to close its doors to the public, is also regarded as a part of tourism. Due to the steps that had to be taken as a result of the coronavirus, stone and traveling circuses throughout Europe have suspended their tours and performances.
In the past period, we have been conducting daily consultations with the affected family businesses, asking for detailed data and damage assessments. The situation is more than tragic. There are thousands of circus companies operating in the European Union, most of them family businesses that provide for the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people and give home to thousands of circus animals. It is no exaggeration to say that the precautionary measures against the coronavirus cause a long-term loss of revenue that threatens the very existence of countless businesses. In contrast to many other businesses, circus still is predominantly a seasonal business. After the winter, reserves have literally been eaten up (not only by the circus people, but also by their animals) or invested in new equipment. Therefore, the virus hit the circuses at the worst possible point in time. Their only income is from ticket sales. If these have to be stopped, circuses directly run into debts.
The European Commission has recently announced that it will provide € 37 billion in investment aid to Member States, along with € 8 billion in loans to some 100,000 companies in the most vulnerable sectors, i.e. retail, tourism and transport. As a Member of the European Parliament and First Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism, together with the Heads of the European Circus Association and Fédération Mondiale du Cirque, we call on the President of the European Commission, the coronavirus operative commissioners and the Commissioner for Culture Mariya Gabriel to give priority to the most vulnerable sectors of the economy during compensations.
We propose that the European Commission provide tourism operators, including cultural institutions and therefore circus businesses, with substantial funding proportionate to their damage. They need immediate help to survive the transition and to protect their jobs as well as the health and the lives of their circus animals. In this situation, every minute counts, not only for the survival of businesses, but for the livelihoods of tens of thousands of people, the lives of thousands of animals with special needs and a 250-year-old European art industry that deserves special attention.
If necessary, we will provide you with exact data and statistics. We ask you to start a substantive discussion as soon as possible on the feasibility of compensation.

We look forward to your kind reply,

dr. István Ujhelyi MEP
Member of the European Parliament
Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism
Honorary Ambassador to Fédération Mondiale du Cirque

Urs Pilz
President of Fédération Mondiale du Cirque

Helmut Grosscurth
Managing Director of the European Circus Association

Brussels, 17.03.2020.

Vice-Chair of TRAN urges extraordinary TRAN-meeting and the modification of the slot regulation

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BB_L3873István Ujhelyi Vice-Chair of the TRAN Committee urges the European Parliament to support the modification of the slot regulation immediately and calls for extraordinary TRAN-meeting. The Hungarian MEP has written in his statement, that under the European Green Deal programme it is unacceptable and dangerous to maintain empty planes in the European Sky; it can also ruin the companies involved. „The next plenary session is in one month, so the TRAN Committee must act now! We must have an extraordinary meeting to get the required decisions” – declared MEP Ujhelyi.
Under normal circumstances, the so-called „use-it-or-lose-it” rule is a well-balanced principle for the efficient use of scarce capacity at congested airports. But under these exceptional circumstances, it will force our airlines to operate flights unnecessarily in order to retain long-term access to these important airports through the historic slots that they have acquired over time.
Flying almost empty planes would be very harmful for the already significantly affected airlines and even more so from an environmental point of view. That is why earlier this week European Airline Companies collectively called for a waiver of the 80/20 rule for slots as set out in Council Regulation (EEC) No 95/93.

Brussels – 10.03.2020.

After Rule of Law shot in nape comes constitutional terror

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kopIt was exactly four years ago that bald thugs physically prevented István Nyakó from submitting a referendum on Sunday’s store closing on behalf of MSZP. So many outrageous things have happened since this event that this scene has obviously faded by now in the minds of people. However, it must continue to be a warning signal, a red flag, as his incident has clearly and unequivocally proven that Fidesz is capable of anything, considers every means permissible, and is not afraid to cross any legal or moral Rubicon. In fact, this scandal at the National Electoral Office did not happen out of the blue, either.Barely a year after it had come to power, Fidesz kicked the door down and made it clear that they would not give a damn about the law, morality or common law. It was a trifle, but it forecast all that was to come when they began their haughty, retaliation operations in 2011 by simply overtaking the Geographical Name Committee, after they disagreed with the renaming of Ferihegy Airport. They pushed the change through with force; those to resist were beheaded. Bam. We saw the same thing happening later with the infamous, horribly disgusting execution of the major circulation daily Népszabadság, on the grounds of lies. At the other extreme we see the same again in the children’s town of Fót, where for fear of Orbán’s National Cooperation System and overcompensation, the porcelain-spined management of the institute punished a boy in need of special care because in a song uploaded to the Internet he protested against the closure of the Children’s Town and the oligarchic government. I remind you of all of this, and I recall the images of István Nyakó and Fidesz’s hired bald men lined up against him, because we must not overlook any of these evil deeds. When MSZP courageously and consistently stood by the will of the people, and the orange power, as a last resort, sent thugs to physically prevent someone – in this case, my friend István Nyakó – from exercising his constitutional rights, it was the equivalent of shooting the Hungarian rule of law in the nape. I’m aware that the rule of law in this form does not move people all that much; (tragically, however) the hate propaganda on the posters provokes much more emotion among Hungarian citizens. Nonetheless, the event of four years ago must remain an important warning signal to all of us.
Especially now that the Fidesz government is asking people for their opinion on whether they like the content of a final court ruling in a publicly funded pseudo-consultation. Fidesz is merely announcing that legal security has now officially ended in Hungary. The ruling of independent courts will only be taken into account by the state authority when it pleases to do so. Ladies and gentlemen, this disgraceful step is a matter of principle, independent of the subject matter and content of the court ruling referred to in the pseudo-consultation, affecting the democratic system as such. I declare that where state-sent bouncers obstruct the constitutional exercise of law and where the cowardly president of the institution concerned (the National Electoral Office) who looked away can still remain in office, there is no legal security. However, where, in relation to the final court rulings, the government itself is organising a counter-campaign funded by public money and tries to exert pressure on the judiciary, there is ‘constitutional terror,’ if I may say so. And this is no joke. Look up the history books and see where nations concerned have been led by fascistoid state-building like this. The Duće had always failed in the end, of course, but a painful, burnt and bloody road led there that left serious damage behind.
    
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament

23.02.2020

MEP Ujhelyi: “Is money really all that matters to you, dear German friends?”

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oettinger_orbanIs anyone still in doubt about why the CDU is not stopping Viktor Orbán’s illiberal frenzy? Let me tell you why they tolerate Fidesz’s anti-European policy: for money. It may sound harsh, but one can hardly think of a better explanation.
A few days ago, the announcement was published in the Hungarian State Gazette: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has appointed the former EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger as co-chairman of the so-called “National Science Policy Council” in Hungary. That’s right, let that sink in: among others Oettinger will make decisions about how to use R&D and innovation resources distributed in Hungary.
Let’s be clear: this particular Council was set up by the Fidesz government after they trampled on academic freedom and European values  in an outrageous manner and seized the entire academic research network, placing it in the hands of the state (more precisely, Orbán). The same Günther Oettinger will now lead this body, who as EU commissioner had found nothing dodgy earlier about the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Hungary as part of the Russian loan trap and flew to Budapest in 2016 on the private jet of a German businessman with particularly good Russian connections to meet Orbán.
This is simply astonishing. Everything is happening before our eyes, and they no longer bother to deny it. And the European right-wing, the dominant German Christian-Democratic party group simply looks away, perhaps not even ashamed. While you, our dear German friends, talk about safeguarding academic and university freedom and preach about defending European values and red lines, this is what’s going on in your party group, in the colony of Fidesz.
Is this why Angela Merkel and the German right have defended Fidesz and Viktor Orbán for years? Because, in spite of all his anti-multinational invectives, he keeps serving German economic interests and even plays the Hungarian R&D resources over to Oettinger?
Something deeply dark is unfolding, and you, our dear German friends, are getting more and more absorbed by this darkness. You can still step out its path. That is, if you want to.

MEP István Ujhelyi

21.02.2020.

Treason or Patriotic Deed to Link EU Funds to Rule of Law?

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aeaeaDo not rush to judgement, because it’s not at all as easy as it might seem at first. In fact, I wouldn’t even suggest for right-wing opinion Hussars and government communications apprentices  to put an equation mark between withholding the funds Hungary should get and treason just upon a gut feeling, as Viktor Orbán himself (as an opposition party leader at the time) demanded the same in 2006 in his speech before the People’s Party.
So easy now and be careful with calling anyone names for it may soon fall back on your own leader. And it is no coincidence that I pose the question now, as the next seven-year EU budget is currently being drafted. The new President of the European Council comprised of Heads of State and Government, Charles Michel of Belgium, has recently come up with a new proposal that is a tad more beneficial for Hungary: e.g. the envelope of cohesion funds may be thicker than previously proposed, but we are still to lose a great deal because of the policy Orbán’s National Cooperation System.
Of course, Viktor Orbán may be partly pleased that the President of the EUCO would make EU payments linked to observing the rule of law in a way, which would require a qualified majority in the Council, not to lift the blocking of funds but to order the suspension of payments in the first place. Heads of State and Government will meet in Brussels this Thursday to discuss this issue, among other things.
I would like to make it clear that I will not vote for a seven-year budget that provides a loophole for renegade governments; which tolerates and allows, for example, the Fidesz oligarch government to steal and use EU funds meant for Hungarian people for its own purposes. For the time being, we have successfully managed to get much more – albeit, in my opinion not enough – development resources, for example, for Hungary, contrary to the original budget proposal.
In this, the progressive majority of the European Parliament, the Social Democrats, the People’s Party, the Greens and the Liberals,  acted jointly to make clear to the President of the European Council: with our absolute majority,  we will veto the budget unless certain conditions are met, e.g. the significant increase of cohesion funds. The rule of law criterion and the pertaining mechanism are also essential, as the threat to European values and the theft of EU funds is systemic.
I have to represent the interests of Hungarian people, so I have to defend every single Eurocent, which does not serve to improve the lives of the Hungarian people but ends up in the safe of the Fidesz family mafia. Mechanisms must be found for the Union to provide resources directly, bypassing corrupt governments. In spite of Fidesz’s struggle against the rule of law stipulation, there is a very simple solution to the problem: just go back to being decent, adhere to the rule of law, and put an end to systemic state corruption.
Fidesz better join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately, thereby demonstrating its commitment to transparency and the fair use of EU public funds. That’s how simple it is. We shall fight for the increase of the funds owed to Hungary in place of Fidesz, too, however, it is up to Fidesz alone to determine whether they will be blocked in the future. I cannot have and indeed have no other option but to use the tools at my disposal to ensure that the development funds owed to Hungarian people do not disappear on the way in the government’s public money suction-pump.
So there can only be one answer to the question in the title. The possible suspension of the payment of EU funds is not treason, but rather a patriotic act, as it prevents the public money owed to the Hungarian people from falling into the hands of a corrupt state mafia organisation. In a fair and sober world, the concept of treason would apply when support for the good of the country is intentionally stolen. So be careful with the wording! Especially those who have been abusing their position of power and have been elbow deep in the community’s money for years now.

MEP István Ujhelyi