Orban’s Secretary of State Debunks Fake National Consultation

Standard

fake I still maintain that the referendum on sex-change operations in kindergartens was the most disgusting demagogue lie of the Orbán regime, but there is no doubt that this sanctions questionnaire is also a front-runner. Which, moreover, was debunked in a written reply by a Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s Office himself. But let’s start at the beginning. First, the national consultation genre is indeed a substantive innovation that is a useful tool for channelling the opinions of voters when done in a timely and appropriate manner. It is a pity that we have not yet found out how it would actually work, because it has never been used for this purpose. The fact is that this formula is used by the current administration exclusively to support its own policies, to strengthen its electoral base and to spread its propaganda, mostly based on lies of greater or lesser magnitude. In doing so, it is reducing the credibility of a truly valuable tool to zero. The fact of the matter is that the Hungarian Government, refusing to accept responsibility for its own economic policy, its senseless spending of public money and its mismanagement of the crisis, has once again resorted to the usual method: finding someone or something to point to and blame for the misery of the people. Sometimes they find this in a distant speculator, sometimes in refugees, sometimes in EU decision-makers, sometimes in people who live differently, and now in the EU’s sanctions policy. The government spin-doctor’s workshop works routinely, and the choice of the current bogeyman seems logical in a way: once again, something that is utterly incomprehensible to the common man, something that cannot protest against lies, but something that can be easily simplified, drawn on a poster and something that otherwise exists stably. The agitation against the sanctions policy even works despite the fact that the Hungarian government has supported all the EU sanctions packages, and Viktor Orbán himself said in a state television interview that he would support any sanctions on which the EU was united. In contrast, to ‘consult’ on the sanctions being bad, not working, not harming the Russian aggressor, and saying it is the only reason the price of cheese has doubled in Hungarian supermarkets is outrageous in the least. But it also happens to be a downright lie.
A few weeks ago, at the time of the launch of the consultation, I wrote a letter to the Prime Minister of Fidesz asking a single question: what was his rationale for supporting all the EU sanctions against Russia so far?! Viktor Orbán must be an extremely busy or an extremely cautious man, because it took him nearly three whole months to answer – although you would think it was not a difficult question – and this time it was not him who answered, but the Secretary of State in the Prime Minister’s Cabinet Office responsible for propaganda. Csaba Dömötör is a talented politician, and I have had the pleasure of debating with him in public on several occasions: he is one of the few Fidesz members who, beyond the obligatory unstylish manner of going personal, usually has real arguments and a well-prepared knowledge of what he is talking about. That is why, this time too, I have ignored the obviously obligatory parts of his letter where he covertly talks of treason, routinely refers to Péter Márki-Zay and cleverly fudges the facts. Of course, the government’s response letter continues to claim that energy prices have soared solely because of sanctions against the Russians (what Secretary of State Dömötör forgets is that the government had already put price caps on fuel and a narrow range of basic foodstuffs before the war broke out because of runaway inflation caused by their misguided economic policies) and EU policymakers, as the letter puts it, although had promised not to impose sanctions on the energy sector, did. This reference, from a representative of the very government that promised that there would be no austerity and that the cuts would be guaranteed as long as Viktor Orbán was prime minister, is funny at the very least. Or maybe Orbán has already resigned, and we just didn’t notice. However, the most important sentence in a letter full of substantive assertions is the one that perfectly debunks the basic premises of the recently completed national consultation. In his response, Csaba Dömötör wrote on behalf of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that “contrary to your statement, the Prime Minister has fought for Hungary’s exemption from sanctions that could cause economic damage.” I see, thank you. So the ‘Brussels sanctions’ do not cause economic damage, thanks to Viktor Orbán. Hallelujah. But then the Hungarian government’s publicly funded propaganda campaign that “Brussels sanctions are ruining us” is not true. So it’s all a lie. I get it, thank you. Sorry, gentlemen, but even in your systemically bent reality, this is highly contradictory.
The conclusion of all this is clear and unambiguous: the Fidesz government is trying to justify its own policies with half-truths, with pious misrepresentations or even with vicious, vile lies, as it has been doing for twelve years. Whatever the situation calls for. Even in times of serious crises such as the covid epidemic or now the bloody Putin aggression. After twelve years of unlimited power, they could really finally tell the truth to the electorate. And treat their own voters as grown-up, thinking people. Because those who really put Hungary first do not hide behind cowardly lies.

István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
Founder of the Community of Chance
18/12/2022

InPUT: European Action Programme to Help Restart Tourism in Ukraine

Standard

inputkerThe European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize, which has been awarded to individuals and groups who have defended human and fundamental rights since 1988, was presented this year to the courageous people of Ukraine. The award was handed over today to representatives of the Ukrainian government and Ukrainian civil society at the European Parliament’s plenary session in Strasbourg.
The launch of the EU-Ukraine initiative InPUT was also timed to coincide with the event, announced Vice-Chair of the EP Committee on Transport and Tourism and initiator of the InPUT action programme MEP István Ujhelyi in Strasbourg. The programme “InPUT – Industry of Peace for Ukrainian Tourism” is a joint effort of European tourism organizations to support the Ukrainian tourism sector. “Tourism is an industry of peace. In war there is no tourism, no peace and no stability. Tourism in peacetime brings people together, builds strong bridges between different cultures, but also means economic and intellectual development that goes beyond the boundaries of the sector. Ukraine needs help to start reconstruction as quickly and efficiently as possible after the war is over and rebuild the transport and tourism infrastructure that has been destroyed. Ukraine must also be put back on the map of popular and valuable tourism destinations as soon as possible after the end of the war. The InPUT action programme is gathering professional supporters for this purpose”, said István Ujhelyi.
The MEP said that InPUT was launched in cooperation with Mariana Oleskiv, head of the Ukrainian State Tourism Agency, and that more than 80 tourism and tourism-related professional organizations have already been invited to join the initiative, including the United Nations World Tourism Organisation (UNWTO).

Strasbourg – 14/12/2022

UJHELYI: NOW’ S THE CHANCE FOR KATALIN NOVÁK TO PROVE HER INDEPENDENCE!

Standard

Do not sign the amendment to the Health Act, but send it back for consideration so that it can be discussed with professional organizations – this is what Hungarian Member of the European Parliament’s Public Health Committee István Ujhelyi asked of President of the Republic Katalin Novák. The Social Democrat politician added that, if need be, he felt ready to act as a moderator to facilitate dialogue between the government and professional organizations on the issue.
In a video broadcast on his social media page Ujhelyi said that if the unity of the nation and the everyday life of Hungarian families (such as the quality of their healthcare) was truly important to Katalin Novák, she should not sign the healthcare bill in this form. The founder of the Community of Chance recalled that when the head of state was inaugurated, he was one of the few opposition politicians who gave Katalin Novák taking office the benefit of the doubt and while this openness was diminished when she signed the social law “without a word”, he still hoped that Novák would now take the chance to prove her independence and finally act as a true head of state.
The Socialist MEP reminded the President of the Republic that the proposals of professional organizations and the opposition were not taken into account in the drafting of the Health Law amendment, which was adopted hastily on Wednesday by only the governing party MPs, and that this was just after the Hungarian government had given a commitment to the European Commission to end fast-track legislation and to provide adequate time and space for public consultation on significant amendments. “This is sanction legislation that is incompatible with the rule of law. This is a sanctioning health system change that is incompatible with the interests of the Hungarian population”, the MEP added, referring the current government narrative with a twist.
István Ujhelyi said that if the Head of State sends the package back for consideration, the opportunity will open up for substantive dialogue between professional interest groups and the government; as a member of the EP’s Public Health Committee, the politician said he was ready to take on a moderating role in this dialogue if the need arose. Ujhelyi also stressed that Hungary could receive significant EU funds for the development of healthcare in the coming years if an agreement with the European Commission were finally reached. He pointed out that in the framework of the newly opened EU4Health programme alone, some €5.3 billion in funding is available for the next seven years and that it was in Hungary’s vital interest to be the ones to draw down the most funding from this framework in the coming period. Ujhelyi added that this required a meaningful action plan, in the development of which professional organizations should also be involved as soon as possible. The MEP offered his support in coordinating this dialogue, too.

Brussels/Budapest – 10/12/2022

Hungarian Interest: Fewer Frozen Resources, More NERlessness!

Standard

7oXcBP68NTyu10sfGsFor those who love their country not only in words and Facebook posts, it is without a doubt a patriotic act to prevent the EU subsidies due to our shared nation from being stuffed into the pockets of the state’s plastic aristocrats as a courtesy of themselves. After all, it is not in the interests of the country for an elite of bumpkins to skim off the money from the European Union, but for it to serve the prosperity of the people of Hungary, the expansion of their businesses and the improvement of their living conditions.
For a true patriot, therefore, there is no question that the subsidies due to our shared homeland must be protected and that appropriate safeguards must be demanded for their fair use. The European Union can and should be criticised for many things (and I am not afraid to do this myself) but in this case, it is clearly protecting the interests of European taxpayers, including Hungarians.
Contrary to all the disingenuous fake explanations from Fidesz, the call for a freeze on resources and reform in the rule of law procedure is to protect EU public funds and has nothing to do with the debates on migration or the government’s position on gender issues. The Hungarian interest in this case is therefore to keep as few (preferably zero) funds frozen as possible and to make the Orbán government carry out as many comprehensive reforms as possible, and we are in a very good position now to achieve this.
As a Hungarian politician and MEP, I have three priorities in the rule of law process: one, that our country does not lose a single euro cent of the funds it is entitled to; two, that they always reach the end-user; and three, that we are as effective as possible in removing the NER (Orbán’s so-called National Cooperation System) from the Republic of Hungary, in other words, that we undo the criminal destruction that the corrupt Fidesz has deliberately carried out over the past twelve years the best we can.
During more than a decade of Fidesz’s plundering, the European Union has been looking for a handhold on Orbán’s mafia politics, and has often taken it like a loser that they made a fool of it. Now, as a result of a complicated procedure, the European Commission has proposed freezing some three thousand billion forints of funds, which is one third of the cohesion money we are entitled to for the period of 2021-2027. This is a serious amount, even if it is conceivable that the Council’s decision may not necessarily result in that much money being frozen in the end; at the same time, even one single euro cent that we may lose in the process due to the Fidesz government’s immorality will clearly be the fault and responsibility of Orbán and his gang.
I think there is a very good chance that the Council’s decision will eventually lower this amount, because it must be taken into account that the Hungarian Government has already taken certain steps and, although it’s as if they are pulling their teeth, they are trying to at least appear to be meeting expectations. In other words, as a Hungarian MEP, I will be delighted if a decision is made at the end of this year that reduces the amount of frozen funds in any way, as it is in our interest to have access to all the aid eventually.
However, I share and sympathise with those opinions that would like to see a much more radical punishment for the Orbán government that has desecrated European values; as a Hungarian MEP, however, I try to approach this from the perspective of the most successful NER removal possible. Few people take the trouble to read back the Hungarian government’s recent statements, although they are endlessly instructive and self-revealing. You can see perfectly well how the NER elite is slowly moving from an arrogant bravado to a whining bow; for the public at home can of course they still do the muscle flexing, but in Brussels they have long been standing on the edge of the carpet with their heads bowed.
At first they were talking about a fight for freedom and the rule of law as a non-existent and intangible concept, and then there was a moment two years ago when Viktor Orbán – after the failed budget veto threats – announced outright that he had won and stopped the rule of law mechanism. We see just how well.
Since then, they have tried to blame everything on the process: funds being frozen because Brussels rejects the government’s position on migration, then coming up with gender-switching kindergartners and violent gay activists directed from Brussels as the real reason for the freezing of funds (probably the lowest yet of the government’s lunacy); and finally, today, simplifying it to the primitive response that in Brussels they just hate Hungarians. It’s time for everyone to realise that Fidesz power has been backed into a corner and forced to take steps it was previously unwilling to take. Is it too little? Maybe, but far more than anything achieved before.
We tend not to see in all the political noise – or even in the inertia of the two-thirds disgrace – that there is a serious NER-demolition going on these weeks. It can be argued that many government measures are window dressing (the EU is well aware of this, and not coincidentally distrustful of the watering down of government action; they have not even proposed to stop the process), but there are also some serious achievements in the rule of law package.
It is enough to point out that the National Recovery Plan, which is now being celebrated by Fidesz propaganda as rated best by the European Commission within the EU, is a spending plan that Fidesz had to completely rewrite precisely because of our pressure, in line with EU expectations. Instead of fake goals and fake spending, stuffing public foundations with Fidesz money, it now includes serious goals such as environmental sustainability, or, for example, the co-financing of the much-vaunted teacher pay rise, which was not even mentioned in the Orbán and his government’ original spending plans. Now they have been forced to include it.
An equally serious achievement is the package of demands on the independence of the judiciary, which, if the government fails to deliver by March, will surely leave the money frozen. The commitments to strengthen the National Council of the Judiciary, for example, are substantive changes to the intentions and interests of the NER. Too little? Maybe, but far more than anything before. Obviously, the most effective way would be to press the Hungarian government to join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, but even so, the reforms now underway should not be written off and considered worthless.
There is still a lot of uncertainty about what decision the Council will make on the Commission’s proposal, and we are still not clear whether the agreement on the Recovery Fund will be signed by the end of the year; if the ink does not dry on the latter in time, we will have already said goodbye to 70 per cent of the €5.8 billion. And that is a lot of money. As a Hungarian MEP, I support any solution that will help Hungary to draw down the funds it is entitled to as quickly and as fully as possible. And as a patriot, I agree with any European action that guarantees that Hungary can once again operate, at least in part, within the framework of the rule of law and that the European public funds due to our country serve the genuine prosperity of our country and not merely the extravagance of orange brats.
After the Hungarian prime minister’s landmark 2014 speech in Tusványos proclaiming the illiberal state, I vowed that as an MEP I would write an open letter every week to warn the public of the crimes of the system that had been established. For the 384th time, I am ringing the bells of alarm and will do so for as long as it is necessary. Because we must give revival and our shared homeland a chance.

István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
Founder of the Community of Chance
4/12/2022