More than fifteen days ago, at the beginning of August, I submitted a request for public information to the relevant ministries to obtain details of the recent trip to the US by Fidesz party leader Viktor Orbán and his delegation.
I had already indicated at the time that, according to the information that had been made public, the trip was clearly a party political one and not a consultation on matters of state, since the prominent members of Fidesz were traveling to a conservative conference and – at least according to the published reports – they had not met the leaders of the United States, nor had they consulted them on matters concerning our country. But if it is a party political programme, financed by Hungarian taxpayers, then the minimum expectation is that the government at least accounts for the details and costs.
In my request for data of public interest, I asked for information in accordance with the law on exactly who accompanied Viktor Orbán to the United States and in what capacity, what the source of the costs was, or what clear and unambiguous public interest justified the trip in a private government aircraft, which is said to be a military transport plane.
The government waited until the statutory 15-day deadline to respond had expired, and then wrote to me to say that they would only send a reply within 45 days because to do so within 15 days would „jeopardize the performance of public duties related to the emergency.” They do have the legal possibility to do so, thanks to the amendment to the law that Fidesz has squeezed into the existing provisions.
In other words: they are stalling as long as possible in case we forget about it. But we won’t. At the very least, they will have to give a full and detailed account of their publicly funded political propaganda tour. If they need 45 days to do that, so be it, we will just wait. So as not to ‘jeopardize public service.’
MEP István Ujhelyi
Budapest/Brussels – 22/8/2022