Hungarian Interest: Fewer Frozen Resources, More NERlessness!

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

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