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20th September, 2018

Hungary sends response to EU on “Stop Soros” laws

The cabinet has completed its response to the European Commission’s objections in the infringement proceedings concerning the “Stop Soros” legislative package and the related constitutional amendment, Justice Ministry state secretary Pal Volner announced yesterday.

He confirmed that Hungary will not repeal the laws objected to, but will “defend the country and Europe”.

The European Commission initiated infringement proceedings against Hungary in July due to concerns about whether the legislative package and the constitutional amendment are compatible with EU law.

Volner said the answers were sent to the Commission on Wednesday.

“The European Commission continues to openly support a pro-immigration stand instead of defending the law,” he said. (atv.hu; 444.hu; klubradio.hu; napi.hu; magyarhirlap.hu; KR)
20th September, 2018

Anti-Sargentini ad campaign begins

The cabinet’s new campaign video starts with Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s opening remark in the debate on the Sargentini report in the European Parliament: “Do not let us surrender to blackmail, let us defend Hungary.”

Although the Sargentini report primarily criticises the state of Hungarian rule of law, the ad claims that the pro-immigration majority of the European Parliament simply “wants to silence us, because we defend our country and Europe with a fence”.

It presents the pro-migration majority as represented by George Soros lurking behind liberal MEP Guy Verhofstadt and Judith Sargentini. (24.hu; 444.hu)
20th September, 2018

Momentum defends Sargentini report

Momentum activists have begun handing out leaflets defending and interpreting the Sargentini report, website 444 reports.

Momentum said in a statement “We believe that the Sargentini report is about protecting the interests of Hungarians. The Hungarian government is guilty and this report is an indictment.”

The party said it has begun distributing the leaflets to offset the government propaganda critical of the report.

Momentum briefly expounds what the 12 points are in which rapporteur Judith Sargentini found the Hungarian government guilty.

They include the elimination of the independence of the judiciary, the continuous amendment of the constitution, the possibility of mass surveillance, corruption, restrictions on religious, press and academic freedom, as well as the transformation of the election system according to Fidesz interests.

Momentum politician Daniel Berg said it follows that “Fidesz is not fit, much less worthy, to represent the nation in Europe.” (444.hu; hvg.hu; origo.hu; mandiner.hu; merce.hu)
20th September, 2018

Amnesty delivers petition in support of convicted refugee

Two officials from Amnesty International on Tuesday handed over a petition to a Justice Ministry official in Budapest, demanding the release of Syrian Ahmed Hamed, one day before the Szeged Court of Appeals rules on his conviction on terrorism charges.

Hamed was convicted of throwing stones at border police during a clash between asylum-seekers and police at the Roszke border station in September 2015.

Amnesty spokesman Aron Demeter said the human rights organisation had collected more than 109,000 signatures from a total of 163 countries. Of them 1,000 are from Hungary and the largest number are from Norway and the Netherlands.

The signatories urge the authorities not to treat Hamed’s actions as an act of terror.

Demeter said it is beyond any doubt that Hamed had thrown a few stones, but that constitutes an attempt at violence against an official, not a terrorist act.

Hamed has been in prison for three years, has “more or less served” his punishment, and does not constitute a threat, Demeter added.

He said recordings by police and journalists show that Hamed tried to calm the situation and soothe the crowd at Roszke.

A Szeged court sentenced Hamed to seven years penitentiary on March 14 and expelled him from Hungary for ten years. (hirado.hu; hirtv.hu; mandiner.hu)
20th September, 2018

Jobbik successfully sues newspapers

The Capital Court of Appeals has ruled that newspapers Lokal and Magyar Idok must pay Ft 1 million in damages to Jobbik, aside from the trial costs, as earlier they lied that the party had hired so-called “paid commentators”.

“The defendants did not even try to prove their claim and the court ruled that they intentionally made false claims about Jobbik,” the party said. (hvg.hu)
20th September, 2018

Putin and Orban had private talks

Russian President Vladimir Putin completely unexpectedly invited Prime Minister Viktor Orban for an informal meeting after their official talks in Moscow on Tuesday. It is not known what they discussed.

The pro-government website Origo says that “the meeting caused surprise as it had not been scheduled during the consultations on the meeting between the two leaders.”

No details leaked from the private meeting. HVG says it is certain only that Orban and Putin discussed something in the Kremlin for at least 40-45 minutes.

Dialogue MEP Benedek Javor suggested that Orban may have discussed organising a far-right pole within the EU with Putin at their private meeting.

He told Klubradio that after the approval of the Sargentini report by the European Parliament, it became clear to the prime minister that he cannot change the European People’s Party, and that is why he turned toward a Plan B and the Russian president.

He said Orban practically admitted at his Tuesday press briefing with Putin that the Paks power plant expansion is a political project, it has no economic rationale and his purpose is to win Russian support for his European political dreams. (hvg.hu; origo.hu; klubradio.hu; 444.hu; napi.hu; nepszava.hu)

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