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Editorial

The Sargentini report gives us a sense of déjà vu but this time there’s a twist

| October 19, 2017

Under the leadership of Green MEP Judith Sargentini, yet another committee is set to review the “systemic threats to the rule of law” in Hungary as a result of the European Parliament’s decision in May. The civil liberties committee’s work is conspicuous in its timing, appearing just months before the country’s parliamentary elections. We saw a similarly politically charged EP review four years ago in the Tavares Report, but this time, there is a significant and dangerous difference: the document that serves as a basis for the report pushes the pro-migration agenda of billionaire financier George Soros.

This is disturbing but hardly unexpected. For those following the give and take between Budapest and Brussels on how to handle the EU’s mass migration crisis, the EP resolution on the situation in Hungary accepted in May did not come as a surprise. The appointment of Judith Sargentini, a Dutch green-liberal MEP famous for her pro-immigration position, to lead the committee drafting another politically charged report with the clear intent of condemning Hungary is also not a surprise.

We have already been down this road. Hungary watchers will remember the Tavares Report of 2013. We’ll soon have the Sargentini report, which will re-hash some of the tired issues raised back then. Among the list of previous concerns are Hungary’s media law (passed in 2011 and settled definitively after discussions with the European Commission), the closing of a financially loss-making Hungarian opposition daily Népszabadság (a business decision of an Austrian investor who decided to suspend those outlets that were losing money) and the Hungarian government’s so-called ‘discrimination’ against Central European University (a matter concerning administration of higher education institutions that is currently being settled with the State of New York). Once again, the list of half-baked and outright false allegations runs long.

This brand of ideologically driven political pressure, baseless accusations and misinformation directed at Hungary runs rampant in certain EU circles. We’re used to it. However, this time, the report will focus on something that endangers not just Hungary but Europe as a whole.

As his presidential reception in Brussels this April suggests, George Soros has a special place in the hearts of certain EU officials and politicians. A series of leaked documents revealed that the American billionaire keeps close track of his potential allies in the European Parliament. Take a closer look and you’ll notice a conspicuous detail.

Three MEPs on the Sargentini committee (i.e., Vergiat, Weidenhozer and Michel) are identified by name on the Open Society network’s list of Soros’ ‘trustworthy’ allies in the European Parliament. It raises a reasonable question: Will those MEPs be able to resist the influence of George Soros and overcome their biased attitudes towards anything Prime Minister Orbán’s government does?

Soros – as he himself said in writing – promotes an open-border agenda that would invite a million migrants per year into the European Union, offering them 15,000 EUR per annum and imposing on the Member States the burden of relocating them. If that sounds familiar, that’s because it resembles the Commission’s mandatory relocation quota scheme. Hungary opposes all of these. We believe in a safe and secure Europe where the Member States retain the authority to decide on their immigration policy. This subject will be the focal point of attacks in the newest report by the committee.

“The sole purpose of the report is to force Hungary to alter its migrant policy,” said Fidesz Spokesman Imre Puskás in response to the news. We believe that fighting the Soros plan is essential to preserving some of the EU’s most important achievements, including freedom of movement within the Schengen zone.

On issues of the rule of law and human rights, the government of Hungary has always been open to cooperation with the European Commission and the Venice Commission. This time, it’s no different. But let us be clear. We have no plans to change our pro-security, strong-borders policy on immigration and will grant no quarter to the pro-migration agenda of the Soros network and its surrogates.