In the wake of the recent diplomatic dispute between Hungary and Germany, conservative Hungarian news portal Origo presented a profile of the man who started it all, German Federal Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth, who has close contacts with George Soros and has been at the forefront of anti-Hungarian sentiment in Germany for the last decade.
As Remix News reported earlier, Roth told Germany’s largest news portal, Die Welt, that “one aspect that led to the Article 7 case against Hungary was rampant anti-Semitism in Hungary. I cannot speak critically about anti-Semitism in other countries without mentioning the appalling increase in anti-Semitic crimes in Germany.”
Several Hungarian high-ranking politicians, including Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó and Justice Minister Judit Varga refuted the allegations.
The 50-year-old Roth, who has a degree in political sciences, joined the German Social Democratic Party (SPD) in 1987 at the age of 17. An MP for the party since 1998, Roth was appointed Minister of State for European Affairs in 2013 and since 2014 he is also commissioner for Franco-German cooperation. As Levente Magyar, state minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Trade pointed out, he has been steadily attacking Hungary since 2010 in various forums.
It all started when the current conservative government of Viktor Orbán came top power in the spring of 2010, as during the previous Socialist-Liberal governments, Roth was not critical of Hungary at all.
Origo speculates that one of the reasons for Roth’s anti-Hungarian stance is the country’s firm opposition to the gender lobby and LGBT ideology, since the Hungarian constitution clearly states that marriage represents the union of a man and a woman.
Roth is openly gay and married his current spouse, Michael Klöppner in 2012. They are often seen and photographed together at public functions.
In 2018, Roth attended the Belgrade gay pride march, where he expressed his dissatisfaction that same-sex marriages are still only legal in half of the European Union member states. While previously gay couples could only be accepted as partnerships, Germany made same-sex marriages legal in 2017. At the time, Chancellor Angela Merkel voted against the bill.
Strong ties with Soros
Perhaps just as importantly, Roth is a close ally of George Soros. In 2017, for example, the two held a joint presentation at the opening of the European Roma Cultural Center in Berlin.
Lancement à Berlin de l'Institut rom européen pour les arts et la culture ERIAC. Avec G. Soros et Michael Roth pic.twitter.com/OkcCJDkY2B
— delphine nerbollier (@delphnerbollier) June 8, 2017
In 2018, Roth proposed that the European Union set up a fund to support NGOs in member states where “the rule of law was threatened”. He made no secret that his primary target in this respect was Hungary.
The left-wing German politician also resorted to claims of anti-Semitism in the past, saying Hungary’s “Stop Soros Package” was intended to restrict Hungarian civil society and asylum organizations, and that there was a feeling that the state-sponsored anti-Soros campaign was dangerous.
”It reinforces that George Soros is a ‘Jewish financial capitalist and illegal refugee facilitator,” which Roth described as “unacceptable”. As the Hungarian government has mentioned on a number of occasions, criticism of Soros is no way tied to his Jewish background, but instead solely about his actions in Europe and Hungary. Those who bring up Jewish stereotypes, such as the ones Roth mentioned, is guilty of anti-Semitism themselves.
While Roth regularly gives interviews to Hungarian media, it is invariably the opposition media he speaks to. In 2016, for example, he voiced his concern for the closure of opposition daily Népszabadság, which the mainstream liberal opinion in Western Europe regarded as limiting freedom of speech.
Title image: Billionaire American financier George Soros (R) and German Federal Minister of State for European Affairs Michael Roth (L) at a conference. (source: zombio.com)