The European Parliament goes on ‘fact finding mission’ before its show-trial against Hungary

EU flag waving in front of European Parliament building. Brussels, Belgium
By John Cody
7 Min Read

Members of the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) have left Hungary after a two-day fact-finding visit regarding the rule of law, and democratic standards. However, no sooner have they left the country and political analysts have started publishing damning evidence about the European Parliament delegation’s ties to far-left NGOs and George Soros’ network.

Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga reminded members of the committee that Article 7 proceeding were initiated by pro-migration, left-wing political forces years ago, so it has nothing to do with issues that have now arisen. The Hungarian conservative think-tank Századvég has, on the other hand, published a report that details ties to political donors, as well as a history of bias and far-left engagement among members of the committee.

According to the study, the LIBE group has mostly met with actors critical of, and hostile to the Hungarian conservative government, as well as with representatives of a number of politically-engaged activist NGOs that receive significant support from both the European Union and the Open Society Foundation. The report goes on to detail the relationships of these NGOs with the LIBE Committee and George Soros’ network.

The European Parliament’s LIBE is a standing committee of the plenary body responsible for civil liberties enshrined in the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. It is often accused of expanding its powers beyond its democratic scope and intervening in the internal affairs of EU member states. Many of the members of the LIBE Committee have been waging verbal warfare against right-wing governments that create policies along national values. They rely on the evidence gathered from left-wing NGOs, many of which produced fabricated accusations in order to discredit sovereign, conservative lead countries, especially Poland and Hungary.

NGOs can expect serious compensation from the European Union for this activity. The budget for the 2021-2027 cycle allocates €1.855 billion to the “Justice, Rights and Values” program, under which NGOs that set out to gain political influence and weaken the nation-state framework can also receive significant financial support.

The delegation’s “fact-finding visit” focused on LGBTQ rights, migration and refugee issues. Hungary and Brussels have very different positions on these two issues, but sending a group composed mostly of radical leftist politicians (two members were from conservative European Parliament groupings) known for their strongly critical attitude towards Hungary shows that the European Parliament has already made its mind up about punishing Hungary, says the think-tank’s report. A quick look at the track record of some of the LIBE groups past could explain why:

  • Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield (Vice-President, Greens) called for Hungary’s EU voting rights to be suspended due to the child protection law passed this summer, and a few weeks ago demanded at the LIBE meeting that EU recovery funds should be withheld from Hungary. Her party is also in favor of migrant distribution quotas.
  • Malin Björk, Sweden’s first openly lesbian, radical feminist MEP, is a far-left politician, who is only a temporary member of LIBE, but a permanent member of the European Parliament’s working group on LGBTQ issues. Strongly pro-immigration, she proposed that 240,000 migrants should be distributed annually in the EU.
  • Bettina Vollath, an Austrian MEP, has already arrived in Hungary with the preconception that women’s rights are being restricted here. She called Hungary a “sham democracy without independent courts and freedom of the press” in the European Parliament. She also demanded action from the EU in connection with the Hungarian Child Protection Act, proposing that this should not only be dealt with in the courts, but resolved politically.
  • Perhaps most notably, the group had included Hungarian MEP Anna Donáth, member of the far-left student movement Momentum, who is known for having campaigned with Slovakian liberal parties that stood against minority Hungarian parties during the 2019 elections. She came to Hungary on a fact finding mission only to listen to the witness statements of representatives of her own party.

The delegation began its 48-hour series of talks with representatives of NGOs in Hungary, including the Asylum: Association for the Assistance of Migrants, Amnesty International Hungary, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, the Society for Freedom Rights, Transparency International Hungary and the Hungarian LGBT Association. Most of these can be connected to George Soros and his Open Society Foundations. The Open Society Foundation’s publication for 2015 shows that the billionaire oligarch supported the activities of Asylum with $21,000, while in 2016, the Open Society Foundation gave the association another $68,739, claims the Századvég report.

Between 2016 and 2019, Amnesty International received nearly $10 million from the Open Society Foundation. The European Commission’s Justice and Consumer Policy Unit (DG JUST) is responsible for justice, consumer rights and gender equality policies. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee received a 180 million Hungarian forint grant from DG JUST in 2020, while they received a further 320 million forints in 2019 from the Open Society Foundation In the period between 2018 and 2019.

Transparency International Hungary received $156,000 from the Open Society Foundation to fight corruption and abuse of power. Finally, another of those helping LIBE on their fact-finding mission is the Hungarian LGBT Association, which received 55.6 million forints in 2018 in support from the European Commission. Hence, all these organizations have a vested interest in supporting the critical narrative against Hungary that the European Parliament will no doubt vote for before initiating Article 7 proceedings against the conservative-run country.

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