Left-wing EU lawmakers called for an investigation into U.S. journalist Tucker Carlson after he visited Moscow to interview Russian President Vladimir Putin, with some even demanding a “travel ban” to Europe — but Hungarian government officials said they would veto such a move.
Brussels erupted with mass hysteria after former Fox News host Carlson announced he had sat down with the Russian president in the Kremlin and would soon be airing the interview unedited on X — a social media platform already detested by many European liberals because of its owner Elon Musk’s commitment to free speech.
“Two years into a war that’s reshaping our world, most Americans are not informed,” Carlson told followers as he explained why he had traveled to the Russian capital.
He claimed that Western mainstream media had fawned over Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky throughout the entirety of the current conflict, and insisted that the public should hear from actors on both sides of the war as “they’re paying for much of it in ways they might not fully yet perceive.”
“You’ve never heard his voice,” Carlson said of Putin. “That’s wrong. Americans have a right to know all we can about a war they’re implicated in, and we have the right to tell them about it.”
“We are not here because we love Vladimir Putin…. We are not encouraging you to agree with what Putin may say in this interview, but we are urging you to watch it. You should know as much as you can,” he added.
As is often the way, Guy Verhofstadt, the former Belgian prime minister and current EU lawmaker, was the first to express his outrage at the thought of the Russian president being handed the opportunity to communicate directly with the Western world without the largely partisan lens of the mainstream media.
He told Newsweek that Carlson is a “mouthpiece” for former U.S. President Donald Trump who holds pro-Kremlin views, and suggested it would be “logical” for an investigation to be held into the U.S. journalist.
“As Putin is a war criminal and the EU sanctions all who assist him in that effort, it seems logical that the External Action Service examines his case as well,” Verhofstadt added.
Former Spanish liberal MEP Luis Garicano endorsed Verhofstadt’s view, telling the same publication that Carlson is “no longer a newsman, but a propagandist for the most heinous regime on European soil and the one which is most dangerous to our peace and security.”
Are sanctions against Tucker Carlson likely?
The European External Action Service (EEAS) is effectively the European Union’s foreign and defense ministry. Evidence of an individual’s ties with a belligerent nation can be submitted for investigation to the service which can propose the imposition of sanctions.
These sanctions, however, must be signed off by national leaders within the European Council, and Hungary has already suggested it will oppose any attempt to move on Carlson.
Responding to reports that the U.S. journalist could face EU sanctions, Balázs Orbán, the political director to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán posted on X: “Don’t bother trying — we won’t let it happen!”
Koskovics Zoltán, a geopolitical analyst at the Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights noted that “a Hungarian veto” on any attempt to sanction Carlson “is guaranteed.”
U.S. billionaire and X owner Elon Musk also weighed in on the suggestion, warning that such a move “would be disturbing indeed.”
“One may agree with Tucker or not, but he is a major American journalist and such an action would greatly offend the American public,” he added.
On Wednesday, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov revealed Moscow’s reasons for permitting a sit-down with Carlson when other mainstream Western media outlets have been denied an interview during the Ukraine war.
“When it comes to the countries of the collective West, the large network media, TV channels, and large newspapers can in no way boast of even trying to at least look impartial in terms of coverage,” Mr. Peskov said.
“These are all media outlets that take an exceptionally one-sided position. Of course, there is no desire to communicate with such media, and it hardly makes sense, and it is unlikely that it will be useful.”
Peskov claimed that Carlson had been granted the interview because “his position is different from the others” as he is “in no way pro-Russian, nor pro-Ukrainian” but his “pro-American” view contrasts with the “position of the traditional Anglo-Saxon media.”
The highly anticipated interview is expected to be published on the X social media platform on Friday at midnight (CET).