President of the German Economic Club in Hungary barred from speaking at European parliamentary hearing

Arne Gobert, who holds a positive view on German companies seeking to do business in Hungary, was refused permission to give evidence to the Committee on Budgetary Control at a hearing into trading practices in the country

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Magyar Nemzet
Arne Gobert speaking at a Budapest conference. (MTI/Attila Kovács)

The European Parliament’s Committee on Budgetary Control (CONT) held a hearing on Tuesday into allegations of systematic discrimination against German firms and companies in tendering procedures in Hungary, but the committee refused to hear Arne Gobert, president of the German Economic Club, which brings together German companies and enterprises operating in Hungary.

“What happened at the European Parliament committee meeting reminds me of other times, but certainly not of democracy,” Gobert said in Brussels on Tuesday, after CONT launched a new attack on Hungary, citing complaints from German companies trading in the country.

Speaking to the press, Gobert said that as a businessman who has lived and worked in Hungary for 25 years, he wanted to share his experience with European politicians. He said he had a short five-minute conversation with CONT President Monika Hohlmeier (EPP) before the meeting, but she refused to allow him to speak. The German politician justified her refusal by saying that she “already had sufficient information on the situation in Hungary.”

Gobert pointed out that the preliminary information material sent out by CONT was extremely biased. He wanted to say that every year new German companies invest in Hungary and that they are generally satisfied with the mutual cooperation.

“In my view, there is no negative perception of Hungary at all. We have industries where there are disputes on certain issues, but I think that these issues, if they are really important, should be taken to the courts and not to the European parliamentary committees,” the German expert pointed out.

He added that the mainstream media was only interested in hearing negative opinions about Hungary. As an example, he said that a few years ago, RTL Television asked him for an interview, and all the questions were geared towards eliciting negative answers. Since his opinion of Hungary was positive, the interview was never aired.

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