Saturday

23rd Mar 2019

EU says Hungary's anti-Juncker campaign is fake news

  • Juncker (l) and Orban hail from the same political family (Photo: ec.europa.eu)

The European Commission on Tuesday (19 February) lashed out against a campaign launched by the Hungarian government the day before accusing the president of the EU executive Jean-Claude Juncker of threatening Hungary's security with migration plans.

"The Juncker commission made a commitment to fight disinformation and fake news and this case is no exception. The Hungarian government campaign beggars belief. It is shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has," commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told journalists in an unusually strong-worded reaction.

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The latest campaign by the Hungarian government funded by taxpayer money, features a smiling Jean-Claude Juncker, with US billionaire and philanthropist George Soros smiling in the background.

It accuses the EU of pushing proposals on migration that "threaten Hungary's security". "You also have the right to know what Brussels is preparing for!" the ad reads.

Prime minister Viktor Orban's government had long accused the EU commission of implementing what they described as a "Soros plan", transporting a million migrants into Europe, without providing any proof.

"There is no conspiracy, Hungarians deserve facts, not fiction," Schinas said.

"It is not true that the EU undermines national border protection, there are zero plans for so-called humanitarian visas, and member states decide to what level they want to accept legal migration," the spokesman said debunking the claims in the Hungarian government ad.

Orban's government has run a series of taxpayer-funded anti-Brussels, anti-migration, and anti-Soros campaigns over several years.

Lately, Budapest government officials accused EU commission vice-president Frans Timmermans, who runs as the lead Socialist candidate in May European elections, of being a Soros stooge.

In this latest campaign, the Hungarian government attacks Juncker, who hails from the same centre-right European political family, the European People's Party (EPP) as Orban.

EPP has struggled to deal with Orban, who has drifted to the right while strengthening his grip on power at home by curbing checks and balances and reining in independent institutions. Orban has made no secret of his plans to push the entire party to the right.

Despite being in the same political family, Orban and Juncker had several run-ins, beginning with the nomination of the Luxembourgish politician to the top commission job. Aside from the UK's David Cameron, Orban was the only EU leader to vote against Juncker's commission presidency bid in 2014.

Last December after the meeting of EU leaders, Juncker already slammed Orban for disseminating disinformation.

"Some of the prime ministers sitting around the table, they are the origin of the fake news. When Mr Orban, for example, says that migrants are responsible for Brexit, it's fake news," Juncker told reporters after the December meeting.

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