Wednesday

17th Oct 2018

Orban vows to defend Poland from EU's 'inquisition'

  • Orban (r) has called for the European Commission to stop being an "inquisitor" against prime minister Sydlo's (l) Poland. (Photo: premier.gov.pl)

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orban, pledged to defend Poland against the European Commission’s “inquisition”, while, over the weekend, Warsaw pushed through legislation that was criticised for putting the judiciary under political control.

Orban said Hungary will use all legal means available in the EU to defend Poland.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

The European Commission said last week that it was “very close” to launching the Article 7 procedure against Poland, an unprecedented move that could result in sanctions.

Sanctions against Poland could only be imposed after a unanimous decision by the EU's member states.

Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans called the new Polish legislation - including one that would replace judges in the Supreme Court with appointees by the government - a threat to the rule of law.

“It is in Hungary’s interest, Europe's interest, and the interest of Polish-Hungarian friendship that this inquisition against Poland should never be successful,” Orban told a crowd on Saturday (22 July) in Baile Tusnad, in Transylvania, a Romanian region with a large Hungarian-speaking population.

It was in Baile Tusnad that Orban, in 2014, expressed his support for “Illiberal" democracy.

Orban said that there is an alliance forged “against the people” among the Brussels bureaucrats and the elite, and what he described as the “Soros-empire” run by US-Hungarian billionaire and philanthropist George Soros.

He said Timmermans is the “main inquisitor” implementing the will of this alliance, which aims to weaken and destroy the “national government” in Poland.

Orban called on Europe to regain its sovereignty from the "Soros-empire". He suggested that only then can Europe avoid the “Soros plan” of bringing a million migrants into Europe, and for Europe to maintain its cultural identity.

Soros, though a spokesman, had earlier called Orban's allegation on transporting migrants a "fantasy".

Orban described the “inquisition” as part of a struggle between the global political elite and national leaders.

The Hungarian premier had his own run-ins with the EU commission, which is currently investigating Hungary’s higher education law and a legislation against NGOs that critics say target a Soros-founded university in Budapest and a civil society party funded by Soros’s foundation.

Orban said the EU needs to be reformed, among other things, by making sure that the EU commission does not behave as a political institution.

“That is the cause of all problems,” he said, adding that the EU executive should only be the guardian of the treaties.

Orban said that, to complete the EU’s reforms, a European military force needs to be built, economic competitiveness has to be reinforced, Serbia should be granted EU membership, and wide-ranging “historical” pacts should be signed with Turkey and Russia.

He has insisted, since last year, on the reinforcement of the Visegrad Four, a loose cooperation group made up of the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia. "We speak with one voice," he said.

No solidarity

The Hungarian prime minister was again defiant on migration.

Hungary and Slovakia challenged an EU decision to distribute asylum seekers across the EU. Meanwhile, Hungary has been criticised for not taking in any asylum seekers from hot spots such as Greece or Italy. The EU has called for more solidarity with fellow member states.

Orban said solidarity should be a tool and not an objective in itself.

He said the “culture of migrants is the direct opposite of the European culture”, and one excludes the other.

“We can never be in solidarity with those whose aim is to change European culture,” Orban said, adding that integration is not possible.

EU launches legal probe into Hungary's NGO law

The European Commission says the new law is discriminatory, and interferes with the freedom of association. Hungary, which accuses the NGOs of helping illegal migration, has one month to answer.

Poland 'leaving EU community of values'

Leading MEPs and legal watchdogs have raised the alarm on Polish judicial reforms, but the European Commission declined to speak out so far.

EU Commission unmoved by Polish president's veto

Andrzej Duda decided to veto two of the controversial draft laws, which would put the judiciary under political control, but the EU executive is awaiting details before deciding on whether to launch legal probes on Wednesday.

EU Commission to act on Poland

The EU executive is likely to issue a new set of rule of law recommendations to Poland and start legal probes once the controversial pieces of legislation have been published.

News in Brief

  1. Tusk: May should come with new Brexit proposals
  2. EU boosts security role in Central African Republic
  3. Poland snipes at EU border guard plan
  4. Italy to propose mini-thaw in Russia sanctions
  5. Italy splurges on welfare in new budget
  6. EU adopts new chemical weapons sanctions
  7. Le Pen warms towards cooperation with Bannon
  8. Bettel set to stay in power in Luxembourg after election

EU parliament will not budge on office expenses

Hungarian centre-right MEP Livia Jaroka sticks to earlier decision: documents related to the minor reform of the expenses system, requested by EUobserver, should remain secret.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsOpen letter to Emmanuel Macron ahead of Uzbek president's visit
  2. International Partnership for Human RightsRaising key human rights concerns during visit of Turkmenistan's foreign minister
  3. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSState of the Nordic Region presented in Brussels
  4. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe vital bioeconomy. New issue of “Sustainable Growth the Nordic Way” out now
  5. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSThe Nordic gender effect goes international
  6. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSPaula Lehtomaki from Finland elected as the Council's first female Secretary General
  7. NORDIC COUNCIL OF MINISTERSNordic design sets the stage at COP24, running a competition for sustainable chairs.
  8. Counter BalanceIn Kenya, a motorway funded by the European Investment Bank runs over roadside dwellers
  9. ACCACompany Law Package: Making the Best of Digital and Cross Border Mobility,
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil Society Worried About Shortcomings in EU-Kyrgyzstan Human Rights Dialogue
  11. UNESDAThe European Soft Drinks Industry Supports over 1.7 Million Jobs
  12. Mission of China to the EUJointly Building Belt and Road Initiative Leads to a Better Future for All

Latest News

  1. EU ministers struggle to deal with Poland and Hungary
  2. Commission tried to hide details of 'WiFi4EU' glitch
  3. Brexit standoff continues before EU summit
  4. ASEM: Global Partners for Global Challenges
  5. How Juncker's 'do less' group concluded EU should not do less
  6. Cyprus and Russia: Association of Cyprus Banks responds
  7. Orthodox church split just tip of Putin's crumbling 'soft power' in Ukraine
  8. Daily reality in Western Sahara - and how EU can protect it

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. International Partnership for Human RightsCivil society asks PACE to appoint Rapporteur to probe issue of political prisoners in Azerbaijan
  2. ACCASocial Mobility – How Can We Increase Opportunities Through Training and Education?
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersEnergy Solutions for a Greener Tomorrow
  4. UNICEFWhat Kind of Europe Do Children Want? Unicef & Eurochild Launch Survey on the Europe Kids Want
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Countries Take a Stand for Climate-Smart Energy Solutions
  6. Mission of China to the EUChina: Work Together for a Better Globalisation
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersNordics Could Be First Carbon-Negative Region in World
  8. European Federation of Allergy and AirwaysLife Is Possible for Patients with Severe Asthma
  9. PKEE - Polish Energy AssociationCommon-Sense Approach Needed for EU Energy Reform
  10. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Region to Lead in Developing and Rolling Out 5G Network
  11. Mission of China to the EUChina-EU Economic and Trade Relations Enjoy a Bright Future
  12. ACCAEmpowering Businesses to Engage with Sustainable Finance and the SDGs

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us