As a starting point, it is important to note that one of the most obvious ways to map the activities of left-wing MEPs is to examine in depth the amendment proposals they have submitted. On the one hand, these documents shed light on the content of the political agenda of each representative and the direction to which they intend to shift EU legislation. On the other hand, it is a common phenomenon that MEPs do not submit their proposals for amendments on their own, but together with other (even foreign) politicians, so that their cooperation can be explored with their help. Accordingly, Századvég reviewed which representatives the opposition MEPs have worked with recently in drafting their amendment proposals (i.e., what their social network is like), and what is the content of their proposals in question.
The left, hand in hand with its foreign allies, discredits Hungary in the European Parliament
In the second half of 2020, the negotiations on the long-term budget of the European Union led to a serious public storm. The picture was further nuanced by the fact that this time, the EU bodies had to reach an agreement on the COVID Recovery Fund in response to the negative consequences of the coronavirus. In addition, left-wing forces were intensively lobbying for Brussels to link the EU’s economic aid, which Hungary is entitled to, to political punitive conditions disguised as the rule of law, despite the pandemic. Based on the amendment proposals submitted by Hungarian opposition MEPs, Századvég examined the extent to which the Hungarian left in the European Parliament, also joined by their foreign allies, places the enforcement of its own ideological aspects ahead of Hungary’s interests.
The analysis shows that 99 percent of all the relationships of left-wing MEPs is with contacts outside the Member States (so-called external contacts). However, the proportion of direct contacts between Hungarian pro-government and opposition MEPs is 0 percent. So, regarding the proposed amendments, there is no cooperation between the two sides at all.
Based on these findings several conclusions can be drawn. On the one hand, the political agenda of the Hungarian left-wing MEPs is completely contrary to the government’s position, suggesting a lack of a national minimum and the primacy of following ideological considerations. On the other hand, the almost 100 percent proportion of the opposition MEPs’ foreign, external relations also shows that
in the EU political arena, the Hungarian left, hand in hand with its foreign allies, tries to discredit the work of the national government.
In other words, it intends to cooperate with foreign partners rather than the largest Hungarian delegation.
The conclusion about the lack of national cooperation is also supported by the fact that the proportion of the common foreign partners of the government and the left is extremely low (5.5 percent), i.e., not only the rate of the direct relationships but also the indirect ones – developed by the mediation of MEPs from other Member States – is marginal. This suggests that
Hungarian left-wing forces in the European Parliament are predominantly cooperating with partners hostile to the Hungarian government in drafting their amendments.
The content of the amendment proposals
Századvég also examined the amendments submitted by the Hungarian pro-government and left-wing MEPs in terms of their content, which provided an opportunity to draw further conclusions about the work of the left in the European Parliament. The analysis shows that, if we look at the similarity of the keywords in the pro-government and left-wing amendment proposals, Hungary has the lowest rate of similarity (55 percent) between pro-government and opposition proposals regarding the Visegrad countries (both in the Czech Republic and Poland this rate is 62 percent, while in Slovakia it is 67 percent). To put it simply,
within the framework of the V4 cooperation, opposition Hungarian MEPs aim at different targets than the governing parties.
This anti-government attitude, which also stands out in international comparison, is confirmed by a more detailed examination of the ideologically relevant legislative activity of Hungarian left-wing MEPs. In the current parliamentary term, domestic opposition MEPs have submitted amendment proposals for a total of 117 legislative procedures, 13 of which can be considered as explicitly ideological and not policy-centred (e.g., illegal migration, the rule of law, fundamental rights, gender issues, etc.). It is reasonable to assume that the concepts of these topics represented by the left radically go against the policies of the governing parties, i.e., these political topics can also be considered as a measure of anti-government opposition. Reviewing the share of ideological (and, consequently, presumably anti-government) manifestations of the legislative activity of each Hungarian left-wing MEP, it can be stated that
55 percent of the amendment proposals submitted by Anna Donáth were against government policy, while in the case of Klára Dobrev this proportion was also significant, at 45 percent.
Based on the results of the examination of the social network of the MEPs and the similarity of the amendment proposals they have submitted, Századvég has ranked the EU Member States, pointing out the fault line between the ruling parties and the opposition in each country. It is noteworthy that Hungary is second in the ranking, surpassed only by Croatia in political fragmentation. Based on all this, it can be stated that out of the 27 Member States, except for Croatia, Hungary is the state where – on the basis of their activities in the European Parliament – the opposition forces work mostly against the government.
To sum up, during the period since 2019, also in European comparison, the Hungarian left-liberal members of the European Parliament pay special attention to attacking government forces and their own country. It can also be stated that the interest of Hungary and the enforcement of national interests are a secondary issue for the left. Thus, it is not surprising that
Hungarian left-wing MEPs also prefer to cooperate with their foreign partners in order to denigrate and discredit the country and the national government.
 The content examination took place in two stages. It covered the similarity of the keywords in the pro-government and opposition amendment proposals, as well as the matching of the (positive) words to be inserted in the legislation to be amended and the (negative) ones to be deleted in the pro-government and left-wing proposals.
 It is important to note that, for various reasons (e.g., due to the small number of their MEPs), 7 EU Member States do not have a result in this ranking that could be interpreted.