As it was said in the webinar entitled “The Rule of Law Mechanism – what is the role of civil society organisations?” organised by the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) on 7 December 2021, the European Commission (EC) would issue a rule of law report every July. The EC is going to collect information for the part of the report dealing with Hungary in virtual meetings with stakeholders on 28 February and 1 March 2022. According to the EU interpretation, representatives of Member States, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), professional and international organisations, and those classified as “other” are considered to be stakeholders. Although members of the government and right-wing actors are also interviewed, a much larger number of stakeholders committed to an open society is visited and their views are reflected in the reports. Regarding the 2020 country report, Justice Minister Judit Varga also pointed out that “The report was actually written by organisations that are part of a centrally funded international network conducting a coordinated political campaign against Hungary. The Hungarian chapter of the report refers to 12 non-governmental organisations. In recent years, 11 of these NGOs have received financial support from the Open Society Foundations linked to George Soros.” It was said in the webinar organised by FRA last December that some Member States were critical of the reports because of double standard, but these comments were not taken seriously by the EC, as “despite the criticisms, they are still involved in drafting the reports”.
In recent weeks, recordings about several people related to George Soros who are striving to achieve an open society have come to light in which they talk about the activities of NGOs funded by the stock market speculator. Andrej Nosko, former director of the Open Society Foundations (OSF), acknowledges that the international left-wing media and cross-border “watchdog” organisations are campaigning against Hungary and Poland in an unfair, biased manner, highlighting the Freedom House reports, which were supported by OSF with a total of USD 550,000 (HUF 171 million) in 2019 and 2020. He says the analyses of these NGOs do not judge the country on the basis of objective criteria, but only on the grounds of whether its government adopts a national or globalist position. The former director of OSF also spoke about the double standard in Brussels on the same basis. A similar experience in the EU was reported by Dalibor Rohac, an analyst at the American Enterprise Institute, who said that “If Orbán were to be replaced and the socialists formed a government again, they would be greatly relieved in Brussels.” Recently, a recording about the project manager of the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU), which systematically (unfoundedly) criticises Hungary and the Hungarian government, has come to light in which he says that “the international or foreign media is not interested in the details when reporting on Hungarian affairs” and admits that – despite unsubstantiated allegations about the rule of law – “it is indeed very good to live in Hungary and Poland”.
The reports prepared by the EC echo the findings of NGOs that convey the arguments of the globalist left, which were published during the year. The allegations dictated by George Soros and his organisations already appeared in the 2021 report. The Reporters Without Frontier (RSF), a civil organisation that received a total of USD 375,000 (HUF 117 million) from the OSF in 2017 and 2019, ranked Hungary 92nd in its press freedom rankings in 2021, calling Viktor Orbán an enemy of the freedom of the press, and cited the withdrawal of the Klubrádió frequency for political reasons, the impossibility of obtaining information about the coronavirus pandemic, and the criminalisation of false news as examples of attacks on the freedom of expression. All these allegations were listed in the EC’s rule of law report last year as well, despite the fact that they can be refuted one by one. According to the 180/201. (III. 10.) Resolution of the Media Council of the National Media and Infocommunications Authority, the tender offer of Klubrádió Zrt. was formally and substantively invalid, and the economic operation of the radio did not comply with legal and tender requirements. This decision was challenged in court by Klubrádió. Finally, in the Kf. VII.40.405/2021/6. second instance judgment of the Curia declared that the Media Council was right and dismissed the plaintiff’s appeal (against the first instance court ruling, which also rejected the plaintiff’s argument). Thus, there were no political ties in the case, the Curia also pointed out that the Media Council had no discretion, and it would have been unlawful to grant the broadcasting rights to Klubrádió on any grounds other than the law. The simplest and most obvious refutations to the allegation concerning the impossibility of obtaining information about the pandemic are the permanent public information given by the Operational Group on television and online, as well as the informative interface of the website https://koronavirus.gov.hu. The crime of scaremongering had already been included in the Criminal Code long before the pandemic (Article 337 of Act C of 2012 on the Criminal Code), the only change therein is the increase in the scale of penalties.
It is clear that NGOs promoting the ideology of Brussels and open societies seek to maintain any matter in the public discourse in which there is even a slight belief in the public that a political decision has been made and it is included in their reports and interpreted as clear government repression. Accordingly, the Schadle case is likely to be included in the 2022 Rule of Law Report, which is a particular case and a case in which a final verdict has not yet been reached, but the report’s draftsmen will certainly infer systematic corruption from it. The Pegasus case is also likely to be mentioned in the document in July, in which no illegal wiretapping has been confirmed, still István Újhelyi (MSZP) and his fellow Member of the European Parliament, Robert Biedroń, asked the EC to supplement the Polish and Hungarian rule of law report, expecting the Commission to pay particular attention to the so-called Pegasus case and its substantive exploration.
In January this year, the international civil organisation Human Rights Watch (HRW) published its annual country report, which included that the Hungarian government continued its attacks on the rule of law and democratic institutions in 2021. It should be noted that the National Assembly adopted the Fundamental Law of Hungary (hereinafter: Fundamental Law), in which Article B (1) classifies Hungary as a democratic state government by the rule of law. The statements in the HRW report are also likely to appear in the 2022 Rule of Law Report. According to the NGO, gender minorities and the Roma are discriminated, and women’s rights are curtailed. Article 2 (1) of the Fundamental Law states that all persons are equal before the law, and Article 2 (2) prohibits discrimination on the grounds of, inter alia, sex, race, and other conditions. Several gay rights protection organisations operate in Hungary (Háttér Társaság, Hungarian LGBT Association), the “Budapest Pride” is held every year, and Act XXIX of 2009 on Registered Partnership and Related Legislation and on the Amendment of Other Statutes to Facilitate the Proof of Cohabitation has been in force for almost thirteen years, which provides nearly the same rights for homosexuals as for married couples. Several applications and catch-up programs help to improve the living conditions of the Roma and their successful integration. According to Article XV (3) of our national constitution, women and men have equal rights, and according to Article 5 (5), Hungary takes special measures to protect women. Regarding the situation of women, it is a tell-tale sign that it is the governing parties that nominate a woman, Katalin Novák, as President of the Republic. According to the report, it is almost impossible to obtain asylum in Hungary. The rejection of illegal migration in Hungary is extremely disturbing for these organisations, but this is not surprising, as George Soros supported HRW with a total of USD 350,000 (approximately HUF 110 million) in 2018 and 2020 through the OSF. The fact against the allegation is that Article XIV (4) of the Fundamental Law sets out in general terms who shall be granted asylum, and Act LXXX of 2007 on Asylum provides for the basic rules of providing asylum. As the rule of law reports published so far – and presumably that of this year – the HRW report also states that “The government has continued to harass the independent media and restrict the freedom of expression.” In the conceptual framework of open societies, the adjectives “left” and “independent” appear as equivalent terms in relation to media and civil organisations. Opposition media are by no means repressed by the government parties. On the contrary, the hegemony of anti-government voices prevails in the online media. Article IX (1)-(2) of the Fundamental Law declare that everyone has the right to freedom of expression and that Hungary recognises and protects the freedom and diversity of the press and ensures the conditions for the free dissemination of information necessary for the formation of democratic public opinion. In Hungary, freedom of the press and the fundamental rules of media content are regulated by a separate law (Act CIV of 2010 on the Freedom of the Press and the Fundamental Rules of Media Content). According to Article 4 (2) of Act CIV of 2010 on the Freedom of the Press and the Fundamental Rules of Media Content, freedom of the press includes the independence of the state and of any organisation or interest group. Before 2010, the media was clearly defined by left-wing voices, today the press is much freer in Hungary and the media is much more pluralistic than in Western European countries. In addition to those listed above, the EC’s 2021 Country Report contains additional statements – independent of reality – that have been a recurring element in the narrative of Brussels against Hungary since the Sargentini report and the first rule of law report and are likely to be found in the document published this year as well.
Such an allegation is that the independence of judges is at risk and that the judiciary is intended to be subordinated to the legislature. Article C) (1) of the Fundamental Law states that the functioning of the Hungarian State is based on the principle of the separation of powers. According to Article 26 (1), judges are independent and only subordinated to Acts, and they shall not be instructed in in relation to their judicial activity. So, in several points, the primary source of law in Hungary provides for the separation of the branch of iurisdictio from the legislative and executive branches. Judges may only be removed from office for the reasons and in a procedure specified in a cardinal act, so that their existence cannot be jeopardised by a government decision. Judges may not be members of political parties or engage in political activities, and therefore politics may not influence judgements, and judges carry out their work in accordance with common sense and the public good (Article 28 of the Fundamental Law), in line with legislation. Article 3 of Act CLXI of 2011 on the Organisation and Administration of the Courts also ensures that judges and lay judges are independent, make decisions in accordance with their convictions based on legislation, and shall not be influenced or instructed in their judicial activity. Article 15 (1) of our national constitution declares that the government is accountable to the National Assembly, thus the executive is not equal to the legislature and is not above the parliament either. Thus, even if the otherwise false allegation that the Orbán government intends justice to be subordinated to the legislature was true, governmental intervention in the functioning of the courts would be out of the question.
Last year’s rule of law report stated that corruption remained a problem in Hungary, based on the Transparency International’s 2020 Corruption Perception Index, according to which Hungary “has deteriorated a lot” over the past five years. Thus, the EC bases its allegations on the findings of an NGO that is regularly funded by the foundation of George Soros with a significant amount of money. However, the fact is that the post-2010 Fidesz governments have launched comprehensive anti-corruption measures and a National Anti-Corruption Program, and the medium-term National Anti-Corruption Strategy for 2020-2022 is currently being implemented. Over the last twelve years, the functioning of the state, the use of public funds and EU funds, and the public procurement system have become much more transparent and disciplined. Hungary also performs well at EU level and has excellent cooperation with international organisations in the fight against corruption. The Hungarian Prosecution Service prosecuted 45 percent of the cases initiated by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) between 2012 and 2018 (the EU average at that time was 36 percent), compared with 21 percent in Germany, 25 percent in France, and 30 percent in Romania. In 2020, two-thirds of the cases investigated by the Hungarian authorities led to prosecution, a rate that is exceptionally high at EU level, as the latest EU average is 37 percent.
Brussels continues to attack the otherwise effective Hungarian control of the pandemic: according to the 2021 Country Report, the duration of the state of danger is not predetermined, and the government has the discretion to maintain or end it. In the event of a pandemic, it is practically impossible to determine how long an elemental disaster jeopardising the safety of life will be present. However, Article 53 (4) of the Fundamental Law provides for a mandatory provision that a government decree issued in a state of danger shall cease to have effect upon the termination of the state of danger. So, the state of danger lasts until the danger persists, its length does not depend on an arbitrary decision made by the government.
The rule of law report published in July last year questioned the independence of the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and criticised the functioning of the Constitutional Court. The National Assembly shall elect the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights on the proposal of the President of the Republic [Article 1 (2) e) and Article 9 (3) j) of the Fundamental Law], so the government has no decision-making power over the person holding the office of the Commissioner. According to Article 30 (3) of the Fundamental Law, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights and his or her deputies may not be members of political parties or engage in political activities, so neither party politics nor the will of the government play a role in the performance of their duties. A similar provision is included in Article 11 of the Act CXI of 2011 on the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, according to which in conducting his/her proceedings, the Commissioner for Fundamental Rights shall be independent, subordinated only to Acts, and may not be given instructions regarding his/her activities. Criticisms of the Constitutional Court and its operation are a good illustration of the double standard in the EU to the detriment of countries with national, civilian governments. While the body of judicial robes is the supreme body for the protection of the Fundamental Law, it is Brussels that intends to limit the powers of the Polish Constitutional Court (classifying it as illegitimate). However, there is no concern for the rule of law at EU level that Denmark, the United Kingdom (which was an EU Member State before 2021), Sweden, and the Netherlands do not have a separate constitutional court.
The 2021 Rule of Law Report was prepared on the basis of, among other things, the reports of and discussions with the following (pseudo) NGOs generously funded by George Soros:
- Amnesty International Hungary – it received USD 25,000 (HUF 8,080,000) from the OSF in 2020,
- Eötvös Károly Institute – it received slightly more than HUF 220 million between 2009 and 2018 from the foundations linked to Soros,
- Hungarian Civil Liberties Union (HCLU) – it received USD 870,118 (HUF 287 million) support from the OSF between 2016 and 2020,
- Hungarian Helsinki Committee – it raised a total of USD 1,510,000 (HUF 488 million) in funding through the Soros Foundation in 2016, 2018 and 2019,
- K-Monitor – it received USD 105,460 (HUF 34 million) from the OSF in 2017, 2018 and 2020,
- Mérték Médiaelemző Műhely – it was granted HUF 109 million by the OSF between 2009 and 2015,
- Political Capital – the NGO received USD 270,869 (HUF 88 million) on its bank account from the Soros Foundation in 2016, 2018 and 2019,
- Transparency International Hungary Foundation – it received USD 202,032 (HUF 63 million) from the OFS in 2019.
All this shows that an assessment based on facts and reality cannot be expected in the 2022 Rule of Law Report either. It should also be highlighted that in the webinar of FRA held last year it was revealed that specific recommendations would be made to Member States from 2022 onwards. This is in line with those included in the analysis entitled “Hungarian NGOs contribute to the European Commission’s second Rule of Law Report”, which was compiled in March 2021 by the Soros NGOs operating in Hungary, saying that “They are confident that in this year’s  report the EC will also make a concrete, enforceable recommendation to Member States, including Hungary, on how to strengthen the rule of law in the EU.” Consequently, the creation of an open society is planned to be forced on EU Member States in the near future