Hungarians expect Brussels to set aside political debates
Left - wing municipalities in the Soros web
It has long been known that NGOs operating in Hungary, mostly financed from abroad, are engaged in politically motivated activities, and seek contact with left-liberal politicians who sympathize with their ideals. After the leadership of some settlements were taken over by the left due to the results of the 2019 local elections, it is worth examining the rise of these organizations in the municipal sphere.
As a starting point, it should be emphasized that the municipality of Erzsébetváros, under the leadership of Péter Niedermüller from DK, concluded an assignment contract worth nearly 6 million forints with Transparency International, which is generously funded from foreign sources, to review the internal regulations. At the same time, András Pikó, mayor of district VIII, ignoring the representative body, decided to submit an EU application for the support of kindergarten development jointly with the Rosa Parks Foundation and Partners Hungary Foundation supported by the Open Society Foundation, the sources of which have finally been received by the two NGOs and not the kindergartens in the district. Based on these developments, two important conclusions can be drawn. On the one hand, Ferenc Gyurcsány and his allies undisguisedly consider the settlements they manage as a paying agent for the political lobby organizations they treat as partners, which is difficult to reconcile with the requirement of sound management of public funds. On the other hand, we must not forget that the municipalities led by left liberals are taking a series of austerity measures (Niedermüller abolished, among other things, the Erzsébetváros allowance provided for district kindergarten teachers, while András Pikó withdrew the 13-month allowance from social and health workers in Józsefváros), in the light of which the legitimacy of the allocation of funds to the NGOs in question is questionable. The question can also be asked that, in the eyes of the left, why the contribution to funding the Soros organizations takes precedence over the representation of the electorate and public interest.
However, it is not a recent phenomenon that local left-wing decision-makers have become the focus of the American businessman’s NGO network: Transparency International – together with K-Monitor and Átlátszó.hu – launched a program for the transparency of local governments already in 2014. The initiative continued in 2019, when 14 of those who joined the program – mostly left-liberal – candidates for mayor and Gergely Karácsony - won seats. The neglect of professional aspects and the primacy of political motivations are indicated by the fact that, among other things, they did not even object that the scheme proposal voicing the establishment of transparent budgetary management and the accountability of decision-makers was joined by the socialist mayor of Kispest municipality, Péter Gajda, himself having major corruption scandals. In light of this, it is less surprising that the mayor of Újbuda, Imre László from DK, appointed Zoltán Nagy, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Transparency International, as the district commissioner for transparency in an opaque tender procedure with a deadline of only 5 days. It is interesting that the assignment contract of Nagy is not public, therefore the exact salary, financed from public funds, is not known, and both the leadership of Újbuda and Demokratikus Koalíció refused to provide information on the matter. Based on these, it can be assumed that the emphasis on creating transparency serves only as an excuse for left-wing political forces to give the NGOs they consider natural allies and the persons associated with them a position, as well as additional opportunities to influence political relations.
In addition, the Soros organizations’ need for policymaking is indicated by the fact that the Közélet Iskolája, the co-founder and board member of which is Tessza Udvarhelyi, a confidant of the mayor of Józsefváros, András Pikó, organizes an event for the training of campaign managers, where they intend to teach participants about, among other things, building a support base, recruiting and managing volunteers, and communication strategies. Közélet Iskolája has a significant embeddedness in the world of non-governmental organizations representing left-liberal ideas, supporters include the Open Society Foundations as well as the Norwegian Civil Support Fund, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, and the German Social Democratic Party Foundation, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung. It is hard to argue that NGOs backed by the U.S. stock market speculator want to devote some of their resources to overthrowing the national government, in preparation for the 2022 parliamentary elections.
The initiative of an NGO cluster called the “Coalition of Civilization” is also noteworthy. This formation (whose members include the Society for Freedoms, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International Hungary and the Hungarian Environmental Partnership Foundation) prepared a package of proposals for Gergely Karácsony in November 2019, aimed at closer cooperation between the capital’s leadership and the civil sphere. This document proposes the appointment of an independent "Ombudsman for Budapest", who would monitor the implementation of the proposals of the foreign-funded lobby organizations in question and could also take action in the event of non-compliance. The proposal also raises the possibility of using unused properties to create community spaces that "physically provide opportunities for joint reflection". It is interesting that Mayor Gergely Karácsony and Deputy Mayor Gábor Kerpel-Fronius seemed to be open to implementing the ideas for cooperation.
However, these proposals can be of concern in several aspects. On the one hand, there is a danger that these NGOs will in fact seek to promote the prevalence of an open society, as a concept of political nature, under the guise of professionalism and citizenship, the implementation of which has not been authorized by the electorate. The intention of politicking hidden behind a professional mask is also evidenced by the case of Northern Macedonia. In the Balkan country, before the 2016 elections, the social democratic allies of George Soros proposed to transfer control of the media authority to organizations linked to the speculator. The press regulatory body set up after the voting (in which the candidates nominated by the local left and formerly operating in Soros-NGOs were in the majority) began a politically motivated sanctioning of the conservative media.
On the other hand, it may be a problem that, if their proposals are met, the members of the Coalition of Civilization – according to the probable intentions of their foreign (possibly overseas) funders – would be able to more effectively achieve objectives far from national interests and Hungarian society. In addition, the institutionalization of these organizations in the sphere of political decision-making (through the Budapest Ombudsman and shared properties) would fundamentally question the principle of the necessary separation of politics and the civil sector. Regarding the latter, the climate change community meeting planned by the Mayor’s Office of Budapest is also of concern, which will be carried out in the future with the participation and coordination of the DemNet Foundation for the Development of Democratic Rights. In 2018, the foundation mentioned was supported by the Open Society Foundation with more than 11,000 dollars.
It is also important to mention that the expansion of the lobbyist organizations affiliated with the American billionaire seem to extend not only to local governments and bodies within the legislative and executive branches, but also the judiciary. In 2016, the Open Society Foundation spent 1.2 million dollars on reforming the U.S. criminal justice system in their preferred direction, and, that year, George Soros spent 3 million dollars on the campaign of 7 local district attorneys in six different U.S. states (Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Mexico, and Texas). Of course, within the framework of the latter donations, the businessman supported candidates who stood on the same platform and fought for similar criminal policy goals. In addition, law enforcement agencies could not avoid the machinations of the stock market speculator either: Soros spent 2.3 million dollars in Phoenix alone to move a local sheriff from office who had previously been elected for 6 terms.
In light of all this, it can be stated that there will be a huge amount at stake in the 2022 parliamentary voting. It can be assumed that in the event of a possible election victory of the left, led by Ferenc Gyurcsány, the organizations of George Soros would extend their maneuvers aimed at gaining political influence on the national level, which would entail the marginalization of national interests and the exposure of Hungary to attempts to exert pressure of foreign origin.
Recently, evidence has been mounting that non-governmental organizations (NGOs) covering a significant part of their activities from foreign sources intend to gain an ever increasing influence in the domestic political arena, overshadowing their former, purely human rights function. Similar entities in the United States are treated as foreign agent organizations, and their activity is closely monitored and subject to registration. Századvég Foundation is committed to national sovereignty, legal certainty and transparency. Therefore, in a monitoring system called NGO-radar, it continuously analyzes the operation of the relevant organizations in Hungary.