Open letter to Manfred Weber, Leader of the EPP in the European Parliament

 Your Excellency,

A year ago, when you gave an interview praising Viktor Orbán in the weekly magazine Figyelő, which is owned by a Hungarian pro-government oligarch, would you have thought that you would once fall victim to a smear campaign, too? Did you suspect back then that the top three hits of a Hungarian Google search of your name on May 14, 2019 would be the articles of Hungarian pro-government portals on your alleged “chicaneries” to collect hundreds of thousands of Euros or your luxury lunches where you are plotting to flood Europe with migrants?

When you applauded Viktor Orbán in Figyelő back then, did you know what exactly was going on in Hungary? Were you informed that Viktor Orbán’s regime, which was protected by the European People’s Party for so long, was attempting to destroy the largest opposition party by imposing a huge multi-million Euro fine on it right in the middle of the election campaign? Did you know about the Hungarian government’s thefts, rampant corruption and arrogant use of power? Were you told about the authoritarian-leaning regime which undermines the freedom of the press, fires any dissenters daring to voice their opinions and puts its hand on successful business ventures? Did you notice the Hungarian government’s attempts to smear its opponents through defamation and fake news?

Your Excellency, I have bad news for you: if you knew about this but you thought you as a German person would not be affected by any of it, you were wrong. And if you didn’t know, then you will experience how it feels to be in the crosshairs of an authoritarian leader. If it does not cost you your political career, you will win. But if I were you, I wouldn’t bet on it.

The good news is that you, being a European politician, still have some means at your disposal to stop an authoritarian, one-party political system being fully established in the heart of Europe. To be able to do so however, you and your colleagues first need to give true priority to European values. We do understand that Viktor Orbán is highly obedient to the German industrial lobby, which offers the potential for great economic benefits. Despite the importance of the economy however, I am afraid that if Europe allows values to be overridden by economic interests, our continent is bound to face major difficulties. This is something you will soon find out for yourself, I’m afraid.

We already saw where Viktor Orbán was going with huge steps even when you were still defending him and finding excuses for him. Allow us to warn you again: Your Excellency, please don’t put your hopes in Viktor Orbán rejoining your ranks after May 26. He won’t. What you are now coming up against is another and ever dirtier anti-EU campaign, except this time you will be the target instead of Jean-Claude Juncker. Sending paparazzi to your house is just the first step, but believe me, it can get far worse. We have already experienced it, and if you keep offering escape routes to Fidesz the way you did in March with their suspension, you will experience it, too. You may expect to suffer personal attacks, to be stigmatized with your face being all over the billboards. They will reach you in your home in Germany, too.

The stakes are even higher for us, Hungarians, unfortunately. For us, the stakes are that Fidesz’ irresponsible policies may lead to sanctions against Hungary, which may result in our people’s interests being ignored if Hungary’s rights are suspended in the European Union on account of this government, and the borders of Europe may once again be closed for us if Orbán starts to prepare leading Hungary out of the Union. It is hardly any consolation that all this would be painful for the entire union and Europe as a whole, too. However, I don’t think it’s too late to prevent all that. It’s not too late to take a step, neither for you, nor for the European Union and Europe in general.

As Hungary’s largest democratic party, Jobbik believes in the European Union being able to become a more democratic and stronger community by adopting the necessary reforms. These reforms however, must be based on true values and they must guarantee to prevent any irresponsible regime from attacking its own citizens or you, Your Excellency. Instead of hatemongering campaigns, we want to implement such a programme after May 26, which I commend to your attention.

 

Yours faithfully,

Márton Gyöngyösi

Executive Vice-President of Jobbik