Open Letter To Ursula Von Der Leyen, President Of The European Comission
Your Excellency, Dear Mme President,
We are writing to you as the president and the executive vice president of Jobbik, one of Hungary's leading opposition parties. The past year has faced the world, Europe and Hungary with challenges hardly ever experienced before. The public health and economic impacts of the pandemic have made their mark on the lives of nearly all citizens.
Just like the majority of the Hungarian people, we also feel reassured in these hard times seeing that the European Union, despite all the difficulties and initial mistakes, is trying to give assistance to its member states to get through these months as seam-lessly as possible. That's why we were so glad to hear about the latest proposal to mobilise €530 million of the EU Solidarity Fund in order to support several Member States and accession countries, whereby Hungary would be allocated a sum of €39,723,926 as well. Indeed, we can use all the help we get now.
Regardless of how happy we are, we can't hide our deep concerns as to what happens to the funding allocated to Hungary because our country is currently ruled by a government that has abandoned one European democratic norm after the other over the past years while raising corruption to such a level that triggered a worried discussion in Europe. The concerns are highly justified by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's practices to stay in power, which, in addition to eliminating the independent media, curbing the freedom of speech, occupying the state institutions, manipulating the elections and intimidating citizens with different political views, primarily rely on hijacking EU funds and handing them out to a narrow circle of oligarchs and political favourites. That's why the Hungarian government consistently refuses to join the European Public Prosecutors Office (EPPO), since staying out of it has allowed them to avoid being held accountable — considering that Hungary's prosecution service has been under the government's direct influence for years.
The above negative processes have further intensified during the year of the pandemic. Fidesz has voted to grant unlimited powers to the government multiple times. This strong mandate was then used for adopting such measures as modifying the electoral law to hinder the opposition or amending the constitution in order to change the definition of public money so that they could whitewash corruption. In the meantime, hardly any assistance was given either to Hungary's small and medium enterprises on the brink of closing business or their employees, while the healthcare situation and the death rate have turned dramatic in the last few days, forecasting an increasingly impending public health disaster.
That is the reason why we, Jobbik's opposition politicians can no longer trust that Hungary's allocated sum of nearly €40 million will actually get to its designated recipients, i.e., the people of Hungary, instead of being pocketed by Viktor Orban's friends. We know that our concerns are more and more noted in the European Union. The increased attention is shown by such actions as the activation of the rule of law mechanism and Fidesz' expulsion from the European People's Party. We are glad that Europe has recognized the serious challenge posed by Viktor Orban's regime. Nevertheless, the people of Hungary still need to face a very long year until the next parliamentary elections. During this period, the Orban government will likely spare no effort to maximize the proceeds of its corruption machine and to plant hatred in people's minds against the European Union.
We Hungarians however, don't want to fall hostage to a corrupt government on its way out of the European Union in the middle of a grave pandemic situation. We Hungarians are still dedicated to European values and our country's European future. That is why we are asking the European Commission and the competent European institutions to help us so that their funds could be received by those who need them the most.
Let us ask Mme President to make sure that, instead of the Orban government, the nearly €40 million could be allocated directly to the Hungarian people who lost their livelihood due to the pandemic but received no assistance whatsoever from the Hungarian state. We believe that a direct and rapid relief would be truly vital for them.
We hope that you respond positively to our request since it benefits all of us if Europe truly becomes a community of solidarity that its citizens can count on.
We wish a lot of success for your work.
Péter Jakab - President, Jobbik Member of the Hungarian Parliament
Márton Gyöngyösi - Executive Vice President, Jobbik Member of the European Parliament