Radical right-winger Marine le Pen’s party may have received a loan amounting to more than EUR 10 million from a Hungarian bank for her electoral campaign, according to press reports. The head of the Prime Minister’s office sees nothing wrong with it, pointing to the European Union’s fundamental rights, such as the freedom of services. The opposition politicians, meanwhile, lambasted the government for “funding the European far-right” from Hungary.
According to French RTL, an unnamed Hungarian bank may have provided a EUR 10.6 million loan for Marine Le Pen, candidate of France’s radical right-wing National Rally (former far-right National Front), for her presidential campaign. The news site’s sources from the radical party refused to reveal the name of the bank; one of them only saying that there was a middleman who brokered the deal, but who isn’t a politician.
Earlier, several French outlets reported that Le Pen had approached several French and European banks, only to get stonewalled.
Previously, the French politician used a Russian loan for the 2017 campaign, leading to a sizeable scandal in France.
The good relations and cooperation between Viktor Orbán and Marine le Pen are well-known. In November, the French candidate paid a visit to Budapest, where she was welcomed amid quite illustrious circumstances. It was just some days ago that the two politicians met again at Madrid’s right-wing rally.
PMO Head: Freedom of services
In response to a question at his regular press briefing, the PMO head didn’t deny the information, although he said he “didn’t know” about the deal. Gergely Gulyás argued that he checked French law and found that the French state would reimburse campaigning costs for those who receive even just a fraction of what Le Pen would most certainly pocket during the elections, meaning that such a deal would be a good one for any bank in the European Union.
The politician also noted that the freedom to provide services is one of the fundamental rights of the EU.
Opposition: European far-right funded from Hungary
“The far-right alliance set to weaken the EU, serving Putin’s interests, is at work,” commented Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh about the deal, also recalling that previously it was a Russian loan that helped le Pen’s campaign.
“Are they now planning to fund Europe’s far-right through Hungary, besides Fidesz?”, asked Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi in responsen.
According to the most recent French polls (analyzed by Politico), incumbent Emmanuel Macron leads (24%), but le Pen is second (17%), while center-right Valérie Pécresse comes in third (16%). Another radical right-wing candidate, Éric Zemmour, who also recently visited Orbán in Budapest, stands at 13%.
Featured photo illustration by Zoltán Fischer/PM’s Press Office