The tip of the anti-Hungarian-government spear in Brussels: Commissioner Vera Jourová (R) and Anna Donáth MEP (L)
Shortly after EU Commissioner for Values and Transparency Vera Jourová’s announcement, according to which the European Commission plans to pay closer attention to alleged human rights violations in its annual rule-of-law report, the far-left Hungarian student party, Momentum’s MEP, Anna Donáth, went on the offensive against her own country’s elected government during the European Parliament’s plenary session on Thursday.
Although Jourová is known for her relentless attacks against the Hungarian government, in this instance the EU Commissioner’s speech did not refer to Hungary specifically, although her reference to the use of Pegasus spyware may have given some indication as to who is going to be targeted in her next report. The Hungarian MEP, Anna Donáth had remedied this situation though by joining the debate, complaining that “the Hungarian government is not only ignoring country-specific recommendations, but continues to use EU money to deconstruct Hungarian democracy.”
The liberal MEP continued by saying that it would be a tragedy if Hungary were to be taken out of the EU, not only for the Hungarian people but for the whole of Europe. According to Anna Donáth, “once the Hungarian government is out of the EU, EU funds should be given directly to those who need them most, to those who are supposed to receive them: local governments, businesses and NGOs, because this is the only way to ensure that these funds are not stolen”. The opposition parties often accuse the government of Viktor Orbán of trying to take the country out of the EU, although the EU itself does not have the legal means to take such a decision, and the Orbán government has never given indication of such intentions, despite some disputes with the EU leadership.
No sooner did the Momentum MEP finish her speech, the European Parliament had voted to lift her immunity in connection with a defamation lawsuit. This has been scheduled at the request of a court in Kecskemét, a town south of the capital, Budapest. Although Donáth claims that she had voluntarily relinquished it, MEPs have voted to strip her of immunity by a majority vote.
The libel case reportedly involves Momentum’s own former councilor in Kecskemét, István Vancsura, who has been suspended by his own party. According to the pro-opposition media, the jilted politician has since been involved in a campaign against his former political movement, and is refusing to go down quietly, stirring numerous disputes locally.
To make things more frustrating for the far-left youth movement, a demonstration a day earlier in front of the Prime Minister’s office in Buda Castle, planned to coincide with the government’s early morning cabinet meeting, has failed as the handful of participants have reportedly “overslept”. According to the news portal Origo, the Momentum activists have turned up too late, and in lack of a better plan, proceeded to dismantle a row of steel barriers nearby, left behind by construction workers.
Their followers have praised the action as “brave” in social media posts, but for those wondering about the political symbolism of removing construction barriers meant to protect pedestrians, one of their online supporters have explained by saying that “Orbán’s cordon-busting was not a big deal because of its technical accomplishment, but because it was original, it sent a charismatic message, and it was done in a dying but still existing democracy. To replicate it in a system that has since been established is boring, clumsy, and weightless. The opposition has still failed to understand the workings and logic of the system, and so they cannot find a counter to it.”
According to the latest poll, the radical student party would gain 7 percent of votes if elections were to be held today.
Poll by IDEA, Graphic: Hungary Today
Featured Photo: Facebook Anna Donáth