Hungarian pro-government outlets and state television have continued the campaign with posters, featuring a grinning EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker alongside George Soros that has infuriated EU officials, Reuters reports.
The move, which hints at Juncker-Soros’ closeness accuses them of promoting illegal immigration by imposing compulsory refugee quotas and disregarding EU member states’ right to border security, as well allegedly planning easier visa process or payments to immigrants.
Hungary’s right-wing government earlier announced that it would stop and proceed with a new effort against Juncker’s deputy, First Vice-President Frans Timmermans.
The party’s spokesman insisted that the campaign, designed to make Hungarians aware of what “pro-migration plans are under preparation by the Brussels bureaucracy” will finish on March the 15th.
Back in February, the posters sparked a backlash in Brussels and many conservative parties across the EU. Juncker, who is a member of the same conservative bloc in the EU Parliament — the centre-right European People's Party (EPP), including Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz, accused the campaign of spreading “lies” and called on the EPP to force the Hungarian party out despite the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. Earlier, the Fidesz Party said in a press release that it does not want to leave the EPP. Instead, it plans to strengthen the anti-immigration forces in it.
The EPP group leader, MEP Manfred Weber, told the Bild newspaper that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban must stop his anti-EU rhetoric if he wants his Fidesz Party to remain in the bloc, which currently holds 217 seats in the European Parliament. The politician also demanded an apology to his party’s members for this public offensive. However, Reuters reported that the recent crunch had talks failed to resolve the clash.
This falls in line with Viktor Orban’s earlier statements from January 2018 that Hungary wanted to gain an anti-immigration majority in EU institutions, including the European Parliament and the European Commission.
The Hungarian government, as well as some other European countries, vehemently oppose EU plans to redistribute migrants across the bloc. A staunch opponent of illegal immigration and migrant quotas in the EU, Orban has repeatedly stood up against Soros and his NGOs’, Open Society Foundations’, programmes endorsing mass immigration, which he says are meant to weaken the largely Christian European nations.
To resolve the issue, the country’s parliament last year passed a so-called “Stop Soros” bill, criminalising aid to illegal migrants and making it harder for refugees to seek asylum in Hungary. In a parallel move, in the summer of 2018, Soros’ initially Budapest-based foundation’s network announced the relocation of its Hungarian office to Berlin.