European Union in spat with Hungary over anti-Juncker campaign

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday Feb. 19 2019

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday Feb. 19 2019

The European Commission on Tuesday rebuked a media campaign by the Hungarian government aimed at European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and USA businessman George Soros, accusing Brussels of pushing migration plans threatening Hungary.

Orban's latest campaign, announced in a Facebook post on Monday, depicts smiling images of Soros and Juncker with the text "You also have the right to know what Brussels prepares for!" overlaid in red and white block capitals. They want to weaken member states' right to border protection. "They would ease immigration with migrant visas", the poster claims.

The EU rejected the assertions outright. "There is no conspiracy, Hungarians deserve facts, not fiction", spokesman Margaritis Schinas told reporters in Brussels on Tuesday. "It is shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has". Brussels indignantly dismissed the campaign as a conspiracy theory and fake news. The Hungarian government's campaign beggars belief. Open Society Foundations, a charity founded by Soros, made the decision to close its office in Budapest in 2018 after repeated attacks from Orban, including claims that the charity had encouraged migration to Europe.

"When Mr. Orban for example says. that migrants are responsible for Brexit, it's fake news".

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Meanwhile, Soros has openly advocated immigration as the solution to Europe's dwindling birthrates, and berated Hungary and other "populist" members for endangering the survival of the EU, comparing it to the Soviet Union circa 1991.

However, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs denied that the latest campaign is related to the upcoming election, saying it was aimed exclusively at informing Hungarians.

Calls have been growing for Orban's nationalist Fidesz party to be expelled from the EPP, which groups Christian Democratic and center-right parties in the European Parliament, because of Fidesz's stridently anti-immigration campaigns.

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