George Soros, the billionaire investor, has denounced a campaign waged against him by the Hungarian government, accusing Viktor Orban, the prime minister, of casting him as an “external enemy” in a bid to mislead voters and cling to power.
Mr Soros, who has allocated billions of dollars to his pro-democracy and human rights foundations, told the Financial Times he had resisted responding publicly to the attacks from Mr Orban but it was time to speak out. He said he now fears for the safety of civil society groups that his foundation supports after Mr Orban said he would press the country’s spy agencies into monitoring their activities.
Continue reading George Soros attacks ‘hate-mongering’ of Viktor Orban’s Hungary
Doubts grow on how bloc of 65 million can function at critical time in EU history.
Central Europe’s unity is cracking.
The common purpose the region rediscovered during the refugee crisis has frayed in recent months amid differences over matters large and small, concerning everything from regulatory fine print to the future of Europe.
Continue reading Visegrad 4 cools on Europe, and each other
Lorinc Meszaros is no ordinary mayor. He runs a village in Hungary. He also owns publishers, hotels, a nuclear engineering firm and a bank. His shopping list is believed to be written by Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
Documents uncovered this week suggest that the Orbán government’s motivation for handing back to Azerbaijan Ramil Safarov, the Azeri axe murder convicted of killing an Armenian army lieutenant in Hungary, may have been financial gain. In 2012, Hungary earned global scorn for transferring the murderer to a country where he was welcomed as a hero.
At the time, Hungary tried to explain away its actions by claiming that it fully expected the murderer to continue serving his prison sentence, considering that he had been sentenced to life by a Hungarian court. Of course, this did not happen–Ramil Safarov was not only pardoned, but was also promoted to the rank of major in Azerbaijan’s military immediately after his release from Hungary. The government of Viktor Orbán claimed in 2012 that it had been misled and expressed “disappointment.”
Continue reading Hungary appears to have sold Azeri axe murderer for $7 million
George Soros has accused the Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán of building a “mafia state”, as he warned the fate of the Central European University he founded still hangs in the balance.
Continue reading George Soros Higher education Europe European Union Italy news
BUDAPEST, Hungary — Several hundred people rallied Saturday outside an office of Hungary’s governing Fidesz party after a journalist said she was assaulted at a party meeting by a government official.
Julia Halasz, a reporter with the 444.hu news site, said a meeting organizer took away her cellphone and dragged her down several flights of steps and out of a school by the arm while she was covering a Fidesz public forum.
Economy Minister Mihaly Varga and Defense Minister Istvan Simicsko spoke at Thursday’s forum promoting the government’s “Let’s Stop Brussels” campaign, which claims the European Union wants Hungary to raise taxes and energy prices and take in large numbers of migrants.
Halasz said Laszlo Szabo, who is also in charge of the government office arranging celebrations and remembrances, accused her of making a video during the forum, which she denied, and erased several photographs she took with her mobile phone.
Halasz reported the alleged assault to police, while Fidesz said it would file its own report, claiming libel.
Fidesz denied her claims, saying she failed to follow press rules at the meeting, disrupted the forum and argued loudly with audience members.
“It’s very frightening that they attack me just because I work for a medium which the government can’t influence,” Halasz told The Associated Press. “I have witnesses who can corroborate that none of their accusations are true.”
Participants at Saturday’s rally in Budapest shouted slogans in support of press freedom.
Since Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s return to power in 2010, his allies have greatly increased their ownership of newspapers, broadcasters and online media, turning the outlets into unquestioning supporters of the government. Hungary’s state media is also under strict political control.
The government has “clearly turned public service media into a tool of government propaganda,” media analyst Agnes Urban said at the rally.
Michael Ignatieff is not a person you would expect to find at the centre of a global political power play featuring names such as Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin.
He was the rangy intellectual presenter on late night TV arts shows of the early 1990s in the UK, who looked like he might moonlight in an experimental jazz band.
Continue reading How a university became a battle for Europe’s identity