Soros accuses Orbán of building a ‘mafia state’

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wikimedia commons Niccolò Caranti

Hungarian-born financier and philanthropist George Soros accused Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of having built a “mafia state” on “deception” and “corruption”, according to an opinion piece he published on Project Syndicate. Orbán answered the criticism by saying that Soros himself has a “mafia-like network” of NGOs here.

The Hungarian government has regularly accused Soros of meddling in Hungaryʼs affairs in recent months. His opinion piece appears to be a reaction to the Hungarian government.

“Orbán has sought to frame his policies as a personal conflict with me, making me the target of his government’s unrelenting propaganda campaign. He casts himself as the defender of Hungarian sovereignty and me as a currency speculator who uses his money to flood Europe with illegal immigrants as part of some vague but nefarious plot,” Soros writes in the article.

Soros insists that he is a “proud founder” of the Central European Union (CEU), which he says is an institution that has been able to “defend its academic freedom from outside interference, whether by the Hungarian government or anyone else (including its founder).”

This presumably refers to the latest amendment to the higher education by the government, which CEU has argued is aimed at forcing the Soros-founded university to close, while the government insists it aims to elevate transparency in the sector.

He also writes that democracy “can’t be imposed from the outside; it needs to be achieved and defended by the people themselves”. He praised the “courage” of the thousands of Hungarians recently hitting the streets to demonstrate and march against the politics of the current Fidesz government. “I admire the courageous way Hungarians have resisted the deception and corruption of the mafia state Orbán has established, and I am encouraged by the European institutions’ energetic response to the challenges emanating from Poland and Hungary. While the path ahead is perilous, I can clearly see in such struggles the prospect of the EU’s revival,” he concludes.

Orbán says Soros has ‘mafia-like network’

During his regular bi-weekly interview this morning, Orbán said that Soros himself has a “mafia-like network” of NGOs, which the prime minister believes operate in an “non-transparent manner to achieve Sorosʼ goals”.

Orbán also said that Soros’ words can be considered as a “clear proclamation of war”, according to a report by Hungarian online news daily index.hu. Soros also gave a speech in Brussels yesterday, at a forum organized by the European Commission, using the exact same rhetoric as in the opinion piece.

Orbán said that Soros has a “paid agency network” in Hungary, comprising not civilians but “activists”, who work on trying to realize the political will of the financier, index.hu added. The Hungarian leader also said that the whole Hungarian left is a supporter of Soros.

Cabinet Chief János Lázár during his weekly press conference yesterday also rejected the comments of Soros, “in the name of all Hungarians”, according to Hungarian news agency MTI. Lázár said the government had responded to the European Commission over concerns about amendments to legislation that affect the Central European University (CEU), which was established by Soros. The questions the EC asked on the matter were political rather than legal, he added. The government will discuss developments related to the CEU next week, he added.

Tamás Deutsch, an MEP of governing Fidesz, used the exact same words as the prime minister, tagging Soros’s remarks as “declaration of war” on the democratically elected government of Hungary. Soros has long waged war against Hungary without such a declaration, but now his intentions have been made clear to everyone, Deutsch added, according to MTI.

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