If the government of a Member State does what Brussels wants, no investigation will be launched against the given country even if there is a lot of corruption and EU funds are stolen. By contrast, if a Member State goes against the will of Brussels, it can expect continual attacks, this could be the sum total of what Dalibor Rohac, a research associate of an American research institute said in a video interview which was sent to the editorial office of the Hungarian daily newspaper Magyar Nemzet from an unknown e-mail address as part of a bulky folder of documents revealing double standards in Brussels. The researcher revealed the unfounded discrimination and attacks levelled against Hungary on the basis of the perception of corruption and Russian relations, and stated at the same time that there would be a massive breath of relief if Orbán were voted out and the Left came back to power in Hungary again.
Brussels and the international media acting in collusion with it apply double standards not only in political, but equally in economic issues, an earlier video interview with Dalibor Rohac reveals. The researcher studied processes in Eastern and Central Europe and the EU as a resident scholar of the American Enterprise Institute.
At one point in the interview, the person conducting the interview whose identity we were unable to determine asked the researcher: if Hungary were led as prime minister by someone other than Viktor Orbán who adopted the same measures as the incumbent prime minister, what could they expect from the European press and politics?
“Media elites and European institutions tend to grant actors they regard as their own people the presumption of innocence, for instance, even in situations when the same is denied to Orbán,” Mr Rohac said beginning his answer, and then mentioned former Slovak Prime Minister Robert Fico as an example.
“The government led by Fico which was nominally social democrat was rather corrupt, but Fico was regarded as one of their own given that he belonged to the group of European socialists,” the researcher said, adding that Fico was never required to encounter the same degree of pushback from Brussels as Viktor Orbán.
“I think […] if Orbán were voted out, and the Hungarian socialists came back, I think there would be a massive breath of relief in Brussels,” Mr Rohac said, explaining why he thinks so.
“I don’t think we should forget that the socialists got defeated in 2010 precisely off the back of all sorts of corruption scandals, and the Hungarian problem didn’t start with Orbán, the country was polarised for a long time,” he recalled. Mr Rohac evidently said this in reference to the fact that while Brussels keeps attacking and punishing the incumbent Hungarian government due to corruption, the EU Commission has no interest at all in the presumed or actual extent of abuses.
Rohac then put this into Brussels’ perspective.
“I don’t think the Hungarian socialists are trying to present themselves as avid opponents of European migration,” the researcher said, adding that in his view the Hungarian Left would be less willing to engage in debates relating to the situation of Europe as a whole such as about migration, multiculturalism or liberalism. With this, in turn, Mr Rohac said, they could buy themselves far more scope for manoeuvre in Brussels as did Bulgaria and Romania.
At this point, the researcher revealed double standards in Brussels. He said “…Bulgaria and Romania might be flawed, and in some places corrupt and dysfunctional […], but from especially the perspective of the European institutions, they’re sort of manageable in the sense that they will not rise up [against] European initiatives. …just send enough structural funds their way, and even if some of it gets stolen or misused, these countries will basically do what you want them to do.”
Rohac’s interviewer did rise to this shocking statement, and asked “You’re saying that while countries that meet the EU’s expectations should not expect negative treatment, Hungarian or Polish leaders who aim for more independence should?”
“Yes, that, too, is an aspect of the functioning of realpolitik,” the researcher replied, finally adding that while it would be desirable for Brussels to hold every Member State accountable for the same norms, the examples of Hungary and Poland show that in actual fact this is not the case at all.
In another part of the interview, Mr Rohac highlighted that it does not matter whether it is about ideological or economic issues, Brussels, in collusion with the international press and NGOs, regularly applies double standards. A prime example is the relationship with Russia.
“At present, Bulgaria maintains the closest relations with Russia, and we know that a number of countries, including the Czech Republic and Austria also cooperate with the Russians. Yet, the media mostly only criticises Hungary,” the researcher said in the video interview, adding that “Germany, too, has its history as regards Russia. It’s enough to think of Nord Stream 2, and that a former chancellor is on the board of a Russian state-owned company.” With this remark, Mr Rohac referred to former Chancellor Gerhard Schröder who upon the expiry of his term in office was appointed as director of the majority Russian-owned company which controls the construction of the Nord Stream pipeline conveying Russian gas directly to Germany. According to the latest news, Mr Schröder could even expect a senior office in the state-owned Russian energy giant Gazprom.
But let us return to the interview. The researcher then said, calling a spade a spade: “We can say that double standards are applied when it comes to reporting on these issues”.
He then said in continuation, “While the fact that the Hungarian government makes gestures and concessions to the Russians can be criticised, other governments do the same, including the Italians or the Germans, and these countries should be criticised the same way.” He finally took the view that “Hungary may slightly rise above the field mentioned, but that he is entirely in Putin’s pocket, that is not the case at all.”
Dalibor Rohac’s opinion is wholly in accord with that of a former director of the Soros Foundations. Andrej Nosko said in another video interview released in Magyar Nemzet that if the Hungarian prime minister were a socialist, he would be afforded different treatment both by the media and the European Union.
Mr Nosko, too, mentioned as an example of the often irritatingly evident double standards the perception of Slovakia and Romania in the West. However, the former leader of the Soros Foundations also highlighted that reports published in the foreign media about Hungary and Poland are distorted, biased and superficial. In his view, this is why it is possible to criticise the two countries in the international media without actual arguments.
The other day, our newspaper published extracts from another Skype interview which is also part of the lengthy folder of documents that was sent to our editorial office by e-mail. In these recordings a former contributor of the news portals 24.hu and Index, Mátyás Kálmán said various NGOs manipulate or even bribe journalists covering Hungary who often report about events taking in place in Hungary in a distorted light.
In Mr Kálmán’s opinion, it is unhealthy that members of the press are dependent on NGOs to such an extent, and he took the view that under the circumstances it is difficult to provide transparent reporting. He mentioned Amnesty International, a human rights organisation sponsored by George Soros as one of the NGOs that seek to control journalists.
Photo: Illustration (Photo: 123rf)