Viviane Reding is the target in the Hungarian “war of independence”

It is truly amazing how fast “scandals” can break out in Hungary especially if, as I suspect, there is a concerted effort on the part of the government to create them. Here I was without a computer for two days and almost missed “the greatest scandal of the European Union.” Or at least this is what Fidesz MEP László Surján claims. He was talking about accusations originating in Hungarian circles about Viviane Reding, European Commissioner  for Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship. She is accused of trying to cast a shadow on the outcome of next year’s national election. Of course, the assumption is that Fidesz will again win the election, but the “enemies of Hungary” led by Viviane Reding herself will question the validity of this outcome.

What happened? On the morning of June 18 Magyar Nemzet came out with a news item that began an avalanche of articles, to be precise fifteen in number, within two and a half days. According to the article, the paper received information from Brussels that Reding along with José Manuel Barroso had attended the Bilderberg Conference held in England between June 6 and 9. The Bilderberg Group which organizes these conferences was created with a view to building bridges between the United States and the European Union. It is often the target of far-right groups in the U.S. as well as in Europe.

At the conference allegedly fifteen minutes were devoted to the case of Hungary during which Reding informed her audience of her efforts on behalf of the Hungarian opposition to cast a shadow on the purity of the forthcoming Hungarian elections. These opposition forces are allegedly being financed by the United States. In no time it also became clear that Gordon Bajnai and Ferenc Gyurcsány are involved in this plot as well. At this point Magyar Nemzet didn’t reveal the origin of its story but later we found out that the source was an unnamed Italian “official.”

By the afternoon the Fidesz script was already written. It was most likely also decided that it will be the Christian Democrats who will lead the charge against Reding. I guess the Fidesz strategists remain convinced that those “ignorant bureaucrats” in Brussels don’t realize that Fidesz and KDNP are one and the same. Occasionally there is a division of labor depending on the issue. In any case, a few hours after the first article appeared on June 18 the Christian Democrats already had a communiqué ready. They will sue Reding and everybody else involved. By the next day they demanded her resignation. A Christian Democrat MEP, László Surján, officially approached the appropriate committee to investigate her case. He also called for her resignation.

Meanwhile back home Zsolt Semjén, chairman of the party and deputy prime minister; Péter Harrach, whip of the Christian Democratic caucus; and the spokesman of the party, István Pálffy, did the talking. They were everywhere, but HírTV, the pro-government television station owned by the same group that is in charge of Magyar Nemzet, was especially full of interviews. By the time the Christian Democrats began talking in the electronic media there was no doubt in their minds that Reding is guilty of the charge. She really did reveal that she was conspiring with the Hungarian opposition against the rightful government of the country.  Harrach was especially adamant. Perhaps they will not be able to prove it, but they are convinced that the report coming from Brussels is “true.” Reding should not only be removed but should disappear altogether from the political life of her country and the Union. Pálffy even went so far as to talk about possible withdrawal from the Union if the present structure of the EU is changed in 2020.

Goddess Diana hunting / Wikipedia

Goddess Diana hunting / Wikipedia

On what basis does the Hungarian government hiding behind the nonexistent Christian Democratic party accuse Viviane Reding of criminal behavior? The man who first reported that Reding would attend the Bilderberg Conference was István Lovas, Magyar Nemzet‘s correspondent in Brussels. The readers of Hungarian Spectrum are most likely unfamiliar with his name because lately he hasn’t been in the limelight unlike during the 1998-2002 period when he had a rather unsavory reputation. At that time he was in charge of creating a right-wing pro-Fidesz corps of journalists. His students were told to keep lists of “unreliable” foreign journalists who were critical of the first Orbán government. Altogether he has a murky past. As a young man in Hungary he was accused of rape. Later he illegally left Hungary and worked for Radio Free Europe in Munich for a while, but apparently he couldn’t get along with anyone. He also spent some time in California where he left behind a wife and child whom he refused to support.

In any case, Lovas claims that sometime in April a mysterious Italian official approached him with the news that Reding would be attending the Bilderberg Conference. Lovas approached Reding’s spokeswoman who told him that this was the first time she had heard about such a trip. So he dropped the story, but the journalists at Magyar Nemzet didn’t. They madly tried to learn something about the Bilderberg Group and were happy to discover that an economist known for her far-right views was the first in Hungary to call attention to this evil secret organization. Then they approached the liberal Paul Lendvai who attended three of these conferences between 1968 and 1993. Lendvai assured them that there was nothing sinister about these meetings between politicians and influential European and American businessmen. I’m certain that the Magyar Nemzet journalists opted to believe the right-leaning economist and not Paul Lendvai, whom they consider “an enemy of the country.” Obviously the Bilderberg Group and Reding interested them greatly, and they published a number of articles about the Bilderberg conferences.

Then came June 5 when Lovas’s mysterious informer, the Italian official,  told him that the conference would have a 15-minute discussion on Hungary. The conference ended on June 10, and I assume that further details about this 15-minute discussion must have reached Lovas soon thereafter. So why the long wait to break the story? My guess is that Magyar Nemzet withheld it until Fidesz-KDNP could create its own version.

What most likely helped their work was that during the weekend both Gordon Bajnai and Ferenc Gyurcsány talked about the growing fear that is gripping the country and about stories circulating of hidden cameras above the voting booths. With that the connection between Reding and the opposition could easily be established.

Reding categorically denied the story and the European Commission announced that it has no intention of investigating Reding’s alleged criminal activity.

By the way, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Hungary actually came up in the discussion. After all, the Hungarian government’s behavior in the European Union has been causing considerable headache for the EU leadership and parliament lately. Reding may even have described the general atmosphere in Hungary and the fear of political retribution spreading in the country. However, the rest of the story is simply unbelievable. Reding is a seasoned politician who has been in political life since 1979; she wouldn’t share such a bizarre story even if it were true. As I said, she may have talked about the fear of possible electoral fraud and/or fear of the almighty and very aggressive Fidesz. But the rest of the story was concocted somewhere in the witches’ kitchen of Fidesz-KDNP’s strategists.

But this is a dangerous game. Both Barroso and Reding are members of the European People’s party. What do the Hungarian Christians want to achieve with this frontal attack on a fellow Christian Democrat? I can’t imagine that this attack could possibly help the Hungarian cause. But perhaps their minds work differently from mine.

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60 comments

  1. This would make me laugh if Fidesz weren’t probably getting away with it.

    Sorry, they claim to have actual reports of proceedings of the Bilderberg conference? Ha ha. Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha…

    I’m no fan of the idea of powerful people gathering in secret meetings (I think your comment that it’s right-wing groups who don’t like Bilderberg is misleading: many leftwingers dislike it as well), but one thing everyone who’s tried to look into it knows is: it’s a private meeting. Extremely private. Unminuted. The one conference, perhaps on Earth, that does not leak. I imagine anyone found responsible for divulging what was discussed there would swiftly have their invitation rescinded, at least.

    The idea that some Fidesz hack has succeeded in finding out what happened in the latest meeting in Watford, where dozens of people have tried and failed, is simply laughable.

    It’s obvious what Fidesz are doing here: it’s precisely the impenetrability of the Bilderberg Group that makes it such an ideal blank backcloth, onto which Fidesz can project whatever latest outrages they want Hungarians to imagine the külföldi ördögök are plotting against them.

    The problem with the International Jewish Conspiracy and the International Liberal Anti-Hungarian Conspiracy, as agents of this bullying of Hungary, is that…. they don’t actually exist. The Bilderberg Group is a much better candidate. It clearly does exist, and none of its members will ever comment on its proceedings. And its silence just goes to show (of course!) that actually it IS plotting against Hungary.

    Can someone enlighten me with the Hungarian equivalent of “tinfoil hat”?

  2. I would like to ask “leaveyourco” to abandon the topic of French colonialism. As I told before I see no connection between the European Union’s insistence that Hungary follow the values of the European Union and doesn’t trample on democracy.

    So, I’m asking the last time to move on to some other, more relevant topic. When I say “the last time” I really mean it.

  3. leaveyourcommenthere :
    So, if there are plantations, a democracy has the right to colonize Africa… Not bad.

    This is known as whataboutery, you’re just switching horses because you don’t want to admit you were plain wrong in the first place. Nobody, me included, spoke about any ‘right’ to colonize. Colonization was a population-and landgrab achieved and enforced by military action. By the way, didn’t the Hungarian voters freely express their will to join the EU? Didn’t their elected personnel publicly discuss and sign all the relevant treaties? Isn’t the job of the Commission to ensure that the Hungarian State keeps its word?

    Then again, about Ms Reding and the Roma in France: you still don’t get it. The Commissioner’s job is to ensure the treaties are respected.That’s what she did, and it worked. A police directive and laws were amended.

    Were the changes sufficient to dramatically shift the French Government’s policy? No, because 1) Member States do have the right to expell illegal aliens… with due process – 2) France is under no obligation to join EU-wide skills transfers networks such as EURoma, which would IMHO improve the use of the widely un-spent social cohesion funds in Romania and Bulgaria.

    Should the present legal frame, both at European and French level, change? I think so, but it’s not the Commission’s call. There’s a European Parliament and an Assemblée Nationale for that. Write to your representatives, support NGOs : goddamit, we live in democracies, do your part instead of hoping for saviors!

  4. London Calling!

    Yes England wants Hungary.

    (What England wants, England gets.)

    Hungary’s just water – lots of it – and believe me, I know!

    Forget sand.

    We need the water – and Audi TT’s.

    Regards

    Charlie

  5. @sebt
    “Can someone enlighten me with the Hungarian equivalent of “tinfoil hat”?”

    ‘FIDESZ’ party membership card..?

  6. About the only good thing about this “scandal” is that Fidesz by being aggressive against people like Reding is ruining its position in the conservative EPP – the only allies in the EU they have (had …).

    But maybe they really want out and join the ranks of UKIP etc and are thinking of leaving the EU like Jobbik.

    On the other hand I can’t really believe that they want to get rid of the EU subsidies and the other perks that EU -membership brings, so the question remains:

    What does Fidesz really want in/from the EU ? They don’t want to accept its rules, but …

  7. I just read that there was no “Italian “official”” present on the meeting Magyar Nemzet claimed received the information regarding the conspiracy against Hungary Ms Reding is planning. It starts to sound more and more like a conspiracy Fidesz have been planning for a while now to discredit everything and everyone who stands up for Hungary and for Hungarian values.

    “Beside Reading only Jose Manuel Barroso, the Portugese President of the EC was on the list of invited, beside Mario Monto ex-president amongst the invited Italians were some businessman, and journalist, no union officials.”

    http://www.168ora.hu/velemeny/hogy-mi-van-115657.html

  8. This Lovas guy is really something special – in his blog entry in the Independent he writes:

    “I am also sick of hearing that Hungarians are anti-Semitic, xenophobic, anti-gypsy, and the rest of the dictionary of negative adjectives.”

    Just compare this with what some people write on politics,hu – so Mr Lovas is sick of hearing the TRUTH about Hungary, or rather a large number of Hungarians!

    The threat of leaving the EU at the end is really funny in a way – does he think the other countries would really care ? Some might be happy that there’s more money, more tourist business for them and less Hungarian competition.

    The only people who would be really sorry are those Hungarians working in the EU (How many are there, half a million or even more ?) and those drivers and truck companies who would have to find another transit route from East to West …

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