Israeli intelligence firm targeted NGOs during Hungary’s election campaign

The Israeli private intelligence firm Black Cube was involved in a campaign to discredit NGOs ahead of Hungary’s April election, according to a former Black Cube employee and a person with knowledge of the company’s inner workings. Between December 2017 and March 2018, Hungarian NGOs and individuals connected to American-Hungarian businessman George Soros were contacted by agents using false identities who secretly recorded them. The recordings, which began appearing in the Jerusalem Post and Hungarian government-controlled daily paper Magyar Idők three weeks before Hungary’s election, were used by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to attack independent civil society organizations during the last days of the campaign.

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Orbán zu Merkel: Ungarn möchte keine Asylsuchenden zurücknehmen

Viktor Orbán war deutlich bei seinem Besuch in Berlin. Ungarns Premier erklärte, sein Land werde keine Asylbewerber aufnehmen, die von Deutschland nach den Dublin-Regeln der EU zurückgeschickt werden. Ungarn fühle sich „gar nicht verantwortlich für die Bearbeitung der Asylanträge“, sondern stehe auf dem Standpunkt, dass dies „nichtregistrierte Flüchtlinge aus anderen Ländern, vor allem aus Griechenland, sind“, sagte Merkel.

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Orban: The Sargentini report is a Soros report

The Prime Minister issued a statement to reporters in Budapest following the vote. “They want to apply pressure to Hungary so that it changes its standpoint with relation to migration”, he declared. “But in view of the fact that Hungarian voters have already decided on this issue, there is nothing more to talk about”, he added. The Prime Minister called the so-called Sargentini report a Soros report, adding that Green Party rapporteur Judith Sargentini, who prepared the report, is one of George Soros’s people.

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MEPs vote to activate sanction process against Hungary

MEPs on the civil liberties, justice and home affairs committee voted to launch the EU’s disciplinary procedure against the country, a lengthy legal process that could lead to Hungary being stripped of EU voting rights.

Hungary is very unlikely to lose its voting rights, but the unprecedented vote on Monday is a symbolic move against Orbán, who was re-elected for a third term in April, after a campaign that international observers said had clearly favoured the ruling coalition and was characterised by intimidating and xenophobic rhetoric.

The vote is only a first step; a final decision to launch the procedure requires a two-thirds majority in the European parliament. If a majority of MEPs vote in September, ministers will be obliged to consider whether there is a serious and persistent breach of the EU’s basic democratic values in Hungary.