Fact Check: European Commission Did NOT Question Hungary's Right To Hold 'National Consultation'


  • szerzõ: Lead Stories
Fact Check: European Commission Did NOT Question Hungary's Right To Hold 'National Consultation' Didn't Dispute

Did the European Commission question Hungary's right to hold its latest National Consultation, a direct-mail campaign in which the government criticizes European Union policy, calling it a "fraud"? No, that's not true: The Commission's only public comment on the National Consultation affirmed Hungary's right to conduct the exercise and never labeled it a "fraud."

The claim appeared in a video (archived here) on TikTok on November 22, 2023, under the title (translated from Hungarian to English by Lead Stories) "Nationwide tour: Hungary's sovereignty is at stake! We must not let Brussels and the Soros empire crush our freedom under their weight." The video appeared on an account that belongs to Fidesz, Hungary's governing party. Senior Fidesz member Gábor Kubatov said (as translated):

The European Commission questioned our right to hold the Consultation. They said it's a fraud. But they, I believe, are confused about the foundations of democracy -- that a country can make decisions for the people by asking the people.

Hungary launched its National Consultation on the Protection of Sovereignty on November 17, 2023. It asks Hungarians to fill out a direct-mail, multiple-choice questionnaire that accuses the EU of pushing policies that harm Hungarian national interests. Kubatov and other Fidesz officials have embarked on a countrywide speaking tour in which they advise citizens how to answer the questions. A billboard campaign promoting the Consultation also depicts philanthropist Alexander Soros as pressuring European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to implement anti-sovereignty policies.

This is what the post looked like on TikTok at the time of writing:


(Source: TikTok screenshot taken on Fri Dec 1 13:53:25 2023 UTC)

The only time the Commission has publicly commented on the National Consultation was at a press conference held by chief spokesman Eric Mamer on November 20, 2023. In a YouTube video of the briefing, Mamer affirms Hungary's right to hold the Consultation at the 2:55 mark:

National consultations are a matter for national authorities. All I can say is that, of course, we invite all Hungarian citizens who want to inform themselves about EU policies to consult all of our excellent information sources in order to be able to form their own opinion.

When a journalist asks Mamer to comment on Consultation questions, claiming that the EU is trying to create "migrant ghettos" in Hungary and that it finances Hamas militants, he responds at the 4:00 mark:

You know as well as I know that these statements are completely untrue. We can give you our positions on all of the policies that are mentioned, but we're not going to get into a debate about statements which are put in a consultation. That's for the Hungarian authorities.

Mamer never labels the Consultation a "fraud."

A Google search for the Hungarian keywords "Európai Bizottság" ("European Commission") and "Nemzeti Konzultáció" ("National Consultation") conducted on December 4, 2023 (archived here) did not turn up any other instances of European Commission officials opining on the Consultation.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is at loggerheads with the Commission over its decision to suspend some 22 billion euros ($23.9 billion) in funding until he allays its concerns about official corruption, judicial independence and other perceived shortcomings. He also accuses Soros and his father, Hungarian-born billionaire George Soros, of using their financial clout to force Europe to take in migrants from the Middle East and Africa.

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