Three months before the European elections, Hungary launched a campaign against alleged secret EU plans. The orban government relies on conspiracy theories, the central enemy is billionaire Soros.
Patrick Gensing, Tagesschau.de
By Patrick Gensing, ARD fact finder
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has put most of the media on a government course and hardly needs to fear internal opponents. Part of his government policy is to draw clear images of the enemy and also to spread false reports and rumors. A name almost never fails: billionaire George Soros is considered in Hungary and in the right wing of Europe as a kind of Antichrist.
Soros is one of the richest people in the world. The US investor of Hungarian origin is extremely rich and influential: in recent decades, he has donated large portions of his private assets to organizations and individuals committed to promoting freedom and democracy. Soros was strongly influenced by Karl Popper.
It is no coincidence that his "Open Society Foundation" refers to one of the most important works of the philosopher, in terms of content and content: "Open Society". The "Open Society Foundations" are active in various countries, funding NGOs and, according to their own account, they want to promote a vibrant civil society. In Germany, the foundation claims to have a budget of one million euros and has supported 45 organizations.
Wrong citations and accusations
Hardly anyone can find as many affirmations and rumors about Soros – all over the world. If you follow the contributions in the appropriate videos, blog contributions and comments, it must be assumed, Soros is omnipotent and omnipotent. It is said to have planned and financed various revolutions, to direct the governments of many states and to have drafted a new world order ("New World Order") and to implement it – with the help of corrupt politicians.
US rights spread numerous false quotations, claiming that Soros earned his money not with financial speculation but with drugs. At the beginning of February, the "BeforeItsNews" website stated that Soros had been arrested in Switzerland for satanic rites with children. As a matter of fact, Snopes has already denied numerous false reports on Soros.
Orban at the head of Soros' opponents
The attacks on Soros come from different parts: from post-communist and authoritarian in Russia, from ultra-conservatives in the United States and from European supporters of an illiberal democracy. In Germany, the name Soros appears in the speeches of AfD politicians and in many right-wing blogs that whisper a secret "change" or "population exchange" plan.
On top of Soros' opponents is Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. In the 2018 campaign, he described opponents as "Mercenary Soros". Meanwhile, a University funded by a Soros Foundation had to leave Hungary. In July 2018, Orban spoke of a "Soros network" that stands for immigration:
In Europe there is currently a change of population. Partly because speculators, like Soros himself, can make a lot of money. They want to destroy Europe because they are hoping for big profits from it. On the other hand, they also have ideological reasons. They believe in a multicultural Europe, they do not like Christian Europe, they do not like the Christian traditions of Europe and they do not like Christians.
"Secret plans for the post-election period"
In his traditional New Year speech, Orban said that the Hungarian opposition was "a collection of pro-immigration politicians" attached to the "respirator" of Soros and "bureaucrats of the European Union". In addition, the prime minister said that in Brussels there is already a work plan ready to "make a continent for immigration after the European elections from all over Europe".
There is no evidence for this. Even with the rumors about the UN migration pact the name Soros appeared again and again, which supposedly wanted to implement a secret plan. Such conspiracy theories are fueled by many fake little ads. For example, in the highest political circles in Hungary, the assumed refutation is that Soros is funding credit cards for refugees in the Balkans. Correspondent ARD Srdjan Govedarica He says that such theories are almost a public motivation in Hungary.
Poster on the streets
Now, the Orban government has presented its latest campaign, which is directly related to such conspiratorial legends. Hungary accuses the President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker and Soros of promoting illegal immigration. According to Budapest, the campaign funded by taxpayers will also feature large format posters with images of Soros and Juncker – with the words: "You too have the right to know what Brussels is preparing."
The EU reacted with harsh criticism. The EU Commission spokeswoman, Margaritis Schinas, criticized the campaign as a "fake report" and called it "incredible". "It is shocking that such a ridiculous conspiracy theory has been affirmed to this point".
"Final Battle for Europe"
Hungary has said that the campaign has nothing to do with the upcoming European elections. However, only last week Orban defined the next vote as a "final battle" for Europe. Regarding the EU, he said that "the new international stronghold is Brussels and its means are immigration".
The head of the European Social Democrats, Frans Timmermans, has accused Orban of leading the "list of pro-immigration parties" and of being the candidate of Soros.