European Union in spat with Hungary over anti-Juncker campaign

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday Feb. 19 2019

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban left and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu attend a press conference after their meeting in Jerusalem Tuesday Feb. 19 2019

"There is no overlap at all between Mr. Orban and me.so I am of the opinion that his place is not in the European People's Party".

First Vice President Frans Timmermans, not shy about criticising conservative and national populist governments in Central Europe even before Juncker's intervention, has been first out of the gate with a major intervention, travelling to the Hungarian capital of Budapest to lobby against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, according to Euronews - a news outlet founded by a number of European state broadcasters, which receives tens of millions in EU funds every year and routinely describes the Orbán government as "far right". "It is shocking that such a ludicrous conspiracy theory has reached the mainstream to the extent it has".

"The Hungarian government campaign beggars belief", Commission spokesman Margaritis Schinas told a press briefing.

"You also have the right to know what Brussels is preparing for!" "There is no conspiracy, Hungarians deserve facts not fiction", he said. The facts, according to Schinas, are that the European Union has "zero plans" for humanitarian visas, while member states get to decide on the level of legal migration.

In recent years, Orban has blasted the Hungarian-born 88-year-old Jewish philanthropist and investor as a "public enemy" for allegedly backing uncontrolled mass immigration. "Member states decide to what level they want to accept legal migration", Schinas emphasized.

Kovacs said plans in "drawers in Brussels" included hikes in financial funding of NGOs and the creation of a special migration fund.

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At the same time, Orban's government has frequently been accused of using anti-Semitic tropes and imagery in its campaigns against Soros, claims it denies.

Under the initiative, Hungarian mothers with four or more children will be exempt from paying income tax.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, left, with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the King David Hotel in Jerusalem, February 19, 2019.

He has been the leader of Hungary since 2010, in which time he has railed against immigration into Europe from Africa and the Middle East and worked to create what he terms an "illiberal democracy" centred around nationalism and anti-immigration rhetoric.

On the other hand, Brussels has repeatedly clashed with Budapest over Hungary's immigration policy - or rather, its refusal to support the open-borders approach ushered in by German Chancellor Angela Merkel in 2015.

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