Orban uses ‘Qatargate’ to delegitimize EU criticism of Hungary

  The “Qatargate”, the corruption case that has shaken the European Parliament, has been a gift for the ultranationalist Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban, in his campaign to delegitimize the critics of the Union Union (EU) to your Government.

“This is what the rule of law looks like in Brussels .” This is how Orban commented on Wednesday on his Twitter account the photo of the suitcases and bags full of cash seized by the Belgian police. The wads of banknotes scattered on the table in the photograph are the alleged bribes received by European parliamentarians to favor Qatar.

A million and a half euros were confiscated from the former Italian MEP Pier Antonio Panzeri and from one of the vice-presidents of the European Parliament, the Greek social democrat Eva Kaili , who has been suspended.


“This came at a very opportune moment. Orban can now point out that there is also corruption in other places and that Brussels, as well as the entire EU, is infected,” Bulcs Hunyadi, an analyst, explained to EFE. of the Political Capital Institute. The expert points out that the European Parliament (EP) has always been the most severe institution in criticizing Hungary .

On Monday, Orban tweeted a meme of people laughing at the phrase “The European Parliament is seriously concerned about corruption in Hungary.” The gloating of the Hungarian prime minister is shared by other European populists.

The scandal comes when Orban’s government has been placed under strict community control and has seen 6.3 billion euros of European funds frozen for violations of the rule of law and corruption.

Hungary ranks 73rd in Transparency International’s corruption perceptions index, the worst of the EU member states after Bulgaria, and on the same level as Ghana, Kuwait and Senegal.

Orban could even take advantage of the scandal at the European level by reinforcing populist messages against the community elite and make a common front with other Eurosceptic formations and leaders.

“With his speech against the elite, Orban could strengthen the collaboration of European populist and far-right forces,” Hunyadi said.


“The time has come to drain the swamp in Brussels ,” Orban said in a short video, adding that the corruption scandal in the European Parliament “has shaken” the community institutions.

This was the same message that former President Donald Trump – a close ally of Orban – launched in 2016, when he argued that the swamp of corruption in Washington had to be drained.

For Hunyadi, this is nothing more than “political theater”, since both Trump and Orban are part of the elite. “The one who now presents himself as the critic of corruption, is not only part of the elite, but is also part of corruption,” the analyst emphasized.

Other members of the Government have also mocked the situation on social networks. The Secretary of State for Communication, Zoltan Kovcs , even quoted a Star Wars dialogue between Emperor Palpatine and Darth Vader.

“Emperor Palpatine: There is a great disturbance in the force. Darth Vader: I have felt it”, commented the two leaders of the empire. These messages are largely for the Hungarian public opinion, “to minimize or relativize the arguments that Hungary does not receive European funds for corruption,” says Hunyadi.

The analyst affirms that the opposition could now take advantage of the situation, with a campaign not to let the issue of corruption change focus and move to Brussels.

“In the Orban regime, corruption has no consequences, while in Europe it does ,” said Andrs Fekete-Gyr, deputy from the liberal Momentum party.

The European Commission requires Orban, among various requirements, to fight more effectively precisely against corruption in Hungary to unlock funds that it keeps frozen.