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BREXIT NEWS  
 Q:  WHEN IS BREXIT NOT BREXIT AT ALL?
A:  WHEN YOU HEAR THE WORDS ‘EEA’ OR ‘EFTA’
© unknown
A simple explainer from the Brexit Facts4EU.Org Team
In the last two weeks, press articles have started appearing again regarding the ‘EEA’ and ‘EFTA’. Some Brexiteers and some Remainers have once again started using this as a compromise solution for Brexit. You may therefore find it useful to know:
  • What is EFTA and what’s the EEA?
  • Could they give the UK what it voted for?
  • Are they a good ‘half-way house’ on the way to full Brexit?
1.  WHAT IS EFTA?
The European Free Trade Association (EFTA) consists of 4 countries: Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein. The UK was a founder member in 1960, when EFTA established “a framework for the liberalisation of trade in goods amongst its Member States” and “an economic counterbalance to the more politically driven European Economic Community (EEC).” [EFTA description.]
As EFTA countries such as the UK started joining the EU, they left EFTA, which is why it now contains only 4 countries.
Over the decades EFTA has become more like the EU, with its own court adopting the rulings of the ECJ. EFTA’s countries are all members of the EEA (see below) except Switzerland.
2.  WHAT IS THE EEA?
The European Economic Area (EEA) was set up in 1994 to extend the EU’s provisions on its internal market to the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) countries. Switzerland is a member of EFTA but does not take part in the EEA.
The EEA consists of the 28 EU countries, plus 3 non-EU countries of Liechtenstein, Norway and Iceland. That’s 31 countries in total.
The UK is already member of the EEA by virtue of being a member of the EU.
3.  COULD MEMBERSHIP OF EFTA/EEA GIVE US WHAT WE VOTED FOR?
EFTA is governed by the EFTA Surveillance Authority and the EFTA Court. Whilst the EFTA Court is ostensibly separate from the EU’s European Court of Justice (ECJ), in practice it adopts its rulings.
So, EFTA membership means accepting jurisdiction of the ECJ via the EFTA Court.
Membership of the EEA means membership of the Single Market. This in turn means having to abide by the EU’s four freedoms, which means the UK would still have to accept freedom of movement and would not control its borders.
As stated above, Switzerland is a member of EFTA but not of the EEA. However Switzerland has over 120 bilateral agreements with the EU in relation to trade and other matters. Any suggestion that the UK would wish to embroil itself in negotiations with the EU over a similar (or probably much larger) number of bilateral agreements is fraught with danger.
The EU is deeply unhappy with Switzerland’s current status and it’s certain that they would not wish to see another country go down this path. Specifically the EU is in dispute with Switzerland because of the principles of free movement and the single market. The Swiss people had the temerity in 2014 to vote against free movement, which has put the country into increasing conflict with the EU ever since.
4.  IS THE EFTA/EEA OPTION A GOOD ‘HALF-WAY HOUSE’ ON THE WAY TO FULL BREXIT?
A small minority of pro-Brexit campaigners have always advocated an EFTA/EEA arrangement as a halfway house on the way to full Brexit. They and an increasing number of Remainers suggest that reverting to an EFTA/EEA status gets around the problem of leaving the Single Market.
However any possible EFTA/EEA option immediately comes up against the EU’s four freedoms including freedom of movement, and as EFTA themselves say: “the common rules of the EEA Agreement are updated continuously with new EU legislation.”
In effect, access to the Single Market via EFTA and EEA membership leaves the UK where it was in many respects, and it would still require an enormous amount of negotiation.
A look at the breakdown of the EFTA countries shows how strange it would be for the UK to join. Two of the four countries are tiny – Iceland with a population of 320,000 and little Liechtenstein with a population of just 37,000. The economies of Norway (5m people) and Switzerland (8m) are both very different to that of the United Kingdom.
OBSERVATIONS
If - as we have always maintained - the EU will not negotiate a sensible deal with the UK, Remainers will become even more vocal about the supposed ‘cliff edge’ which Britain will fall off unless it caves in on a wide range of fundamental Brexit principles.
We would strongly counsel against any idea that an existing set-up represents the answer to an interim arrangement for the UK. The British people voted to leave the EU and not to have the EU’s suffocating rules imposed on it by the back door, for an indeterminate number of years to come.
The story of Brexit thus far has been the story of slow but steady capitulation by Theresa May to virtually every EU demand. In effect the deal which is currently on the table is not Brexit at all. It has the UK staying in the EU in all but name after March 2019. The last thing we need now is for the failed EEA/EFTA solution to be thrust on us.
The arguments over an EEA/EFTA solution to Brexit were fought and won before the Referendum. The exception was in a very small clique driven mainly by one man. It was not possible to argue with this group as the leader and acolytes propounded their sole solution with an almost religious fervour. Regrettably this group continues to pour vitriol onto non-believers, attacking people we regard as sound, mainstream Brexiteers. We have refrained from mentioning this group in the last few years, as we never found it helpful for pro-Brexit people to fight each other.
Our summary is that a full clean Brexit is what is required, and that this is impossible to deliver using some form of EEA/EFTA compromise.
Note: The rules governing EFTA and the EEA are complex. The above is a simplification but we hope you find it useful.
[ Sources: EFTA | EU Commission | EU Parliament ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.25am, 22 May 2018
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EXCLUSIVE - AS USUAL WITH BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG
 ‘LITTLE EUROPEANS’ EYE BALKANS BACK-YARD
© No.10/Twitter
WHILE MRS MAY TRIES TO LOOK LIKE A LEADER
EU reveals figures behind its ‘Balkans backyardism’
While International Trade Secretary Liam Fox has been busy talking to countries around the world about the UK’s future trading relationship, the EU’s statistics agency has revealed the figures for its exports to the Western Balkans countries that it has been courting for years.
These six countries are currently being paid vast sums each year from EU taxpayers to upgrade their infrastructures and their human rights, as precursors to joining the EU as full members.
Whilst Germany and other EU states benefit from this policy of expansion, the UK doesn’t. This is because the majority of exports to the region come from the EU – but far less from the UK.
For 5 out of the 6 countries, the EU is responsible for the lion’s share of the world’s exports into each country. In fact 58.5% of all exports into the region come from the EU, according to the EU’s own figures. In 2017 these totalled €26 or €29bn euros, depending on which EU figures you use.
© Facts4EU.Org 2018
WHO BENEFITS?
It will come as no surprise that Germany is the largest exporter to the Western Balkans region. As the EU said itself in the report it released last week:
“Among the EU Member States, the largest exporters to the Western Balkans in 2017 were Germany (16% of the EU exports of goods to the Western Balkans) and Italy (14%).
“Together they accounted for over one third of all exports to this region.”
- Official Eurostat report: EU-Western Balkans Trade Rlations – 17 May 2018
[Statistical note: We have had problems trying to reconcile all the numbers in the EU’s report. Putting it frankly, some of them don’t seem to add up. A good example is in the quotation above. 16% plus 14% = 30% and that’s not “over one third”.]
MRS MAY – WORLD LEADER
Last week Theresa May was in the Balkans. And no, this is not a euphemism.
The Prime Minister attended the EU Summit in Bulgaria, which currently holds the rotating 6-month presidency of the EU Council. Also attending were the leaders of the six Western Balkans countries of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Kosovo, Montenegro and Serbia.
Mrs May also visited Macedonia while she was in the region and had separate talks with its PM Zoran Zaev.
Macedonia is the only one of the six Western Balkans countries to which the UK exports anything significant. The other countries bought very little from the UK – some as low as £6 million.
OBSERVATIONS
This article illustrates two points:
1. FORGET ‘LITTLE ENGLANDERS’ WHAT ABOUT THE ‘LITTLE EUROPEANS’?
With Liam Fox continously jetting around the world, there is nothing ‘Little Englander’ about the aspirations of those who see great opportunities in a post-Brexit Britain. Quite the opposite – the UK has always been far more outward-looking and global than the EU.
The EU elites have concentrated far too much on their own back-yard, which helps to explain why in 60 years they never managed to get around to a trade deal with the world’s largest economies such as the US and China.
2. UK TAXPAYER CONTINUES TO PAY FOR EU27 TO BUILD MARKETS TO BENEFIT EU27
For many years the EU has been heavily focused on its own enlargement. It has done this at the UK taxpayer’s expense, as the UK is one of the few EU countries to be a net contributor and therefore paymaster for the EU’s expansionist projects.
In concentrating on enlargement, the existing member states such as Germany and France were of course using UK money to develop markets on their doorstep – and this continues to happen to this day and will continue through Mrs May’s Transition Period.
Over and again we see Remainer politicians ridiculing the government and pro-Brexit organisations like ourselves, saying that this or that country isn’t worth bothering with. This happened only this weekend, when Liam Fox made an announcement about the progress of trade talks with Australia and New Zealand.
Whenever we report good trade news, it is ridiculed. So let’s just take Australia.
BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY - COMPARING WESTERN BALKANS TO AUSTRALIA
  • UK goods exports to Australia in 2017?
  • Answer: £4.8 billion
  • UK goods exports to all 6 Western Balkan EU candidate countries combined?
  • Answer: £1.7 billion
The UK’s exports to Australia on its own are worth almost 3 times
the UK's combined exports to the EU’s 6 Western Balkan candidate countries.
© Dept for Int'l Trade / Twitter
We rest our case.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Eurostat | ONS ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       07.30am, 21 May 2018
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Name: Brexiteer, Braintree, Essex      Date/Time: 21 May 2018, 4.20pm
Message: Unfortunately both the civil service who are advising May, and the Prime Minister herself have no vision, no outward view of trade other than the EU. May seems to regard the EU as the be all and end all of trade relations. She seems to forget we pay billions of pounds to trade with the EU, we pay nothing to trade with other nations outside the EU. As well as the costs, the laws we must implement some 945 since the referendum! Just let go, move on, the EU market is shrinking. It's on the way down, don't hang on to these losers, it's not going to improve with the Balkans joining.
Name: Shieldsman, Surrey, UK      Date/Time: 21 May 2018, 3.47pm
Message: There was a very good article in the Telegraph on the 18th May. 'Remainers cannot call themselves liberal while they try to preserve the EU's control', by Rado Tylecote. My view is, the EU is the epitome of the old European Rivalries, with the French and Germans in modern parlance vying to be top dog. With the French President (Macron) clearly thinking it is his role to lead the amalgamation of the Empire.
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EXCLUSIVE - SHOCK ADMISSION BY EU
 “UK RESPONSIBLE FOR 1/4 OF EU COUNTRIES' EXPENDITURE ON DEFENCE”
LATEST EU FIGURES SHOOT MAY’S SURRENDER
OUT OF THE WATER
BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY - DEFENCE SPENDING IN THE EU 2016
  • UK is by far the biggest funder of defence in the EU
  • UK spent €47bn, out of EU total of €200bn
  • 4 Member States accounted for 71% of total defence expenditure in the EU
  • Apart from UK, only 2 EU countries spent NATO minimum of 2% on defence
  • EU countries are spending LESS on defence since 2010 (from 1.5% down to 1.3%)
RULE BRITANNIA – UK DOMINATES DEFENCE SPENDING IN THE EU
As you can see below, the UK is easily the largest investor in defence in the whole of the EU. Here is how the EU itself was forced to admit the news on Friday:-
“The United Kingdom spent the most on defence (€47 bn in 2016). This is equivalent to almost a quarter (24%) of the total EU public expenditure on defence.”
- Latest statement from EU on member states' defence spending, 18 May 2018
© Facts4EU.Org 2018
THE SMALL AND FALLING PERCENTAGES OF THE EU
NATO has had a minimum level of spending on defence for a number of years. Most recently this was a major discussion point at the NATO Summit in Wales in 2014, when all member countries agreed to increase their defence expenditure to the 2% of GDP minimum.
© Facts4EU.Org 2018
Apart from the UK, only Estonia and Greece spend above the NATO 2% minimum. Estonia has recently increased its spending dramatically as a result of Russia conducting major military exercises on its borders over the past few years – hence British Typhoon jet fighters now being based there.
Greece has always spent a lot on defence, partly as a result of its long-standing disputes with Turkey. German arms manufacturers have been the major beneficiaries, even during the spending straitjacket put on Greece by the Troika of which the German government was a part.
THE EU ARE GETTING WORSE – BY THEIR OWN ADMISSION
The chart below shows that not only are the EU countries failing to keep their promises, they are actually spending LESS now, as a proportion of their GDP, than in 2010.
To be clear, the data we are using comes directly from the EU Commission’s statistics agency, and they admit what we are telling you. For example:
“EVOLUTION OF 'DEFENCE' EXPENDITURE OVER 2002-2016”
“At the level of the EU-28, slight decreases in the share of 'defence' expenditure compared to total expenditure were noted over 2002-2016 (2002: 1.5 % of GDP vs. 2016: 1.3 % of GDP), with the share in total expenditure dropping from 3.3 % in 2002 to 2.9 % in 2016.”
- Official Eurostat report: How much is spent on defence in the EU? – 18 May 2018
© Facts4EU.Org 2018
OBSERVATIONS
RELEVANCE FOR BREXIT
As we have pointed out many times, Mrs May has unilaterally given away the UK’s negotiating hand over defence. Not only that but she has agreed to all the EU’s plans for military aggrandisement since the Referendum. And unknown to most MPs she has allowed the UK to become even further committed to a raft of EU defence structures and funds.
The position of the Prime Minister is that the UK commits completely and without conditions to the continued defence of the EU27.
This is complete madness in our considered opinion. Whilst no-one is suggesting that we should threaten the EU with the complete removal of our defence and intelligence umbrella unless they play ball on Brexit, Mrs May has gone to the opposite extreme and given the EU everything. A cast-iron, gold-plated guarantee.
To those who say “Ah yes, but she’s being very clever because nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” we would simply reply “No”.
Firstly the woman is clueless about the EU and about negotiating. She is also clueless about defence and about foreign policy, having never had any experience in these areas.
Secondly Mrs May has set a climate in Brussels where the EU expects to demand and receive the most absurd and unreasonable things. That is exactly what has happened over the past two years.
The EU is now used to this and the whole battlefield is of the EU’s making. By agreeing to everything in principle, May has made the UK look weak. She has made the running extremely difficult for a new PM to take over and start reading the facts of life to the EU.
THESE EU FIGURES ARE INDEFENSIBLE
The latest report on defence expenditure by EU countries makes for shocking reading, unless you have been following the research reports of Brexit Facts4EU.Org in the last few years.
The official figures just released by the EU for 2016 tell a deeply worrying story. The EU is steaming full speed ahead towards a full military capability which they undoubtedly intend to use to replace NATO. We have reported on this many times and there can no longer be any doubt about this.
The latest EU figures show that not only have EU countries been unable to spend the NATO minimum of 2% of GDP on defence, they have actually been spending LESS over the course of this decade.
The figures show that the overall spend of EU countries has fallen from 1.5% to 1.3% since 2010. This is despite NATO calling for increased spending and despite EU countries such as Germany promising to do that.
CONCLUSIONS
We have a British Prime Minister who has surrendered on every vaguely-important point in the Brexit negotiations so far. Most importantly she has given the EU one of the UK’s most powerful bargaining chips – its defence and intelligence umbrella. Let’s be clear, without the UK protecting the EU it would collapse under very small provocation.
Only a couple of weeks ago the German press was reporting how only 4 of its force of Typhoon fighters were operational at any time.
So Mrs May's government has promised total defence and intelligence cover to the EU, for nothing in return. At the same time the EU countries are spending LESS, not more on defence. And to cap it all the EU itself is now building its own full military capability which will most definitely try to take over from NATO.
It is our opinion that the entire defence policy of the United Kingdom requires a radical re-think, given the mood music in the European capitals. We can see advantages in forming new alliances and bilateral partnerships. We also believe that greater anglosphere cooperation would significantly alter the landscape for defence and peace both in Europe and also in the rest of the world.
A good starting point for the Prime Minister would be to start informing herself of the facts before giving away yet more very strong hands held by the UK, in the continuing Brexit negotiations.
[ Sources: EU Commission | Eurostat ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       09.35am, Sunday 20 May 2018
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Name: Chris, Devizes, UK      Date/Time: 20 May 2018, 6.31pm
Message: Hi. Off-topic - the EFTA/EEA Option
Given the quagmire that May has got us into, and the apparent unwillingness of the Tory Brexiteers to take action, I wondered if Facts4EU has looked into the EFTA/EEA option in any detail? I have started to look at this, and have concluded that it might well be an acceptable way forward. As I understand it, membership of the EEA allows tariff-free trade with the EU in goods and services, including financial services, whilst also allowing independent free trade deals with 3rd party Countries (since it is not a Customs Union). The downsides are that an annual fee is required (about £9bn in our case), and it requires free movement. Also, although the EFTA court mirrors judgements by the ECJ, these are not binding on EFTA member states. In Norway for example, only 10% of their laws come from the EU. So it's not the hard Brexit we all want, but it seems to me to be better than the ridiculous customs union arrangement May is striving for.
Reply: Hi Chris. Yes we went into this a long time ago, before the Referendum, and rejected it utterly. This whole EEA/EFTA thing is only being resurrected by certain people (both Brexiteers and Remainers) with vested interests. Please don't believe what you're being told. Perhaps we should do another article about this but it would take some time. As ever we're just so short of resource. For us this EEA thing is like Remainers constantly trying to re-run the Referendum campaign. For the moment we'll just say that this 'option' isn't an option at all - it's simply not Brexit. We do understand how people are being deceived once again, however.
Name: Chris, Devizes, UK      Date/Time: 20 May 2018, 12.59pm
Message: Excellent work.
I'm sure that if you carried out a similar exercise on Cyber Security in the EU, you would find that GCHQ provides almost all of it. Yet the useless May does not seem to understand the use of bargaining chips.
There are some very interesting related points made by Michael Portillo on 'This Week'. See iPlayer here: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episode/b0b3lkdb/this-week-17052018 (At 30 and 37 mins in). I think that unless we see some action from Boris/Davis/Gove/Fox next week, then it is game over, and we are stuck in the EU in perpetuity. None of the Tory Brexiteers seem to want to challenge May. Their threats are just hot air.
Name: Andrew James, Cambridgeshire      Date/Time: 20 May 2018, 10.56am
Message: Excellent research and nicely summarised, thank you. Do you mind if I send this to BBC News?
Message: Thank you Andrew. Please feel free to send the link to the article to anyone you think might be interested. (See the red text immediately above this grey box which says "SHARE THIS ARTICLE ONLINE".) Unfortunately the BBC don't seem to be interested in any of our research, but don't let that stop you trying!

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 EUROZONE EXPORTS FALL
BREXIT FACTS4EU.ORG SUMMARY - EUROZONE EXPORTS MAR 2018
  • Eurozone exports (to outside EU) in Mar 2018 : €199.9bn
  • The same month a year ago : €205.9bn
  • This is a fall of 2.9% on March 2017
On Friday the statistics agency for the EU Commission released figures showing that exports from the Eurozone actually fell in real terms in March.
Comparing March 2018 to March 2017, exports from the Eurozone countries fell from €205.9bn to €199.9bn, a drop of 2.9%.
© Facts4EU.Org 2018
OBSERVATIONS
These are the figures for exporting outside the EU, to the growing markets of the rest of the world.
The EU Commission will no doubt be disappointed in this significant drop in the level of exports from the main economies in the EU (excluding the UK).
[ Sources: EU Commission | Eurostat ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for the full list of links, as usual.
       06.40am, Sunday 20 May 2018
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Name: John Finn, Coventry, UK      Date/Time: 20 May 2018, 9.21pm
Message: Come on, guys, you're better than this This is a misleading article. EZ exports in March 2017 were huge - the highest on record by some margin for any month. The fact that exports in March 2018 are 3% down on last March is hardly disastrous.
Reply: We're very tired after working all weekend for nothing, so we'd better not reply to this.
Name: D Price, Berkshire      Date/Time: 20 May 2018, 11.57am
Message: Once the UK leaves the EU export figures will take another knock - UK exports to the US and elsewhere can no longer be counted as EU exports, nor can the remittances home from "freely moving" EU migrants. The EU will have to counter that loss with true exports into the UK's common market, which I suspect will fall significantly from the current levels if they irritate too many consumers in this country.
If you then include defence expenditure, FDI, student intakes and the like then the EU's key economic performance indicators are going to be looking pretty poor all round.

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 A CHRISTIAN DEMOCRAT
VERSUS THE EU ELITES
                                 © Hungarian Prime Minister's office
HUNGARIAN GOVERNMENT STANDS UP AGAINST EU AND SOROS
“Rather than fix a liberal democracy that has run aground, we will build a 21st Century Christian democracy”
- Viktor Orban, addressing the Hungarian National Assembly, May 2018
Whilst most British political commentators have been struggling to catch up with the EU and Brexit in the last two years, a variety of fascinating battles have been taking place across the European Union and beyond.
These often go unreported in the UK, or if they are mentioned it is through the lens of a BBC or Sky luvvie type who frankly knows very little about it.
Hungary is a case in point. Members of the Brexit Facts4EU.Org team have been to Hungary dozens of times in the last few years, and some of us even visited several times before the fall of Communism. Some of us do business there and some just love Budapest. We don’t claim to be experts but perhaps we have some insight.
WHAT’S WRONG WITH A DEMOCRATIC LEADER WHO HAS A POPULAR VISION?
Last week the National Assembly elected Viktor Orban as Prime Minister of Hungary for a fourth term, following the overwhelming victory of his party in the recent elections. We looked at what the Hungarian Prime Minister had to say when addressing the Parliament, after his new government was formed.
“Hungary is ready to take on a big challenge,” he said, speaking about the coming four years, “now we will be hunting for big game” as “the stars above Hungary shine brighter than ever.”
“With the third consecutive, two-thirds majority in our pocket, we should aim at the impossible because anyone can achieve the possible,” said the prime minister.
“We need to say it out loud because you can’t reform a nation in secrecy: the era of liberal democracy is over,” and instead “we want Christian democracy because we are Christian democrats,” he said.
“Rather than try to fix a liberal democracy that has run aground, we will build a 21st Century Christian democracy which guarantees human dignity, freedom and security, protects the equal rights of men and women, the model of the traditional family, puts the brakes on anti-Semitism, protects our Christian culture, and provides opportunity for the maintenance and development of our nation.”
OBSERVATIONS
There is much we could write about Hungary – and about the other EU countries which are now in a state of open opposition to many of the EU elite’s policies. Regrettably we are so short of resources that this short article and the one below is all we can offer you at the moment.
Still, it’s better than you having to rely on the BBC.
One thing is very clear. Whether you like Mr Orban's policies or not, he has some. And he expresses them. And he fights for them and leads from the front. And his policies are backed by the majority of the Hungarian people.
[ Sources: Hungarian government | Hungarian Prime Minister's Office ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for links, as usual.
       09.00am, 19 May 2018
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Name: Brexiteer, Braintree,Essex      Date/Time: 19 May 2018, 09.44am
Message: Having lived under a dictatorship for many years the Hungarian people are voting at the ballot box for what THEY want. There used to be a time in the UK where the British electorate were able to do the same, that was pre 1973, before we joined the EEC. Now whoever we vote for, our political masters have their own EU agenda. Perhaps the Hungarian voters should look around the EU to see what can happen if elected politicians forsake their electorates, and decide they know best.

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 HUNGARIAN SOCIETY'S
DOING JUST FINE,
THANK YOU
                                 © Hungarian Prime Minister's office
ORBAN'S SPOKESMAN SLAMS THE "OPEN SOCIETY" OF SOROS & LEFT-WING MEDIA
“As a country on the frontier of the EU, Hungary considers migration a matter of national security, and we take seriously our obligation to protect that border.”
“We believe that foreign-funded groups active in this sensitive area should be subject to tighter rules and greater transparency.”
- Zoltán Kovács, spokesman for Viktor Orban, Fri 18 May 2018
EUROPEAN MEDIA ATTACKS HUNGARY
Last week the Politico news site published a piece entitled: “Hungary’s illiberal infection of the western Balkans.” Politico is very widely read in Brussels, and it is pro-EU in its editorial position. Apart from that we consider that it produces good journalism.. You can you can read that article here. It was penned by a man working for one of George Soros’ Open Society organisations.
Below is some of the robust response sent to the Editor of Politico, by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s spokesman, Zoltán Kovács.
SOME CHOICE EXCERPTS FROM THE HUNGARIAN RESPONSE
Below are some excerpts from the response sent to Politico by the Hungarian Prime Minister’s spokesman, Zoltán Kovács. You can read all of his response here.
“Behold the world according to the Open Society network. The author, an analyst at none other than the Open Society European Policy Institute, makes the same arrogant mistake so many of these figures commit. That is, without them and their ideologically driven Soros-funded organizations, civil society ceases to exist.”
“The pending legislation to which the author refers is about transparency and accountability of NGOs operating in Hungary with foreign funding. Specifically, it places tighter regulations on those groups that use foreign funding to promote or aid migration in Hungary.”
“As a country on the frontier of the EU, Hungary considers migration a matter of national security, and we take seriously our obligation to protect that border. We believe that foreign-funded groups active in this sensitive area should be subject to tighter rules and greater transparency. To paint this as a set of draconian laws that will result in police raids on law-abiding organizations is a wilful distortion of the facts.”
“For the past two years, the United States has been consumed by the controversy that a foreign power may have intervened in its election. It’s stunning then that some are shocked that countries — Hungary is not alone in this — are imposing stricter regulations on groups that survive almost entirely on foreign funding to carry out activities that are often blatantly partisan and drive an agenda that seeks to influence political outcomes.”
OBSERVATIONS
Politico’s coverage of Hungary is usually negative, in line with EU thinking. Hungary is one of the EU Commission’s pariah states which it is attempting to punish through the ECJ, for daring to reject the Commission’s imposition of migrant quotas, amongst other things.
The media in the EU is highly variable, just as it is in the UK. That said, overall we see less independence of thought in the more important news organisations in the continent of Europe than we do in the UK. That is not to say we're happy with the balance in the UK, just that it's slightly better.
The influence of the "Open Society" foundations and organisations funded by US billionaire socialist George Soros is pervasive and deeply worrying. We have in our possession a document detailing all the MEPs in the EU Parliament who benefit from financial and other support from his 'Open Society' grouping. It makes very troubling reading.
The Hungarian government isn't perfect - no governments we've ever come across are. However the Hungarian government has had the 'cojones' to stand up to a multi-billionaire with enormous power and influence. We thoroughly applaud them for that. Open Society has started acting with complete arrogance, so whether they have any merit to any of their arguments we don't care. We don't like bullies.
We have so much more we could bring you this weekend, including the fabulous news from Italy. Strategically the UK's Brexit position is affected by all that goes on in the EU. We would love to bring this to the attention of all our politician readers, but lack of financial resources continues to make this very difficult.
How mad is that, when you have the useless BBC consuming hundreds of millions of pounds per annum and yet unable to provide vaguely decent news and facts about Brexit and the EU?
[ Sources: Politico | Hungarian government ]      Journalists and politicians can contact us for links, as usual.
       09.00am, 19 May 2018
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To read all our output from earlier in May 2018, simply click here.
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