Gulyás: Political parties and media outlets will be required to make their funding transparent

July 08. 2024. – 12:44 PM


Gulyás: Political parties and media outlets will be required to make their funding transparent
Photo: Zsolt Szigetváry / MTI


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The latest press briefing of the Hungarian government was held at an unusual time, on Monday morning. Minister of the Prime Minister's Office Gergely Gulyás and Government Spokesperson Eszter Vitályos informed the journalists present about the government's decisions and plans relating to current domestic issues as well as those having to do with Hungary's international relations.

An anti-war action plan

Gergely Gulyás announced that Hungarian government has adopted an “anti-war action plan”, with the main points being:

  • Combating pro-war propaganda: political parties and media outlets will be obliged to make their financing transparent; Gulyás added that by law, of course, only the media is able to receive funding from abroad, and the regulation will primarily focus on funding received from outside the EU. "When it comes to funds from abroad that are used for war propaganda, Hungary reserves the right to return them to the sender." The justice minister has been tasked with working out how to regulate this. Gulyás added that although there are EU regulations on this as well, the government would prefer a solution that is a bit more based on the rule of law, because the EU's solution is too harsh and radical.
  • Multinational firms that made extra profits during the war should pay a defense contribution. Such are for example banks or companies in the energy sector. All banks that have not increased their holdings of sovereign bonds will be required to pay the bank levy. The transaction tax will be increased and a currency exchange levy will also be imposed. There will also be a freeze on the charges for personal accounts and charging for card use.

Several times during the press briefing, Gulyás likened the Hungarian draft, which would require media outlets to report on all funding from outside the EU, to EU Council Regulation 1428, but later, answering a question said that the only similarity between the two is that they both have to do with the media.

The EU regulation concerns Russian media, and bans media that are engaged in hybrid activities in Europe. According to Gulyás, such a strong provision is more of a deterrent, and the government does not intend to ban papers. He did not give a clear answer as to whether there were Hungarian media outlets engaging in hybrid activities.

Telex asked Gulyás to explain what exactly they mean by "war propaganda", which the government intends to confront, and which media outlets are spreading it. Gulyás said that the justice minister would provide and answer to this question at a later stage.

In his opinion if one reads the press releases, one will find both war and non-war propaganda, but it is not worth speculating before Justice Minister Bence Tuzson reveals the details. According to the minister, this will be discussed at the latest at a cabinet meeting in early September.

The Peace Mission

According to Gulyás, war propaganda is dominating the European countries, and governments are making decisions based on this, while Hungary is interested in peace, which requires the participation of both sides. Gulyás added that it is first and foremost the great powers that can bring about peace, which is why the Hungarian Prime Minister travelled to China as well.

Hungary intends to maintain a relationship with all leaders who can help put an end to the war. There is no specific peace plan, but what is certainly needed for peace is a ceasefire.

Gulyás said that many are suspicious of this peace mission, and are attacking Hungary because of it, as they expect there to be no independent Hungarian opinion. He said that the country is being subjected to political, legal and financial blackmail to force it to change its convictions, but this is not going to happen.

The government wants to do everything a country this size is able to do to achieve peace, so there will be more meetings. They know exactly where the limits of a country the size of Hungary are, but the most important thing is to begin discussions on how to reach peace, to have China and America compel the parties to the negotiating table.

Orbán's visit to Moscow was successful because it allowed him to talk to both sides, which is something the EU hasn't done

Commenting on PM Orbán's trip to Moscow, Gulyás said it was a success because it brought peace one step closer. He said the goal should be to bring the warring sides from the front to the negotiating table, and Viktor Orbán is in a position where he can negotiate with both parties.

According to Gulyás, not talking to the Russians, as Europe is doing at the moment, will not lead to results, and if there is a US president who is interested in peace, then an agreement will be reached with the Russians without Europe. This is why Hungary is trying to take a different path, and this is why, during Hungary's presidency of the European Union, Viktor Orbán has held talks with both parties.

It is a factual matter whether Orbán's meeting with Putin happened while Hungary is presiding over the Council of the EU, Gulyás said. Orbán had never said that he had negotiated with Putin on behalf of the EU, but if Putin did say that, the Hungarian government cannot take responsibility for it, he said. This was his response to Telex's question as to whether Orbán had clarified this distinction with Putin.

Gulyás: Patriots for Europe will be the third biggest political group in the EP

When asked about the possibility of Patriots for Europe announcing even more members in the coming week, and how much of an impact it could have on the European scene, Gulyás said he believes the number will go beyond ten. He said this will create the third largest group in the EP, which cannot be ignored. Although it will not change the balance of power, it will create a platform where the truly conservative, pro-peace forces can speak.

According to Gulyás, Patriots for Europe will have between 80 and 90 members. Eszter Vitályos added that she had just received the news that France's National Rally will also be joining the group.

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