Katalin Cseh – Photo: Facebook

Socialists call for Hungary to join European Public Prosecutor's Office

Fidesz turns to OLAF over companies linked to opposition MEP that ‘won EU funds illegitimately’

Ruling Fidesz on Thursday said it is turning to the EU's anti-fraud office OLAF over companies owned by the family of Katalin Cseh, an MEP of the opposition Momentum Movement, which the party maintains should pay back European Union subsidies "obtained illegitimately".

Fidesz MEP Tamas Deutsch said in a video statement on Thursday that Cseh had been “attacking her homeland” and setting her sights on exposing “corruption, abuse and extortion regarding anything that moves”.

Earlier, Fidesz communications director Istvan Hollik accused the family’s company of using EU funding “to develop software they’d had for a long time; they simply pocketed EU money.”

Hollik accused Cseh’s family of “hypocrisy”. “While Cseh’s party was campaigning at full-tilt against [Budapest hosting] the Olympics, the companies in her family won Olympics-related tenders,” he said.

Deutsch insisted that companies connected to Cseh had systematically drawn down domestic development funds and EU subsidies on a large scale. He said the companies in question had even relocated in order to apply for EU funding. Between 2013 and 2018, Cseh ran a company that secured EU money based on the possibility that Hungary may be a contender to organise the 2024 Olympics. Subsequently, her party Momentum was behind the referendum campaign that scotched the bid.

“It turns out that Cseh was only ever interested in money and power,” he said.

Socialists call for Hungary to join European Public Prosecutor’s Office

The opposition Socialists called on the government to have Hungary join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO), an MEP of the party said on Thursday.

Istvan Ujhelyi told a press conference that the party backed Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony’s five-question referendum bid, where one question pertains to the country joining the EPPO.

Ujhelyi accused Prime Minister Viktor Orban “and his regime” of “shunning the EPPO and all independent organisations that could reveal their dirty tricks”. “Only those with something to fear run from the authorities,” he said.

The European Union has regularly criticised Hungary for spending funding on goals other than what they were originally allocated to, Ujhelyi said.

The EU has recently raised the possibility of freezing funding for Hungary, “not specifically because of the homophobic law or the harassment of the Central European University, or rule of law considerations … but because of corruption, the frequency with which EU resources are misused, and the links of those cases to top political circles,” he said.

If elected in the general elections next spring, an opposition government would immediately join the EPPO, Ujhelyi said.

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