Opposition parties turn to EU over Gruevski affair
Conservative opposition Jobbik is turning to the European Commission over the case of former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski, Jobbik deputy leader Márton Gyöngyösi told a press conference he held jointly with Ádám Mirkóczki, the (Jobbik) head of parliament’s national security committee, on Wednesday.
On Tuesday, Gruevski said on Facebook that he has been granted asylum by Hungary.
Gyöngyösi said his party wanted to know whether the EC has examined how the principles of the rule of law are applied in Macedonia’s justice and legal systems.
If Macedonia “passes the test”, the Hungarian authorities will have no choice but to extradite Gruevski, he said. But if the EC has not looked into the state of the rule of law in Macedonia, Jobbik expects it to, he added.
Gyöngyösi said the Gruevski affair raised “countless questions” about the Hungarian government’s former dealings with the Macedonian ex-premier, whom he called “the originator and primary user of the ‘Stop Soros’ campaigns”. He said Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó had even addressed one of Gruevski’s campaign events.
He said it was “no accident” that Viktor Orbán’s government “has granted asylum to Mr. Gruevski on the grounds that the former prime minister was fleeing the revenge of Soros”.
Gyöngyösi said that up until now, only “banana republics and dictatorships were known to take in failed leaders”.
“It is without precedent that a European Union member state should do this with the former politician of a candidate country,” he said.
In response to a question, Ádám Mirkóczki said the EC had no deadline to respond to Jobbik’s query. He added, however, that given the magnitude of the case “and the international scandal it has caused”, the party expects the body to respond in a relatively short amount of time.
He said the government’s communication concerning the affair was “not only chaotic, but riddled with contradictions, lies and all about running from relevant questions”.
Mirkóczki said the government had “misled” the national security committee, arguing that the foreign ministry had told him that neither it, nor the intelligence community had any information on the Gruevski affair.
He said that contrary to the government’s communication, the decision to grant Gruevski asylum was a political, rather than a legal decision.
Asked where Gruevski was currently residing, Mirkóczki said he had to have stayed in Hungary until his asylum request was processed, but it could not be ruled out that the former PM has already left the country. He added, however, that with an international warrant out for his arrest, it was doubtful that Gruevski would leave for another EU country.
On the same topic, Márta Demeter, co-leader of opposition LMP, called for a special joint session of parliament’s defence and foreign affairs committees over the case of former Macedonian PM Nikola Gruevski.
Demeter, who heads the defence and law enforcement committee, said in a statement that she was calling for the committees to hear Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, József Czukor, the head of the National Information Office, and Zsuzsanna Végh, director-general of the immigration and asylum office regarding the Gruevski affair.
“It has become clear from the statements made by government officials and investigative media reports that Hungarian foreign offices and personnel posted abroad played an active role in the process that led to former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski, who has been sentenced to prison in his country, entering Hungary and being granted asylum in a remarkably quick procedure,” Demeter said.
Opposition Democratic Coalition MEP Péter Niedermüller has submitted questions to European People’s Party group leader Manfred Weber concerning the case of former Macedonian Prime Minister Nikola Gruevski.
Has the Hungarian government acted in keeping with the law when Gruevski, convicted on corruption charges, was granted asylum, Niedermüller asked Weber. Has the Hungarian government acted in the interest of European security “when it provided a car with a diplomatic licence plate and a one-off entry permit” to help Gruevski’s entry in the European Union, he added.
If the EPP keeps Hungary’s Fidesz among its members in order to acquire a majority at next year’s European Parliamentary elections, it will be “clear that it has no political morals, only pseudo-principles”, Niedermüeller said.
Gruevski held office between 2006 and 2016. An arrest warrant was issued last week after he failed to start a two-year prison sentence for corruption.
Featured image: www.facebook.com/NGruevski