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PM Orbán to British voters: do not leave

June 21st, 2016

As PM Orbán publishes an ad in the Daily Mail arguing against the Brexit option, the leading left-wing daily accuses the government of cynicism. A government politician, on the other hand, believes that despite the disputes with Brussels, the Hungarian government never became anti-EU.

On Monday, the Hungarian government published an advertisement signed by PM Orbán in the British Daily Mail. The text reads: “The decision is yours, but I would like you to know that Hungary is proud to stand with you as a member of the European Union”. Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács said that Hungary is committed to the European Union.

In Népszabadság, Gábor Horváth thinks that the government’s advertisement is highly cynical and controversial. While PM Orbán in Hungary claims to defend Hungary’s sovereignty against the EU, he wants to interfere in British affairs and convince UK voters of the benefits of EU membership, the left-wing columnist contends. Horváth believes that the Hungarian government’s anti-EU rhetoric cannot be squared with the message of the anti-Brexit advertisement. Horváth adds that it is also highly complacent of the Hungarian government to think it is an important power player whose opinion matters for British voters.

Writing in Messzelátó blog, Gábor Prőhle, Hungarian Deputy State Secretary for EU and International Affairs of the Ministry of Human Capacities acknowledges that the PM Orbán’s anti-Brexit ad may at first sight seem intriguing in light of the Hungarian government’s current campaign against EU migrant redistribution quotas. But the main reason for the Left’s puzzle is that PM Orbán has been portrayed both in Hungarian and European left-leaning media as an anti-EU bad guy, Prőhle believes. He adds that the Prime Minister has indeed been critical of the EU, but he always played by EU rules and wanted to strengthen national sovereignty without questioning the European Union. This critical stance may eventually convince some pro-leave British voters to reconsider their opinion, Prőhle concludes.

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