The EU’s patience with Viktor Orban’s Hungary is running extremely thin after years of wrangling and threats from Brussels of triggering the “rule of law” mechanism, despite recently announced efforts of Budapest to establish an anti-graft agency.
It seems Russia’s war in Ukraine is hastening a confrontational and fractured ending to the standoff, with the EU on Sunday threatening to freeze 7.5 billion euros which had been earmarked for Hungary, citing persisting corruption and fraud.
It’s been no secret that Orban has been a thorn in the side of European efforts to punish and isolate Putin’s Russia. While Hungary has demanded exemptions from EU energy sanctions on Russia, and has meanwhile enjoyed cheap gasoline and other energy at a moment prices in the rest of Europe have gone steadily up over the course of the war – and into what’s sure to be a tough winter – the belief among leading EU states is that joint bloc anti-Russia actions have been largely blunted. The timing of the fresh EU threats is not going unnoticed.
Bloomberg in a fresh report has put the dilemma as follows: “But while most member states have been engaged in a desperate scramble to secure alternative gas supplies ahead of the winter, Orban has deepened his country’s ties to the Kremlin, exploiting the exemptions he demanded from EU sanctions to secure increased imports of gas from Russia.”
Poland has remained a powerful impediment thus far to Brussels triggering any significant rule of law penalties, despite Warsaw remaining at the forefront of denunciations of Russia’s invasion.
“During years of frustration at the Hungarian government, Orban has been shielded from the EU’s main disciplinary machinery, known as the article 7 procedure, by the support of the nationalist government in Warsaw — because that mechanism too requires the endorsement of all the other members,” Bloomberg recounts. “The war in Ukraine has soured Orban’s relationship with the Polish government, which has been among the most ardent supporters of firm action against Putin, but for now the Poles are standing by Orban.”
Orban has cast efforts to “punish” his country in terms of a war on traditional values. For now, Poland seems to agree… the vast divergence in rhetoric on the Russia-Ukraine conflict notwithstanding.
Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said Sunday, “Poland will strongly oppose any action of European institutions that intend to unduly deprive any member states of funds, in this case Hungary.”
Interestingly (given the timing of the EU’s threat to freeze funds), just days ago PM Orban reportedly told a closed-door meeting of officials from his ruling Fidesz party that he would fight efforts to extend EU sanctions on Russia:
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban expects European Union leaders to start talks on extending sanctions on Russia in the autumn but Budapest would try to block the move, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported, citing unidentified sources.
Orban, a harsh critic of EU sanctions on Moscow over its invasion of neighbouring Ukraine, made the remarks at a closed meeting to party members in the western village of Kotcse last week, RFE/RL said on its Hungarian website on Friday.
He also appeared to once again blame the West for the Ukraine conflict spiraling out of control, and continued his theme of anti-Russia sanctions ultimately blowing back on populations at home, or shooting the European economy in the foot.
Russian media too has been featuring recent quotes of Orban’s lambasting collective Western policy: “The Hungarian leader allegedly told his supporters that he believed Ukraine may end up losing between one third and one half of its territory due to the conflict with Russia, RFE/RL reported on Friday, citing participants of the meeting in the village of Kotcse.”
Budapest has meanwhile lashed out at the European Parliament’s (EP) recent move to approve a resolution stating that Hungary is no longer a “full democracy.” That nonbinding EP vote from last week cited Hungary’s failures to uphold “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law, and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities” – as the text reads, in repetition of prior EP statements.
A Fidesz statement said in response: “It is unforgivable that, while people are suffering from the severe economic effects of wartime inflation and misguided sanctions, the European Parliament is attacking Hungary again.”This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Aussie Cops Ask Neighbors To Rat Out ‘Anti-Government, Anti-Police, Or COVID-Vaccine Conspiracy Theorists’
On December 12, two Brisbane police officers were gunned down by a family of rural Australians, who opened fire as the two officers approached their home. Constables Rachel McCrow, 29, and Matthew Arnold, 26 died in the attack, while a third officer, Constable Randall Kirk, was shot in the leg but managed to escape. A fourth officer, Keely Brough, fled to safety in the bushes.
Later that evening, members of the rural family were killed in a shootout with tactical police.
“As I said before, if there’s anybody out there that knows of someone that might be showing concerning behavior around conspiracy theories, anti-government, anti-police, conspiracy theories around COVID-19 vaccination as what we’re seeing with [shooting perpetrators] the Train family, we’d want to know about it. We want to know about that. And you can either contact the police directly or go through Crime Stoppers,” she said.
In response, Rebel News‘ Avi Yemini replied: “Queensland Police appealing to the public to dob in their neighbours who “are anti-government or believe Covid-19 vaccine conspiracy theories.””
This has not sat well with many:This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
Was Video Of Brittney Griner Release Edited To Remove Handshake With Russian ‘Merchant Of Death’?
The optics wouldn’t go down well as even Democrats are slating the ‘only deal on the table’
A video of the Brittney Griner prisoner exchange between Russian and U.S. officials was mysteriously edited, prompting speculation that the State Department edited out a handshake between the athlete and the Russian terrorist she was traded for.
Internet sleuths are suggesting the weird cut in the footage comes right as Griner was posturing herself to shake the hand of arms dealer Viktor Bout, known as the ‘Merchant of Death’.
Bout was convicted on terrorism charges over a decade ago for attempting to sell missiles worth tens of millions of dollars to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC), specifically for the purpose of shooting down U.S. Military helicopters.
The optics of Griner shaking Bout’s hand wouldn’t play too well for the Biden administration, which is already being heavily criticised for making such a horrible deal, and leaving behind other U.S. prisoners including Marine veteran Paul Whelan.
Even Democrats are slating the administration’s actions:
Fox News reporter Peter Doocy asked the White House Press Secretary “Why did Russia get such a better deal?” to which she replied, it was that deal or nothing.
“In bringing home a professional athlete, we gave up a prolific arms dealer who was convicted of trying to kill Americans who’s called the ‘Merchant of Death,’” Doocy bluntly noted.
Another reporter asked how on earth this doesn’t send a message to Russia and other authoritarian regimes that all they have to do is kidnap Americans in order to broker a deal to get their criminal scum back.
Of course, she had no answer.
But hey, lets not miss an opportunity to alphabet and race virtue signal:
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New Zealand Takes Baby From Parents Demanding “Unvaccinated” Blood For Heart Surgery
New Zealand’s High Court on Wednesday took custody of an infant whose parents demanded he only receive blood from donors who are unvaccinated against Covid-19 for an urgently needed heart surgery to repair a congenital defect.
“He remains in urgent need of an operation, and every day that the operation is delayed his heart is under strain,” reads the order, citing one of his doctors.
The parents, Cole Reeves and Samantha Savage, rejected doctors’ assertion that using blood donated from outside normal channels was “impractical” for the child’s circumstance, and that surgery without donated blood was “not an available option.”
“That Is Where Tyranny Starts”: New Zealand May Take Baby From Parents Demanding ‘Unvaccinated’ Blood For Heart Surgery
Apparently an unvaccinated volunteer with the same blood type is not ‘an available option.’
Judge Ian Gault ruled that it was in “Baby W’s best interests” for the court to take temporary custody of him so the surgery could be performed. The infant was placed under the guardianship of the court from Wednesday until he recovers from surgery, but not beyond January 31st, the Washington Post reports.
The surgery, which is set for Friday morning, is estimated to take 48 hours to complete. Two doctors were appointed as Baby W’s legal representatives for the purpose of consenting to surgery, and Reeves and Savage were appointed as his representatives for “all other purposes.” Doctors said they would “take the parents’ views into consideration” whenever possible — as long as doing so wouldn’t compromise “Baby W’s interests.”
The decision followed a tense period of several weeks fraught with baseless claims, according to the order. -WaPo
Reeves and Savage how now tried to stop doctors preparing the infant for the operation on Friday – which the High Court responded to by ordering the parents not to obstruct staff at Starship Hospital.
Te Whatu Ora has asked for the police to step in and also asked the court if officers are entitled to use reasonable force to remove the baby from the parents.
In his decision yesterday, Justice Gault also said doctors from Te Whatu Ora had been made agents of the court to carry out the surgery, including the adminstration of any blood products.
In a minute issued this evening, Justice Gault said he had been informed by the lawyer acting for Te Whatu Ora that the baby’s parents had prevented doctors from taking blood tests, performing a chest X-ray and performing an anaesthetic assessment.
The lawyer understood the parents had threatened to lay criminal charges against medical staff if they went ahead, Justice Gault said. –RNZ
“You touch our child and we will press criminal charges against you,” the parents told hospital staff, according to the filing.
The parents’ lawyer, Sue Grey, petitioned the judge, asking for the opinions of two US doctors to be considered, adding that it would be “extreme overreach” if police were called in to remove the baby from his parents in order to perform the surgery.
Justice Gault denied the request, saying Grey was effectively seeking to re-open the case he had already ruled on.
“Baby W urgently requires surgery and, as I concluded in my judgment, an order enabling the surgery to proceed using NZBS [New Zealand Blood Service] blood products without further delay is in Baby W’s best interests,” wrote Gault.This post was originally published at Zero Hedge
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