The Hungarian government is ending its anti-Juncker poster campaign
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    The Hungarian government is ending its anti-Juncker poster campaign

    On Saturday, the Hungarian government announced it was ending its controversial poster campaign against Jean-Claude Juncker. It has accused the European Commission President Mr Juncker and billionaire philanthropist Georges Soros of being accomplices to illegal immigration. 

    The “information campaign… is ending on the 15th of March as originally planned”, government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs wrote on Twitter. 

    The European Commission had rejected nationalist-conservative Prime minister Viktor Orban’s allegations “point by point” this week. It said they were “at worst completely incorrect with regards to facts and at best, misleading”. 

    Mr Orban’s Europhobic campaign angered European right-wing parties, who could decide to exclude his Fidesz party. 

    Mr Kovacs’ posted a series of tweets in response to an interview with the leader of the European Populist Party (PPE), German Manfred Weber. Mr Weber said that Viktor Orban’s “declarations and his poster campaign have damaged the PPE”. 

    Mr Orban’s Fidesz party is part of the PPE, a group of European right-wing and centre-right-wing parties. Mr Juncker himself is also a member. “That’s why I want him to apologise and end this campaign”, Mr Weber said when asked about the Hungarian Prime minister. 

    The Hungarian poster campaign started last week, under the slogan “You too have the right to know what Brussels is preparing”. 

    The campaign’s posters are illustrated with Jean-Claude Juncker’s laughing face, alongside American-Hungarian billionaire philanthropist Georges Soros. Mr Soros is often used as a scapegoat by Mr Orban and other nationalists. The two men are accused of wanting to force EU countries to accept refugees and trying to weaken national border protections. 

    Since the campaign, several PPE parties have said they intend to sanction Viktor Orban and possibly support a procedure to exclude the Fidesz party. Seven parties from at least five countries have to officially request a party be excluded from the PPE before the procedure can begin. 

    A new poster campaign will start on the 15th of March, this time showing the European Commission’s Vice-President Frans Timmermans next to Mr Soros. Dutchman Frans Timmermans is the socialist leader for the European elections next May. 

    Maria Novak
    The Brussels Times