Via Mitchell A. Orenstein and Péter Krekó at Foreign Affairs;
Earlier this week, as Europe was preparing for continent-wide parliamentary elections that delivered 25 percent of the seats to the anti–European Union populist right and left, Hungary was busy asking the EU Parliament to revoke diplomatic immunity for Béla Kovács, a prominent representative of Hungary’s far-right Jobbik party, in order to charge him with spying on the EU for Russia. Kovács is also accused of channeling Russian funds to support the establishment of Jobbik, which burst on the Hungarian political scene in 2009 with a suspiciously well-financed campaign for the EU Parliament.Yes, Russia has some to do with this ... but people wouldn't run to the fringes if the main center-right and center-right would listen to their people a bit better.
For its part, Jobbik claims that the spy allegations are part of a far-reaching Western and Jewish conspiracy to colonize Hungary. Kovács claims that, in a May telephone call, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden asked Orbán to charge Kovács in order to nip the rise of Hungarian nationalists in the bud and ensure that the socialists remained the main opposition party in the country, claims that have been repeated in the Hungarian media. Kovács has denied all charges, said that he has never been a member of either Hungarian or foreign secret services, and threatened to sue the government for libel.
Brussels might be wondering just how much influence Russia has in the halls of its member states. The fact that the EU does not have its own intelligence services leaves such investigations to the member states, some of them in close economic cooperation with Russia. As Europe faces off against a country with massive natural resource wealth and an extensive tradition of state espionage that sees itself as locked in conflict with Europe, that can't be comforting.
Hat tip Pawel.