Hungary’s largest opposition party, Jobbik, has asked the European Commission to issue an opinion on the rule of law in Macedonia.
The request follows the Hungarian government’s apparent decision to grant asylum to the former Macedonian prime minister, Nikola Gruevski, who fled Macedonia after being sentenced to two years in prison for corruption.
“Macedonia has been an EU candidate since 2005, and negotiations have been ongoing since 2009. Macedonia’s judicial system must comply with European law,” said Márton Gyöngyösi, Jobbik’s vice president. “If the application for asylum is assessed following EU norms, and if Macedonia’s rule of law is seen as complying with EU standards, then the Hungarian government has no choice but to extradite Mr Gruevski.”
Mr Gyöngyösi raised several questions regarding Mr Gruevski’s escape: despite being deprived of his passport, he managed to cross both the Serbian and Hungarian borders.
“We need to talk about the responsibility of [Prime Minister Viktor] Orbán’s government,” he said during a press conference. “Several members of the government have been in touch with Mr Gruesvki, who is behind the idea of the entire anti-Soros campaign. No wonder that the government is offering him asylum with the official explanation that he is escaping from George Soros. If the Hungarian government is so sensitive about refugees, why couldn’t Mr Gruevski wait at the border?”
Hungary’s National Security Committee called a meeting to discuss the situation but no members of the ruling Fidesz party attended, claiming that they had nothing to do with the matter and that their presence was not required. However, on the same day, the minister of foreign affairs, Péter Szijjártó admitted that Hungarian diplomats had been involved into helping Mr Gruevski enter Hungary.
“I have no memories of a scandal big as this one,” commented Ádám Mirkóczki, chairman of the National Security Committee. “The chaotic communication and the secrecy created by the government about the issue suggests that there is a reason why the circumstances of this whole affair have been kept secret.”
EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn tweeted on November 21 that if Hungary has made a decision to grant Mr Gruevski asylum, he expects a “sound explanation of its grounds” from Prime Minister Orbán.