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The opposition Socialists will turn to Austrian authorities to find out about possible “Hungarian aspects of the Strache affair”, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi told a press conference. Referring to recently published video footage, Ujhelyi quoted Heinz-Christian Strache, who resigned his post of Austria’s vice-chancellor at the weekend, as saying that he would “build a media environment similar to that of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán”. In the footage, Strache mentioned Austrian businessman Heinrich Pecina as an “investor who bought and prepared every Hungarian paper for Orbán in the past 15 years”, Ujhelyi said. The Hungarian public has the right to know about “the relationship between Orbán and Pecina” and about possible “deals” under which Pecina had been able to purchase and shut down national daily Népszabadság and “a large part of the (Hungarian) media market”.

Ujhelyi said he did not trust the Hungarian authorities and would approach their Austrian counterparts. He insisted that neither the “two-thirds Fidesz machinery” of parliament nor public prosecutor Péter Polt would be willing to launch an investigation. He added that his party was planning joint action with Austria’s Social Democrats.

Concerning remarks by the Austrian interior minister that the timing of the publication of the video suggested “an attempt to weaken (Austria’s) anti-migration policy”, Ujhelyi said that it was rather an indication of “Europe supporters’ efforts against anti-European political movements, applying mafia-like methods and increasingly promoting the interests of Russia”.