Former Prime Minister of FYROM Nikola Gruevski after refusing to start serving a prison term to which he had been sentenced by a Macedonian court, has illegally fled to Hungary and applied for asylum there.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán who has been a close friend of Gruevski for many years has been very hospitable towards him.

Commenting on Hungary’s role in the affair, the European Green Party co-chair Reinhard Bütikofer and Monica Frassoni said:

“Prime Minister Orbán is a genius in continuously finding new ways of making a travesty of the rule of law.  His newest ‘achievement’ has been to host a political criminal from neighbouring Macedonia as a political refugee in stark contravention of anti-refugee laws that he himself put in place. A spokesman for Mr. Orbán made matters worse by accusing the democratically-elected government of Macedonia Prime Minister Zaev of being a puppet of the Hungarian extremists’ favourite public enemy, Mr. Soros.”

“Greens denounce the cynicism and the provocative attitude that can only be interpreted as an attempt to create tensions in the Balkans and to enflame conflicts that the EU and the Macedonian government have been trying very hard to deal with in an inclusive, just and civil manner.  Nobody can benefit from the extraordinary behaviour of Mr. Orbán but Russian President Putin who abhors any and every step of the Macedonian nation towards inclusion in the Euro-Atlantic community.  Russia has tried to meddle directly in Macedonia and Greece, but so far to no avail.  It is a shame that now a member of the EPP political family joins the game as a member of the anti-European team”, they concluded.

“There are many doubts and questions regarding the arrival of Mr. Gruevski to Hungary, including the way he came and the involvement of the Hungarian authorities in his travel. The proper application of Hungarian asylum law and the European Schengen rules among others is also questionable. The Hungarian government should urgently clarify its position. They need to closely cooperate with the Macedonian authorities and promptly send back Mr. Gruevksi to Macedonia where he was sentenced to two years of prison by the court. Hungary cannot assist anyone to avoid legal consequences of wrongdoings and should send a message to Macedonia as an accession country that there are no exemptions and double standards for anyone in an EU member state, that is the very minimum to maintain the credibility of the EU expecting rule of law standards in Macedonia. Hungary cannot serve Russian interest in the Western Balkans where the common EU line is clearly the promotion of the accession of the countries of the region,” added Benedek Jávor MEP (Greens/EFA, Hungary).