Rule of law in Hungary: EP hearing today

The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee discusses the situation of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary this morning.

Following the decision of the EP plenary in May, the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) was tasked to assess whether Hungary is at risk of a serious breach of EU values. If, on the basis of Article 7(1) of the EU Treaty, the Parliament concludes that this is the case, it could ask the Council to act, the parliament’s press service reminded in a statement on Wednesday.

Today hearing is part of the preparatory work of the report drafted by Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA).

Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto will present the government’s views. Hungarian Helsinki Committee Co-Chair Marta Pardavi, University of Pecs and Mertek Media Monitor representative Gabor Polyak, as well as Centre for Fundamental Rights Director Miklos Szantho complete the list of speakers.

Politicians of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party previously labeled the report another “Soros report”, referring to the fact that Sargentini, as well as most of the shadow rapporteurs can be found on a document leaked by DC Leaks which lists the “reliable allies” of George Soros’s Open Society’s Foundation in the EP.

Fidesz communications director Balazs Hidveghi said on Wednesday that the hearing is unlikely to be fair, as “Soros’s people will listen to Soros’s people and then denounce Hungary together”. He was referring to the facts that the majority of LIBE-meps are on the already mentioned list, and both the Hungarian Helsinki Committee and the Mertek Media Monitor have received funds from the OSF.

Hungarian government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs held a press conference in Brussels on Monday, where he said that the hearing will be “a mixture of a ruthless witch-hunt and a show trial familiar from communist times”.

The hearing will be streamed.

Hungary Journal
Photo: European Parliament

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