EP draft report criticises Hungary rule of law

The European Parliament’s civil liberties committee has released a draft report criticising the state of the rule of law in Hungary. The Hungarian government’s politicians rejected the report as “interference of the Soros network”.

Last spring, the EP’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) was asked to prepare a report on Hungary with a view to holding an EP vote on launching the first steps of Article 7, which suspends voting rights.

Presenting the report in a session of the committee in Brussels on Thursday, Green MEP Judith Sargentini said there was a “clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values of the European Union”, which she said warranted launching the Article 7 procedure. Sargentini said the Hungarian government had curbed the powers of Hungary’s Constitutional Court and judicial independence and launched attacks against civil society. The state of press freedom and freedom of expression have also deteriorated, she said.

Social Democrat MEP Ana Gomes said the situation in Hungary was “worrying”, adding that it had deteriorated significantly over the past few years. “There is a systemic threat to democracy and the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary,” Gomes said.

Marek Jurek of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group said the Hungarian government had been subjected to “baseless accusations”. “Every country has a right to protect its sovereignty,” he said, adding that Hungary “is only being attacked over its cultural differences”.

Liberal MEP Sophia in’t Veld accused the Hungarian government of pursuing a “disgusting hate campaign” and said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban posed a threat to the EU’s integrity. If Hungary were a candidate country today, it would not be admitted into the bloc, she insisted.

Fidesz MEP Kinga Gal said: “The reason why they’re smearing Hungary is because it won’t fall in line, but instead stands up to the mandatory resettlement of migrants.” She said the discussion about the situation in Hungary was “completely devoid of objectivity”. Gal said the potential Article 7 procedure against Hungary “looks like a pre-arranged show trial that will end with a pre-determined political verdict”.

Socialist Party MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said he was “deeply embarrassed” and regretted that “Hungarian politics has put the country into this situation here in front of our European community and European allies”.

Extreme right-wing Hungarian MEP Krisztina Morvai came to the defence of the Hungarian government, by saying Hungary’s recent election showed that whereas the country had been “hugely outnumbered, it managed to defeat the will of the EU and [US financier George] Soros’s armies”. Morvai won her mandate on the list of Hungary’s strongest opposition party, Jobbik. On Wednesday Jobbik called on Morvai to give back her mandate and leave the European Parliament, because she “actively participated in Fidesz’s hate-mongering election campaign”.

MEPs have until May 15 to submit amendment proposals to the draft report. LIBE is expected to submit the document to the EP in June, which the legislative body is expected to vote on in the autumn.

Fidesz blames the “Soros people”

Balazs Hidveghi, ruling Fidesz’s communications director, branded the draft document as the “Soros report”, saying it was a “frontal attack” against Hungary and “another obvious attempt to pressure Hungary into take in migrants”. “We’re barely done with the election and Soros’s people in Brussels have already launched a frontal attack against Hungary in the European Parliament,” Hidveghi told public media. “The Soros empire’s representatives in Brussels are ignoring the decision made by the people and ignoring the outcome of Hungary’s democratic elections; they are angry and aggressively threatening to cut Hungary’s funding and suspend its voting rights.” Hidveghi said this was “unacceptable”, adding that the Fidesz-led government would continue to do everything in its power to protect Hungary from immigration. “We won’t give in on this issue and we’ll continue to fight against pressure from Brussels,” he said.

The Hungarian government will resist an expectedly growing international pressure in the wake of Hungary’s recent election, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Thursday. Ruling Fidesz’s election victory, one of “three landslide wins in eight years”, reflects “the strongest and clearest political will in Europe” expressed by Hungary’s voters, Szijjarto told reporters. The election made it clear “what future the government’s supporters voted for and what kind of future opponents wish to see”, he added. “Brussels, however, continues to disregard the Hungarian people and their will,” Szijjarto insisted.

Szijjarto said that the Hungarian government had approached LIBE on Wednesday to present their position, but leaders of the committee refused to provide an opportunity, through which they had “unmasked themselves”, revealing a “seriously anti-democratic” procedure against Hungary. The minister said that Hungary’s election campaign had seen “a number of open attempts to influence domestic affairs” but despite those efforts by the “Soros empire”, Hungary’s voters had “made a clear decision … and said no to a pro-immigration policy”.

Source: MTI/Hungary Journal
Photo: EP


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