Ahead of a European parliamentary debate on the situation in Hungary left-wing opposition MEPs briefed Hungarian journalists on Tuesday evening. István Ujhelyi, head of the Hungarian delegation to the Social Democratic group, accused the government of Viktor Orbán of “plundering and impoverishing Hungary” and bringing the country’s reputation in Europe and the United States to an all-time low. Csaba Molnár, the MEP of DK, who also belongs to the Social Democratic group, referred to reports that the United States has banned certain Hungarian officials from entering the United States for suspected corruption. Benedek Jávor, the MEP for Együtt-PM, who belongs to the Green group, said he primarily wanted to highlight the Hungarian authorities’ harassing of the civil sector and “the corruption affairs of the Orbán administration”.
Tamás Deutsch, the MEP for Fidesz in the EPP group, told Hungarian journalists that Hungary is a strong and stable democracy. He suggested that the real reason that the left-wing had prompted the debate in Strasbourg was connected with their having suffered their third heavy electoral loss this year. Earlier in the day Richárd Hörcsik of the ruling Fidesz party told the method used by the Hungarian left is alien to the EP and weakens the representation of national interests. The European liberals and Socialists have been urged by the Hungarian left-wing parties to again deal with Hungary in front of the EP plenary, Hörcsik said.
Meanwhile, as euractiv.com has reported, President-elect Jean-Claude Juncker secured confirmation for his new Commission from MEPs today in Strasbourg, winning over a grand coalition of Socialists and centre-right MEPs. Hungary‘s nominee, Tibor Navracsics, will no longer handle the citizenship portfolio, Juncker said, responding to MEPs criticisms about Navracsics’ ties to the Hungarian government, which has clashed with the EU on civil rights issues. The portfolio will instead go to the new home affairs commissioner, Dimitris Avramopoulos of Greece, while Navracsics will be assigned to Education, Culture, Youth and Sport.
via hungarymatters.hu and euractiv.com photo: European Parliament Flickr (CC)