According to the European Parliament’s (EP) Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE) report, there is a risk that Hungary is seriously and systematically violating the European values on which the European Union is founded.
In the draft report, the liberal MEPs expressed concerns about the functioning of the constitutional and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary and other institutions, the rights of judges and corruption, among other issues.
In their view:
Hungary does not guarantee freedom of expression, including pluralism of the media, freedom of the academic life, freedom of religion, freedom of association, the right to equal treatment, including the rights of sexual minorities, and the rights of minorities, including Roma and Jews, nor protection against hate speech against these minorities.”
The EP committee also expressed concern about the protection of the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers, and refugees in Hungary, as well as economic and social rights.
MEPs called on the Commission to use all the instruments at its disposal, in particular the budgetary conditionality, to defend European values. They urged the EU executive not to approve the Hungarian plan to allow the disbursement of EU funds for the recovery from the coronavirus epidemic until Hungary has fully complied with all the relevant recommendations of the European Union, and has implemented all the relevant judgments of the Court of Justice of the European Union and the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR). The draft report will be discussed and voted on at the next plenary session of the European Parliament, scheduled for September 12-15 in Strasbourg.
Balázs Hidvéghi, Fidesz MEP, Jorge Buxadé Villalba, Jadwiga Wisniewska, Patryk Jaki, and Vincenzo Sofo of the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), and Jean-Paul Garraud and Annalisa Tardino of the Identity and Democracy (ID) party family, have submitted alternative opinions to the adopted report, stating that: ‘the report in question must be objective, apply clear criteria and strictly respect the facts’. However, they stressed that as in previous documents voted on in the LIBE Committee,
the report adopted is based on subjective opinions and politically biased statements, contains vaguely worded concerns, reflects value judgements and applies double standards. In several cases, it raises issues that have long been remedied by the responsible bodies or that concern matters that are part of public debates and fall within the exclusive competence of the Member States.”
It has been pointed out that the rapporteur of the report, French Green MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, does not refer to any real violation of the rule of law. “The text reflects the well-known narrative of condemning the rule of law in general, while failing to substantiate any concrete violation. This text is yet another attempt by federalist European political parties to attack Hungary and its Christian Democrat, conservative government on ideological grounds,” they said. The report is yet another disappointing work by the European Parliament at a time when the unity of the European Union is needed more than ever, they added.
Balázs Hidvéghi Fidesz MEP. Photo: MTI/Kovács Attila
Balázs Hidvéghi said it was astonishing that while Europe is facing an economic crisis caused by war and sanctions, while energy and food prices are ‘sky-high,’ and people in Western Europe are already preparing for electricity and gas restrictions, the European left is unable to do anything other than launch another attack on Hungary. According to Balázs Hidvéghi, they also want to prevent Hungary from reaching an agreement on the recovery funds it is entitled to and on the use of EU funds. He said it was a shame that the Democratic Coalition and Momentum MEPs Klára Dobrev and Anna Donáth were “eagerly assisting” this.
Spanish MEP Jorge Buxadé Villalba told the committee meeting that the report is not objective and seeks to use the European Parliament to engage in political action against conservative politicians who were democratically elected. The Hungarian government was elected in the same way, he added. The report does not objectively establish a breach of the rule of law, said the ECR member. It is therefore very regrettable that the Council is being forced to act under Article 7, he said.
Featured Photo: MTI/Máthé Zoltán