Tamás Deutsch, the head of the Fidesz delegation in the European Parliament, says that German EP Vice-President Katarina Barley made herself unworthy of her office with her outrageous attacks on Hungary.
“I wrote a letter to the President of the European Parliament in response to the latest anti-Hungarian rampage by EP Vice-President Katarina Barley,” Tamás Deutsch, the head of the EP delegation of Hungary’s governing Fidesz party, wrote on Facebook on Thursday.
Deutsch reminded Metsola that in a recent interview with the Tageszeitung (TAZ) daily, and in another statement to The Pioneer news portal, reviewed by the Tagesspiegel daily, the EP’s German social democrat vice-president has made “a number of disparaging and disingenuous statements about Hungary and the Hungarian Prime Minister that go far beyond the bounds of civilized political debate and the behavior expected of a vice-president of the European Parliament.”
In the TAZ interview mentioned by Deutsch, Barley says that Viktor Orbán is doing “a favor to his friend, Vladimir Putin,” by urging the EU to continue using Russian gas. Neither the journalist, nor Barley mentions that the Hungarian government pointed out on numerous occasions that there is currently no real alternative nor in the foreseeable future – this geographical, physical reality is even acknowledged by Polish leaders, who can hardly be accused of being Putin’s friends.
According to Barley, Orbán is completely isolated in the EU when it comes to sanctions against Russia, but as far as gas is concerned, not so much, because there are countries like Bulgaria, Romania, and Slovakia that are very dependent on Russian gas.
When TAZ – rather tendentiously – asks Barley “what can help against the autocrat Orbán,” the politician answers that the only mean of pressure the Hungarian Prime Minister understands is money. She then blames the European Commission for not starting the rule of law conditionality procedure against Hungary earlier.
Barley told The Pioneer that she considers it the EU’s great sin that the bloc has not stood up earlier against Orbán with punitive measures and consequently has failed to prevent him from blackmailing the EU.
“It is intolerable and outrageous that the vice-president of the parliament of a political community should incite the press in this way against a member of that community, in this case Hungary,” Deutsch wrote to Metsola, reminding the Maltese EPP politician that in September 2020, Barley called for the “financial starvation of Poland and Hungary, a statement for which she has not yet apologized to the citizens of the countries concerned.”
“The extremist behavior represented by Katarina Barley is poisoning European cooperation and undermining the authority of the European Parliament, and therefore, must not be allowed to go unchallenged,” he stressed. “There have already been instances where a vice-president of the European Parliament has been removed from office for making an unacceptable statement,” Deutsch pointed out, adding that in his view, Barley has crossed the line with her behavior, making her unworthy of being vice-president.
Judging by the European Parliament mainstream’s attitude towards Hungary, Barley is unlikely to face any consequences for her anti-Hungarian rhetoric.
Photos via the European Parliament