Two days after Hungarian MEP József Szájer of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party suddenly resigned on Sunday, the Belgian media reported on an MEP who participated in an illegal party during lockdown, broken up by Brussels police, which local media described as an “orgy” with 25 people present, mainly men. Szájer later confirmed that he is the MEP in question, denied that drugs found in his bag were his, and apologized for violating lockdown rules by attending the party, extending his apology to his family, colleagues, and his supporters.
József Szájer, an MEP of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, has resigned on Sunday saying that his decision marked the end of a “long period of reflection,” adding that the daily political struggle had been “an increasing mental strain” on him for some time, noting his 30-year career as a politician. The MEP said his resignation was not related to the current debate (related to the plan linking EU funds to rule of law criteria) on the European stage, which he said he agreed with and supported the position of the Hungarian government.
However, only two days after his resignation, the Belgian media reported an illegal party held during the strict lockdown, which was broken up by the Brussels police after a call from a neighbor. Police broke up the party because the current coronavirus rules state that there cannot be more than four people present at a gathering at the same time.
According to the local media, among the attendees were several diplomats and an MEP. The party, described as an orgy by many foreign reports, was held 30 meters from the Brussels city hall in a private flat close to police headquarters. It was attended by 25 people, mainly men (other sources say only men were present) and drugs were also found at the scene by authorities. As the police arrived, the MEP tried to escape through a window and down a drain pipe, but he injured himself on his hand. Drugs were also found in his bag.
It was first reported in a video of the most-read Belgian newspaper HLN, that the representative may have been Hungarian, but the information was not officially confirmed. It was later confirmed that the MEP had since resigned and later they also said that the representative is a member of Hungary’s conservative Fidesz party, including his monograms and listing his previous political positions. By then it was clear that the MEP in question was the recently-resigned Szájer. At half past four in the afternoon, Szájer admitted in a statement that he was present at the “house party,” as he put it, mentioned in the newspaper articles.
In the statement, Szájer acknowledged that he was present at the event and indicated to police officers at the scene that he was an MEP. However, because he did not have his ID with him, the authorities investigated the incident and issued him a verbal warning before escorting him home.
However, according to the Brussels Prosecutor’s Office and media reports, as every attendee of the party was naked, they could not identify themselves. According to the Belgian press, “a passer-by reported to the police that he had seen a man climbing down the drainpipe; he was able to identify the man. The man’s hands were bloody. It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing.” Szájer was then escorted back to his home by the police, where he identified himself with his diplomatic passport.”
FactJózsef Szájer is one of Fidesz’s best-known and most successful politicians. In 1988, he participated in the founding of the party. Back then, he was an assistant professor at the Department of Roman Law of the Faculty of Law at Eötvös Loránd University. He participated in the work of the Opposition Roundtable from 1989 to 1990, and from 1990 to 2004 he was a Member of Parliament. During this time he held a number of important political positions, including as leader of the Fidesz Parliamentary Group, chairman of the European Integration Committee, and from 2002 to 2004 he was the vice-chairman of the Hungarian Parliament. He was elected a Member of the European Parliament in 2004 and was Vice-President of the Group of the European People’s Party and European Democrats from 2004 to 2009. Since 2009, he has been the Vice-President for Legislation of the European People’s Party. He was also a member of the Council of the European People’s Party from 2000 to 2011. Between 2003 and 2009, he was the head of the Hungarian Delegation of the Group of the European People’s Party and European Democrats. Between 2009 and 2011, he was the chairman of the Hungarian Delegation of the European People’s Party. He wrote the new constitution of Hungary, which is known for its very conservative and Christian values-based approach.
Police also reported finding ecstasy pills in Szájer’s possession, but the politician said the drugs were not his. Szájer said he did not know how the pills ended up in his possession, adding that he had reaffirmed this in an official statement to police. Szájer also denied allegations that he had used drugs at the party, saying he had offered to be tested, but the police declined his offer.
In his statement, the Hungarian politician apologized for irresponsibly violating lockdown rules by attending the party, extending his apology to his family, colleagues, and his supporters. He said he was prepared to face any penalties for his actions, which he regrets, adding that he has faced the consequences of the incident by resigning as an MEP.
Featured photo by Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI