Hungarian MEPs were divided in their views on the introduction of a mechanism that links payouts of EU funding to member states’ observance of the principles of the rule of law in a plenary session of the European Parliament on Wednesday, with ruling Fidesz opposing such a mechanism and the opposition parties backing it.
Fidesz’s Tamás Deutsch said his party was in agreement with leading members of the European People’s Party who oppose the introduction of a rule-of-law conditionality mechanism.
Deutsch cited EPP leader Donald Tusk as saying years ago that the allocation of EU funds should not be subject to purely political criteria. (It is worth mentioning that Tusk supports the current rule of law mechanism proposal.) He also cited former European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, another great critic of PM Orbán and the state of rule of law in Hungary, as saying earlier that “making threats” was not a sufficient way of enforcing respect for the rule of law. Deutsch referred to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s comments regarding the need for unanimity among member states on the issue of the bloc’s next budget and post-pandemic recovery fund.
Fidesz and the Christian Democrats support the EPP’s opposition to all means of political blackmail, he said.
Katalin Cseh of the Momentum Movement said there was no need for unanimity on the rule-of-law mechanism. The EP will not back down on this issue, she insisted.
“Any intent that points in the opposite direction is a historic mistake and political weakness,” she said.
Cseh said the “attempt to pacify autocrats” was a “grave error”, and urged European conservatives to stand up for European values and the European people.
Jobbik’s Márton Gyöngyösi said the EU needed ways to ensure that its laws are enforced by member states, “otherwise Europe will never be strong”. He said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government was “dividing Europe from within”, adding that the bloc’s existing divisions could only be healed by unity.
István Ujhelyi of the Socialist Party said it would be a “historic crime” if EU leaders “once again stabbed the European Parliament representing the will of nearly 450 million European citizens in the back” by “making deals with mobsters”.
“Fidesz sees the issue of the veto against the EU budget and virus recovery fund as a battle between central and eastern Europe and the West,” Ujhelyi said in a statement. “I see it as common sense and European honesty versus petty mob bosses.”
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