I am gravely concerned about Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s assault on Hungarian democracy, an attack taking place in the heart of the European Community – and within the ranks of your own parliamentary group, the European People’s Party. (Read MEP József Szájer’s response here)
The European People’s Party claims to stand for responsibility, respect, solidarity and justice, and your group’s position paper on the ideal European social model rightly maintains that “populism must be eliminated within the EU.” The EPP’s continued toleration, from within, of a member of the European People’s Party who openly disdains the values the group claims to uphold, is no longer tenable.
As the French Catholic La Croix (The Cross) news site commented on April 10, “Following efforts against the constitutional court, the central bank, the media, and cultural and educational institutions, the Hungarian Prime Minister has started his spring offensive against the remaining opposition.” You are probably aware by now that this includes an attack on the Central European University, NGO’s, refugees, Roma minorities, and now the EU itself.
The European project is in crisis. Your group’s willingness to look the other way when the government of a member country is chipping away at European values from within is only further contributing to eroding faith in the European Union.
The European People’s Party stands as a powerful force within the European Parliament. I trust and hope that European values will be vigorously protected by the EPP, and that you will act quickly and decisively in condemning Viktor Orbán’s anti-European, anti-democratic, and illiberal politics.
Professor of Sociology, New York University
21 August 2017
(Read MEP József Szájer’s response here)