Initiated by the Greens, a debate on the question of Hungary’s rule of law made it to the EP plenary’s agenda once again. It had no real justification. There were no new developments that should have prompted yet another debate, but that didn’t stop them. In his regular Friday morning interview on state radio, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made it clear that he would not bother participating, calling the plenary a “Soros-style session, election rally and campaign event.”
During the debate MEPs of the EPP Group defended Hungary’s well-established stance on migration.
MEP Tamás Deutsch pointed out that “the reasons for initiating the current debate are merely pretenses in order to have arguments with Hungary” because they consider it useful to their campaign for the European Parliamentary elections. He added that the European Union intends to dictate “who we should live together with in our country” and they try to “punish countries that reject migration.”
“Contrary to you,” Deutsch said, “we, Hungarians, are saying no to immigration.”
MEP Kinga Gál, EPP Vice-President, highlighted that if all Member States were to be measured on an equal footing, infringement proceedings could be brought against many. She added that the ongoing assault on Hungary is a textbook case of double standards.
“Today’s debate is an evidence of a double standard, which has unfortunately become a practice in the EP against some Member States,” MEP Csaba Sógor said, adding that it has become customary within the EU to go after Hungary for issues and practices “that exist in several Member States, such as overtime regulation, or administrative courts.” Sógor added that nobody can seriously think that “the EU will benefit from or the cohesion among Member States could be built by dealing with political problems rather than the real problems of EU citizens.”
“In Paris, we have witnessed violence and brutality under the guise of protest and struggle for civil and labor rights,” said MEP Marijana Petir. “But in the European Parliament, we are not discussing the violence in the French streets where hundreds of thousands of people were involved, and in which a dozen people were killed, we are already discussing Hungary and the reforms that are being pursued by a legitimately elected government,” said the EPP member from Croatia.
In an interview following the EP session, State Secretary for EU Affairs at the Prime Minister’s Office Szabolcs Takács said that “the Brussels debate against Hungary shouldn’t even be called a debate” as anyone could say anything there without any justification or proof. “No serious government should attend such an event because it was a comedy,” he said.
“We didn’t expect anything else. This debate was the direct continuation of the Sargentini Report, trying to discredit Hungary. And it seems, even that one wasn’t enough,” MEP László Tőkés said.