The European Commission has identified issues in Hungary that indicate sound management of European Union monies are at risk, European Union Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders said in a European Parliament debate in Strasbourg on Tuesday.
“I very much regret. that I am not in a position today to be able to report back to you about positive trends when it comes to the rule of law in Poland and Hungary,” Reynders said in the debate on the ongoing hearings under the EU’s Article 7 procedure regarding the two countries.
The EC does not hesitate to use the tools at its disposal to protect the bloc’s fundamental values and financial interests and will not delay in initiating proceedings if the rule of law is under threat, the commissioner said.
Reynders noted that the EC last week activated against Hungary the mechanism linking EU funding to the rule of law. He said
the rule-of-law issues identified by the EC “affect or seriously risk affecting” the sound management of the EU budget and the EU’s financial interests.
Addressing the debate, Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi said the accusations levelled at Hungary were “not factual, they are not of a legal nature, but clearly are only political”.
The left-liberal forces “propagating the new religion, multiculturalism and open society a la [US financier] George Soros” do not like Hungarian policies that allow the country to decide freely on matters that do not fall under EU competency, Hidvéghi said.
They criticise Hungary because it distinguishes between refugees and economic immigrants, defines marriage as the union of a man and woman and asserts that the father is a man and the mother a woman, he said.
Hungary more recently had “come under attack” over its decision to protect children and its stance that parents should have the exclusive right to decide on the sex education of their children.
Those who claim press freedom is lacking in Hungary do not like that “unlike in western Europe, in Hungary, right-wing, conservative, Christian Democratic media exists and flourishes”, he said.
All of Hungary benefits from the country’s economic growth, otherwise the government would not keep getting re-elected with such a large majority, the MEP said.
Brussels had become a “self-righteous postmodern witch hunt club” which used sanctions as blackmail and wanted to “impose a radical and narrow ideology on everyone else”.
It is time to stop the attacks against Hungary and respect Hungarians’ right to decide on matters concerning their country, he said.