Brussels, June 10 (MTI) – The European Parliament on Wednesday passed a resolution condemning Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s statements on the possibility of reinstating the death penalty in Hungary and the government’s recent questionnaire on migration and terrorism.
The resolution, passed with 362 votes in favour, 247 against and 88 abstentions, calls on the European Commission to initiate an in-depth monitoring process on the situation of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary, and report back to the EP on its findings before September.
The resolution says reinstating the death penalty would be incompatible with the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights and would therefore be in breach of the EU Treaties and Charter of fundamental rights. MEPs noted that a serious breach by a member state could trigger the Article 7 procedure, resulting in the withdrawal of the given state’s voting rights in the Council.
Addressing the national consultation questionnaire on migration and terrorism, the resolution says that although member states have the right to initiate consultations, “the content and the language used in this particular consultation is highly misleading, biased, and unbalanced; establishing a biased and direct link between migratory phenomena and security threats”.
The ruling Fidesz party labeled the resolution as a “second Tavares report”, but welcomed support from the European People’s Party. “The second Tavares report was passed with the liberals, the left, the greens and the communists all joining forces,” Fidesz lawmaker Gergely Gulyas said, adding that his party has a clear anti-immigration stance. He reiterated that Hungary rejects the quota system on migrants put forward by the Commission, and said the government would rather tighten border controls.
MEPs of the Fidesz-Christian Democrat alliance said that the resolution was misleading and “full of mistakes”. They said that leftist and liberal supporters of the document were “deliberately inciting fear” and they “do not refrain from lies to promote their own political goals”. In their statement, MEPs of the ruling parties said that the “leftist, pro-immigrant policy is not lifelike” and noted that the number of illegal immigrants in Hungary had increased by 20 times in the past two years. “Massive legalisation of immigration would further increase social tension in Europe,” they added.
Hungary’s Socialist MEPs welcomed the statement as a “suitable, principled and firm response to Orban’s provocation”, adding that adoption of the resolution completed “isolation of the Orban-government in Europe”. “Smearing European values cannot pass in the EU without a reaction; nor can the irresponsible and populist games of one of its prime ministers involving political extremism, xenophobia, and inciting hatred,” the Socialist statement said.
MEPs of the leftist Democratic Coalition said that though the EP had adtopted a draft by the leftist, green, and liberal groups, the draft proposed by the European People’s Party was at least as critical. They quoted the EPP draft as saying that Hungary’s national consultation was extremely misleading, biassed, and unbalanced, while the death penalty would run contrary to fundamental values and rights of the EU.
Zoltan Balczo, MEP of radical nationalist Jobbik, on the other hand, said that “the EU does not even observe its own values, namely the freedom of expression”. He argued that Hungary’s national consultation does not constitute such a grave violation of European values as to put on the EP’s agenda. He added that his party’s MEPs voted against the resolution. He also insisted that passing the non-binding resolution was but “a farce to demonstrate how bravely Orban defends not only himself and his government but the whole of Hungary against a mean attack”.