European People’s Party stays away from EP debate about Hungary
Brussels, December 3 (MTI) – MEPs of the European People’s Party group, including representatives of Hungary’s ruling Fidesz, stayed away from the European Parliament’s plenary debate about Hungary on Wednesday, in protest of the legislative body’s “attacks” against Hungary.
Hungary’s EPP representatives said in a statement: “Hungary is once again on the agenda of the European Parliament. Although the reason for the debate is said to be concern about fundamental rights, the real reason behind it is Hungary’s responsible immigration policy. The real reason why the Left is attacking Hungary is because we oppose mandatory migrant quotas. As a protest against this political attack, representatives of the European People’s Party, including those of Fidesz and the Christian Democrats, stayed away from this act. Only the group’s designated speaker addressed the debate, objecting to the double standards against Hungary.”
The group said “the act is up”, arguing that the European Commission had issued a written reply before the debate that it does not see a reason to launch a procedure against Hungary. “It has become clear that once again, Hungary is the victim of a politically-driven deceitful attack,” they said.
The MEPs said Hungary prioritised protecting Hungarian and European citizens along with the right to free movement in the EU when it made a commitment to protect the Schengen borders. They added that Hungary’s focus was on keeping to EU rules when it decided to put an end to illegal migration.
The MEPs said Hungary’s EPP group members remain committed to protecting the Schengen rules and the EU’s external borders, and will continue to speak out against mandatory migrant quotas.
EU justice commissioner Vera Jourova said that although the EC will continue to monitor the situation in Hungary, it sees “no systemic threat to democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights”. She noted that the EC has launched several procedures against Hungary for infringing EU laws, but has found that “conditions to start a rule of law framework procedure are not fulfilled”.
Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi told MTI in a statement that although he will never support sanctions against Hungary, the EU must take the appropriate steps if it sees that a member state ignores the bloc’s founding treaties. Sanctioning a government, however, is not the same as sanctioning a country, Ujhelyi insisted.
Democratic Coalition MEP Peter Niedermuller said the government is systematically and deliberately weakening the EU with its policies. He said the EU lacks the political courage to actually tackle the problem caused by the Hungarian government.
Dialogue for Hungary MEP Benedek Javor said if the EU fails to act on the Hungarian government now, it will later be too weak to do anything about the situation in Hungary.