Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party and its government support speeding up the European Union’s Article 7 procedure against the country, Fidesz MEP Balázs Hidvéghi told a press conference on Tuesday, reacting to a letter urging the European Council to step up the procedure, signed by the leaders of five European parliamentary party groups.
The letter was sent to European Council head Charles Michel. Manfred Weber, the head of Fidesz’s party family, the European People’s Party (EPP), was among the signatories.
Hidvéghi said that the party’s MEPs have earlier called for a speedy conclusion of the procedure, which he called a “political witch hunt”.
Fidesz is ready to face all hearings and reviews but rejects double standards, Hidvéghi added.
On the other hand, Fidesz rejects the letter’s other demand to involve the European Parliament in the procedure, Hidveghi said. Such a step would be “uncalled for and against the [Lisbon] European Treaty”, he said, as the EP’s role ended with voting on the report of Green MEP Judith Sargentini in September 2018 which led to launching the procedure.
Hidvéghi insisted the proposal was part of a long-standing aim of the EP to expand its authority, and said the procedure was politically biased.
The letter is also part of a “pro-migration effort” to keep anti-migration countries such as Hungary under constant pressure, Hidvéghi said.
Hidvéghi also noted that the EPP, where Fidesz’s membership was suspended last March, is divided in its support of the procedure against Hungary concerning the state of the rule of law in the country, and another procedure against Poland, reviewing the independence of the judiciary.
Meanwhile, László Trócsányi, also a Fidesz MEP, told commercial news channel HirTV that the Article 7 procedure was “losing steam”.
The government wants to wrap up the procedure but the European Council “is distancing itself from the topic”, Trócsányi said, adding that the situation raised questions about the EU’s credibility.
Support for Hungary is growing within the EPP and the European Council should reach a decision “but it’s having a hard time handling the matter”, the former justice minister said.
The procedure started in 2018 but is going nowhere, Trócsányi said, adding that while the Hungarian government has been pushing to get to the end of the procedure, “it is being ignored”.