Ahead of a crucial vote in the European Parliament’s civil liberties, justice, and home affairs committee on the rule of law in Hungary, leading S&D MEPs have called on their counterparts from the EPP group to finally take action against the authoritarian drift of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The committee will vote this afternoon on launching infringement procedures against the Hungarian government under Article 7 of the EU treaties for consistent and systemic breaches of core EU values. This could lead to the eventual suspension of voting rights in the European Council and to the EU taking back control over certain EU funds.
S&D Group president Udo Bullmann said:
“For the last seven years, Viktor Orbán has been eroding the basic principles of democracy in Hungary. He has attacked independent media, non-governmental organisations, and is now turning his eye on the independence of the judiciary. Having strong independent institutions that provide checks on those in power is an essential part of a functioning democracy; this is under threat in Hungary.
“It is a disgrace that all of these actions have been taken by a member of the supposedly pro-European EPP family. EPP leaders at the European level as well as in the member states need to finally stand up for the European values they say they believe in, and back real action against the Hungarian government.”
S&D Group vice-president responsible for the rule of law, Josef Weidenholzer added:
“In the last month we have seen an EU member state launch an unprecedented attack on non-governmental organisations. Viktor Orbán’s ‘Stop Soros’ campaign is a xenophobic attack on those fighting to uphold Hungary’s basic human rights obligations. This is just the latest in a long range of assaults on independent organisations in Hungary. Enough is enough; the EU needs to finally show that it can act against those that breach its fundamental values.
“We urge colleagues from across the political spectrum, and particularly from the EPP Group, to do the right thing and vote to launch article 7 procedures this afternoon. For too long Viktor Orbán has been able to act with impunity, eroding the basic principles of democracy in Hungary. This is more important than party politics; we must show that the EU can act when its core values are threatened.”