Video summary of the debate between PM Viktor Orbán and MEPs
A video summary appeared on the webpage of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists & Democrats in the European Parliament on 24th January 2012. The debate took place on 18th January 2012 between Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán and the Members of the European Parliament on the recent political developments in Hungary. You will find interventions from Members of the Socialists and Democrats; among them S&D leader Hannes Swoboda, Birgit Sippel, Kinga Göncz, Tanja Fajon, Ivailo Kalfin and Boris Zala.
See the video summary below:
Hungary has to adhere to the same criteria as those required from EU candidates
The new president of the European Parliament Martin Schulz called on Wednesday (January 18) for Hungary to adhere to the Copenhagen Criteria, saying it is not possible for the EU to require conditions from candidates that are not met by members. "Adhering to the Copenhagen Criteria is a requirement for on the rule of law and democracy is a prerequisite for all candidate countries, and so it has to be clear that adhering to these criteria is a prerequisite for all members of the EU," Schulz told the EU parliament. Speaking during a visit to the EU parliament in Strasbourg, Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said his country would address EU concerns in an effort to stave off legal action by Brussels and win an aid package from the EU and IMF. Viktor Orbán's conservative Fidesz party has faced widespread criticism for tightening control over public institutions including the judiciary, central bank and data protection agency, as well as the media. "No it is not a totalitarian regime. There is a free press in Hungary, the people of Hungary have freedom of speech and a guarantee of rights. But there are attempts to limit them, and we must oppose all the efforts by a certain party to get into all levels of society, on a social or constitutional level, and put all the levels under the control of a sole party" Schulz said. Analysts say Hungary, whose economy has come to a standstill, needs the outside help to restore investors' confidence ruined by the government's unpredictable policies.
The European Commission is right to finally take action against Hungary
According to the Greens – European Free Alliance co-president Member of European Parliament (MEP) Rebecca Harms „though belated, the Commission is right to finally take action to address the incompatibility of some of the cardinal laws proposed by the Hungarian government with EU law, namely those threatening the independence of the judiciary, the central bank and the data protection authority. In focusing on three narrow areas of concern, the Commission assessment misses the bigger picture however and fails to deal with the broader thrust of the democratic scale-back in Hungary, which is completely at odds with the core values on which the EU is founded. The Commission also fails to deal with other cardinal laws, which will undermine political and media pluralism in Hungary, and which embody the authoritarian drive of the Orbán government." According to the other co-president of the Greens in the European Parliament MEP Daniel Cohn-Bendit „the narrow focus of the Commission misses the point. The EU must take stronger action in defence of the core values on which the Union is founded and prevent the slide away from democracy in Hungary, which is totally at odds with the interests of its citizens and its economy. The Greens Group has already called for the initiation of a procedure under Article 7 of the EU Treaty to examine whether Hungary is in breach of EU fundamental values. According to MEP Cohn-Bendit it is still not too late for the Hungarian government to change course though, and the Greens will be making this point to Viktor Orbán in the EP debate tomorrow."