EU-Hungary: Orbán under scrutiny as MEPs urge defence of core values

Written by Péter Niedermüller, Esteban González Pons and Martina Anderson on 15 June 2015 in Opinion
Opinion

Parliament has passed a resolution condemning the situation in Hungary, but the EU needs new tools to protect human rights, warn MEPs.

Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU) is co-rapporteur of parliament's resolution on the situation in Hungary

In recent years, we have seen an increasing number of breaches of fundamental rights and values in Europe; some of them were isolated incidents, others were of a systematic nature. 

These examples point to how weak the EU is when it comes to protecting its core values. I am saddened that this issue had to be raised because of the Hungarian government's actions and policies in recent years.

The tools provided by the treaties have proven to be insufficient in dealing with these systematic attacks. That why I firmly believe that Europe needs a new mechanism, based on clear indicators and thresholds that would automatically be triggered in case of such breaches to avoid double standards. This is what this resolution calls for.



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It also sends a strong message to Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán's government: the EU is a family based on common values that cannot be ridiculed or used for political purposes.

 

Esteban González Pons (ES) is a vice-chair of parliament's EPP group

Hungary is not the only country facing the challenge of migration - it is a challenge faced by the whole of Europe, and together we must find the best way to tackle this problem. 

This means that neither the European People's Party (EPP) group nor parliament can afford to avoid an extended debate on migration in Hungary and in other countries where extremist and xenophobic ideas are on the rise.

We must fight these extremist views with words, the rule of law and our democratic tools. In a Europe of 500 million people, we need a space for debate on migration. In this sense, we believe consulting citizens is always good, but this has to be done respectfully - unnecessary confrontation should be avoided.

The EPP group has always been firmly opposed to the death penalty. It is a fundamental principle of our political family. In Hungary, there has only been a national debate on this issue and this does not mean that they will accept capital punishment. 

Orbán has already made it clear that this issue is not on the table. Therefore, we have no doubt that Fidesz, as a democratic party and member of the EPP family will respect the EU charter of fundamental rights and prohibit the death penalty, as it has always done.

 

Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL, UK) is co-rapporteur of parliament's resolution on the situation in Hungary

I welcome parliament's support for the resolution on Hungary. It is important to point out that human rights are universal and their violation should be challenged universally. 

While the EU has failed to address the economic crisis from a fair and people-centred perspective, it has been a positive force for human rights generally. Therefore, the apparent denigration of such rights in Hungary in recent years has caused much concern to those committed to them and should be condemned.

The idea of reintroducing the death penalty in Hungary, as suggested by prime minister Orbán, is a breach of the EU charter of fundamental rights, which as a member state Hungary are obliged to uphold.

The Hungarian government's anti-immigration campaign is also very worrying, especially in the context of the humanitarian crisis in the Mediterranean, which requires solidarity and compassion rather than the promotion of dangerous stereotypes.

There is a worrying trend of rolling back human rights standards. We see this tendency in the British government - it intends to repeal the 1998 human rights act, which gives legal effect in the north of Ireland to the European convention on human rights and underpins the Irish peace process.

Although we are all entitled to human rights, we must fight to secure them and always continue the struggle to protect them. This is why we should monitor them in our own member states and the EU, as well as abroad.

 

About the author

Péter Niedermüller (S&D, HU) is co-author of parliament's resolution on the situation in Hungary

Esteban González Pons (ES) is a vice-chair of parliament's EPP group

Martina Anderson (GUE/NGL, UK) is co-author of parliament's resolution on the situation in Hungary

 

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