S&D MEPs today condemned the emergency measures taken in Hungary in response to the Covid-19 crisis that allow Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule by decree, without parliamentary scrutiny and for an indefinite period of time.
The S&D Group in the European Parliament is calling for the Council and the Commission to make sure that there are consequences when core EU values are breached – through an effective EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights and by making EU funds conditional on respect for the rule of law.
Iratxe García, S&D Group president, said:
“Orbán has cynically taken advantage of the pandemic to adopt emergency laws allowing him to rule indefinitely by decree, like a proper dictator. At the same time he also moved in on free speech by imposing severe punishments for anyone supposedly spreading disinformation, further restricting what is left of the free media in Hungary.
“These are only a few of a long row of measures Orbán has taken to dismantle democracy in Hungary. Still, the EU has done nothing concrete to punish him for his actions. This is nothing less than shameful, shaking the very foundations of our Union and trashing our international reputation as a beacon for freedom, democracy and fundamental rights. I call on the member states and the Commission to urgently unblock the negotiations on the proposal for conditionality of EU funds, so that we can finally put some concrete sanctions in place. EU funds should not go to those in breach of democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights.”
Birgit Sippel, S&D spokesperson on civil liberties, justice and home affairs, said:
“The Covid-19 pandemic has led to emergency laws being introduced across Europe, but only one EU government now has the power to govern by decree, without any time limit or democratic accountability: Hungary.
“The emergency law in Hungary has opened the door to all types of abuses which Orbán and his Fidesz party are now capitalising on. If we want to avoid lining the pockets of anti-democratic forces in Europe, the Council has the power to link EU funding to adhering to the EU’s core values and finally agree on a real and meaningful EU mechanism on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights.
“Our calls on the Commission, the Council and the European People’s Party to respond to Orbán’s repeated attacks on democracy and the rule of law continue to fall on deaf ears. How many more freedoms need to be cut back before the Council and the Commission speak up and act? What more will it take for the EPP to expel Fidesz from their political group?”