31 May, 2023

EU must protect rule of law during Hungary’s Council Presidency

Ahead of this week’s General Affairs Council of the EU hearings on the Article 7 procedures against the Hungarian and Polish Governments for their breaches of the rule of law, the Renew Europe Group urged European Affairs Ministers to accelerate the proceedings. 

Sophie in ‘t Veld MEP (D66, NL), Renew Europe coordinator in the European Parliament Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), said: 

“Clearly the Orbán government is wholly unsuitable to be the face of the Council for six months. Europe shall not be led by homophobic, kleptocrat, Putin poodles. For many years the Council has ducked the issue of Orbán, now they will have to choose what side of history they want to be on. Parliament will determine its own course independently. We shall not give any podium to the Orbán government, instead Parliament should give the podium to those Hungarians who have been silenced under Orbán. Judges, independent media, LGBTI people, and so many others.” 

Later this week, the European Parliament will vote on a resolution concerning the declining state of the rule of law in Hungary, in which the Hungarian Government’s suitability to fulfil its upcoming task as President of the Council in 2024 is heavily questioned. The proper handling of issues concerning the respect for fundamental rights and the rule of law cannot be guaranteed. The Renew Europe Group is urging the Council to find a solution before Hungary’s rotating EU presidency to make sure that Orbán’s well-established departure from the EU’s core values and incompliance with EU law does not affect the EU’s legislative work during the period. 

Moritz Körner MEP (FDP, DE), Member of LIBE and co-shadow rapporteur on the resolution, said: 

“In the direction the Hungarian government is currently going, a Hungarian EU presidency would be like electing the schoolyard bully Orbán as school headmaster. Holding the rotating presidency means to speak on behalf of the 27 Member States, and he is not up for the task right now.” 

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