In a highly unusual move, the Government of Hungary led by Viktor Orbán has blocked the Hungarian ALDE member Momentum from being represented in the European Committee of the Regions (CoR).
With two sitting MEPs, Momentum played a key role in the coalition that recently succeeded in taking control away from Orbán’s party Fidesz in key cities, such as the capital Budapest. Yet, the party has been left out of the Hungarian CoR delegation. The official explanation given is that Momentum is not represented in the Hungarian national parliament. While it is true that the EU Treaty allows Member States freely establish the eligibility criteria for their CoR delegations, such a rule goes completely against the spirit of appointment to the European Committee of the Regions and also contradicts a precedent which already exists in a previous Hungarian delegation. Previously, a member of the Szdsz party was able to continue in the CoR while the party was no longer represented in the national parliament.
ALDE Party President Hans van Baalen commented: "Viktor Orbán and his party are demonstrating how afraid they are of Momentum and democracy. Our Hungarian liberal friends have a legitimate case to be represented in the CoR, and yet the Hungarian regime finds national criteria to prevent a party which has been successful at local and European level from playing its legitimate role in a European body that represents subnational government. It is yet another illustration of Orbán's fear of democracy, but if they think this will defeat Momentum, they are wrong. It is in fact extra encouragement for Momentum to keep fighting to offer the Hungarian people a truly democratic, open and modern alternative to Fidesz, and Momentum has the full support of the ALDE Party in their struggle."