Hungary: PM Orban to comply with EU laws
Orban’s increasingly autocratic approach and anti-European views reached tipping point when a law that was hastily adopted to ‘amend’ Hungary’s higher education system was clearly targeted at one institution, the University of Central Europe (CEU). Fellow EPP parties were exasperated by this.
The EPP was meeting before the EU-27 summit on the Brexit guidelines. Nevertheless, recent events meant that Orban was the first item on the agenda.
The EPP’s tolerance of Orban’s Fidesz party is particularly difficult for the Polish Civic Platform party, which is also an EPP member. Civic Platform is standing against a similar approach to fundamental rights and Europe adopted by the ruling Polish Law and Justice Party (ECR Group), which is taking similar action on media plurality and independence, NGOs and the judicial system.
EPP President Joseph Daul made a strong statement insisting on Fidesz’s compliance with EU rules. EPP will no longer accept that with Fidesz “any basic freedoms are restricted or rule of law is disregarded” including academic freedom.
Daul stated: “The EPP wants the CEU to remain open, deadlines suspended and dialogue with the US to begin.
“The EPP believes that NGOs are an integral part of any healthy democracy, that they represent the civil society and that they must be respected.
“The EPP has also made it clear to our Hungarian partners that the blatant anti-EU rhetoric of the ‘Let’s stop Brussels’ consultation is unacceptable. The constant attacks on Europe, which Fidesz has launched for years, have reached a level we cannot tolerate.”
After an open and frank conversation with Prime Minister Orban during the EPP presidency meeting this morning, EPP asked Fidesz and the Hungarian authorities to take all necessary steps to comply with the Commission’s request.
Prime Minister Orban has reassured the EPP that Hungary will act accordingly. ■