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May 15, 2020 - Zoltán Kovács

Brussels is part of the problem, not the solution

The question is: Can an institution that undermines its member states’ efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus even call itself “European”? Clearly, it cannot.

While the European Union, along with its member states, is currently fighting one of the most serious crises in a century, the left-liberal majority of the European Parliament thought it was a good idea to bring the anti-Hungary witch hunt to a whole new level.

Earlier today, in a European Parliament debate on the “emergency Legislation in Hungary and its impact on the Rule of Law and fundamental rights,” MEPs attacked Hungary and its handling of the coronavirus, expressing “concerns” over our rule of law. No surprise there; we have already grown used to the false allegations, threats and empty words coming from the Soros Orchestra’s Brussels headquarters.

But this time, something was different. They decided to conduct the show trial without giving us a chance to make our case. Here’s what happened.

Originally, the EP wanted to have Prime Minister Orbán attend the debate. Immediately upon receiving the invitation from EP President David Maria Sassoli, PM Orbán responded that due to the fact that all of his “strength and energy is absorbed in efforts against the coronavirus epidemic,” he would not be able to attend; Orbán requested Sassoli to allow Justice Minister Judit Varga an opportunity to address the plenary and represent the Hungarian Government.

PM Orbán’s request was denied, and Minister Varga was not allowed to deliver her remarks.

And that was very unfortunate. 

Had the EP listened to Minister Varga’s address, they would know that, unlike many other member states, Hungary has succeeded in avoiding an exponential growth of confirmed coronavirus cases and managed to effectively flatten the epidemic curve. This has been largely due to the government’s swift, effective measures and our oft-criticized Coronavirus Protection Act, the very legislation called into question by the EP plenary debate.

“In the current situation, EU citizens, Hungarians and non-Hungarians alike, expect the European Union to support member states in the fight for their lives, health, jobs and well-being – all in all their future, by way of all means necessary,” Minister Varga wrote in the speech that she was unable to deliver the EP. With this recurring witch hunt, however, “the European Parliament failed to live up to this expectation” and proved that Brussels is, in fact, “part of the problem, not the solution,” Judit Varga said.

It cannot be contested that taking extraordinary steps to fight the coronavirus epidemic should be allowed for all EU member states, provided that those steps are temporary, necessary and proportionate. Hungary’s extraordinary measures meet all three criteria. What’s more, the special rights granted to the Hungarian Government are not “unlimited,” neither in terms of power, nor duration. In fact, “Hungary’s extraordinary laws aren’t even unique compared to other European states’ responses to the coronavirus crisis,” Minister Varga wrote.

It’s particularly telling that some weeks ago the European Parliament came up with the false allegation that, via the Coronavirus Protection Act, our government suspended the Hungarian Parliament – only to then criticize the decisions of this “suspended parliament” just a few days later.

In case there are still questioning parties, “don’t worry, the Hungarian Parliament – in contrast to the EP – is alive and kicking,” Varga concluded.

So, the obvious question arises: Can an institution that undermines its member states’ efforts to halt the spread of the coronavirus even call itself “European”? Clearly, it cannot; although we do still hope that the European Parliament can finally find a way to rise to the challenge. 

We may suggest that its members stop chasing wild geese and instead focus on the crisis at hand.