Fidesz MEP rejects “political blackmail” from Brussels

Tamás Deutsch said Hungary would remain pro-peace, “no matter how much it irks Brussels bureaucrats”.

Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch has rejected what he called “political blackmail” from Brussels, pledging that Hungary would maintain its pro-peace stance, in response to European Commissioner Didier Reynders, who said the Article 7 procedure against the country would stay active “until all issues are resolved”.

At the European Parliament’s plenary debate on the state of the rule of law in Hungary, Justice Commissioner Reynders cited EC President Ursula von der Leyen as saying that access to EU funding must come together with respect for the values connecting the EU. Deutsch said Hungary would remain pro-peace, “no matter how much it irks Brussels bureaucrats”. “We need immediate ceasefire and peace talks and not the mindless funding of the war in Ukraine,” he added. “No matter the machinations in Brussels,” Hungarians will decide for themselves who they want to allow to live in their country, he said. “We reject illegal migration and will protect our borders. We will protect our freedom and national sovereignty, even if they hold debates on Hungary every week and issue resolutions against Hungary every month,” he said. At the debate, Reynders said Hungary had kept its promise to strengthen the independence of the judiciary and to curb political influence in the sectors, which opened the way “to the access to certain cohesion funds.” At the same time, the EC is ready to defend its December resolution on the access to cohesion funds, even before European courts, he said. Issues remained regarding the rights of LGBTI persons, academic freedom and asylum rights, he added. Funding remains blocked based on the decisions safeguarding the European budget, in connection with issues concerning corruption and the transparency of public procurement procedures, he added. He called for the Article 7 procedure to remain on the agenda until all underlying problems were solved. The Commission is ready to continue the dialogue with the Hungarian government to resolve all problems, he added. Momentum MEP Anna Donáth called the Article 7 procedure “important but not satisfactory in the case of Hungary”. Insisting that a recently published recording showed “the public prosecutor collaborating with the government”, Donáth said: “We must say that EU monies are not safe in the hands of the Hungarian government. I am asking the Commission to back a proposal by me and my colleague, Katalin Cseh, to make all payments conditional on Hungary joining the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, as that is the only way to ensure that the EU funding for Hungary will serve the Hungarian people, rather than enrich [Prime Minister] Viktor Orbán’s circles,” she said.