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Reactions to the Tavares report

June 22nd, 2013

Left-wing pundits contend that the government is trying to downplay external criticism by labeling its adversaries as biased left-wing partisans. They also hint that as a result of the looming elections in the EU and Hungary, the debates between the country and the EU institutions will probably intensify.

On June 19, the European Parliament’s civil liberties committee adopted the recommendations drafted by MEP Rui Tavares (see BudaPost through May 10 ) related to what its author considers as a violation of basic rights. The report proposes several amendments to the Hungarian Fundamental Law, in order to “restore European democratic norms”. Fidesz MEPs submitted more than 500 amendments to the draft report, most of which were voted down. The plenary session of the European Parliament will vote on the draft in a month’s time.

In its headline, Magyar Nemzet described the draft as “nothing less than the dictate of the European left-wing parties.” In a report on a press conference by Tavares. the right wing daily called his report “gravely biased, despite the amendments passed”, and complained that “rather than stopping at that point, Tavares chose to lecture the Hungarians in a rude fashion”.

The Tavares report can hardly be seen as a biased, partisan left-wing liberal view on Hungary, Attila Seres writes in Népszava, for the Tavares report was supported not only by Socialist, Liberal and Green MEPs, but also by People’s Party politicians. Seres welcomes the fact that the EU is trying harder to pressurise its members to observe fundamental rights. Hungary is again in the focus of EU institutions, which means that since its admission it has regressed in terms of democratic values, Sebes adds. He suggests that the government should take the recommendations seriously – after all, the right-wing also wanted to be part of the European Union, and thus it should play by its rules.

In her Népszabadság column, Eszter Zalán contends that the Orbán government suspects ill-intentions and coordinated plots behind any criticism it receives from international organizations, including the EU and the European Council. As for the future, Zalán predicts that no reconciliation should be expected between the Hungarian government and the EU. Elections are coming both in Hungary and in Europe as a whole, and both the government and its European critics are exploiting the opportunity of a good fight in the hope of increasing their constituencies. “As a matter of fact, there are a lot of opportunistic politicians both in Europe and in Hungary. Viviane Reding wants to become President of the European Commission, while Viktor Orbán wants to remain the Prime Minister of Hungary. The battle has just started, and it is not likely to end any time soon,” Zalán concludes.

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