Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

A critique of the Sargentini report

June 25th, 2018

A leading Hungarian MEP dismisses a report prepared by a committee of the European parliament as a violation of the Lisbon Treaty and  aiming to deprive Hungary of its voting rights on the basis of unfair procedures.

In a lengthy OpEd article in Magyar Idők, József Szájer, an MEP who was among the founders of Fidesz and is known as the author of the Hungarian Constitution of 2011 complains that Hungary is about to be unfairly condemned within LIBE, the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee of the European Parliament on the basis of a report written by Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini. The text suggests that the European Union should trigger Article 7 against Hungary and ultimately strip it of the right to vote in the European Council. (The final decision would require a unanimous vote within the Council where Hungary and Poland have mutually declared their intention to block any such move.) Mr Szájer’s first complaint is that he was only given two minutes to debunk the ‘myriad false statements’ in the report and that the chairman gave the floor to eleven detractors of Hungary versus only four critics of the report. Secondly, he remarks that the report was based on information from a long list of organisations who are fierce critics of the government, but no pro-government ones are quoted on the same issues. Responding to objections to that effect, Ms Sargentini said she would delete that list from the appendix of the report (but not their statements and accusations, Szájer adds.) Thirdly, the Hungarian MEP continues, Ms Sargentini included a series of issues in her report which fall outside the competence of the European Union, e.g. that pensions are low, that women are underrepresented in politics, that unemployment support is only disbursed by the state for a short period and that a daily newspaper (Népszabadság) was closed down by its owner. He does share some of those concerns, he says, but the issues at stake are strictly internal affairs under the Lisbon Treaty. If these issues were deleted from the report, Szájer argues, hardly anything of substance would remain, apart from a few accusations that were refuted a long time ago. If the limits imposed by the Lisbon Treaty are not to be respected, many member countries could be found guilty. He himself, for instance, is a staunch republican but wold never try to have Great Britain or the Netherlands condemned for their monarchic systems. Hungary, he suggests, is thus being treated unfairly, using double standards, that is in an arbitrary procedure which is in clear contradiction with the very principle of the rule of law which Hungary is accused by the report of violating.


Tags: , ,