The EP’s Constitutional Affairs Committee joins the EU’s anti-Hungary witch hunt

2018. 03. 28.

Recent developments in Hungary, reads an opinion adopted this week by the Constitutional Affairs Committee, are “deeply concerning”. The text, according to MEP György Schöpflin, amounts to a clear intervention in Hungary’s upcoming April 8 parliamentary elections.

The opinion adopted last week by the Committee, known by its acronym AFCO, will be attached to the Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs Committee’s (LIBE) forthcoming report on the state of rule of law in Hungary, which is due in June. (See our editorial on the LIBE report here)

In the AFCO opinion, “the risk of violating fundamental EU values is clearly present in Hungary.” It claims that recent measures jeopardize the functioning of Hungary’s constitutional system, the judiciary and basic freedoms such as freedom of press, speech and association.

“The AFCO text is clearly about a fictitious Hungary,” said Fidesz MEP György Schöpflin. “Its content is very distant from reality.” According to Schöpflin, opposition to the text faced a “strong anti-Fidesz headwind” and its passage provides further explanation of the reasons for a growing opposition among Member States to Brussels institutions that have become increasingly politicized.

“The text is proof of why Brussels must be stopped. If an ‘expert committee’ ignores the facts, then it must be shut down,” Schöpflin said.

Should the EP pass the LIBE report in September, it could set in motion the notorious Article 7 procedure by which a Member State may be stripped of its voting rights in the Council.

“There are legal concerns in every Member State, yet only Poland and Hungary make it to the agenda. Apart from us, they don’t care about any other Member State,” said Schöpflin. If it doesn’t involve Hungary, adopting such a text would be impossible, he added.

As Hungarians go to the polls in less than two weeks, political interests in Brussels have once again attempted to denigrate the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the ruling Fidesz-KDNP alliance in an attempt to influence the outcome of the April 8 parliamentary elections. In a re-run of the spectacle we witnessed with the so-called Tavares Report prior to the 2014 elections, the experts responsible have a poor command of the basic facts. Unfortunately, this latest opinion from AFCO adds another chapter to the unfortunate story of the EU’s anti-Hungary witch hunt.