Our letter to Iratxe García Pérez MEP, President of the S&D Group and Dacian Ciolos MEP, President of the Renew Europe Group on László Bíró, racist and xenophobic Jobbik candidate of the opposition coalition

2020. 09. 02.

Iratxe García Pérez MEP

President of the S&D Group

Dacian Ciolos MEP

President of the Renew Europe Group

Brussels, September 2, 2020

Honourable Colleagues,

We are turning to you to denounce an alarming move by Hungarian opposition parties belonging to the S&D and Renew Europe parliamentary groups.

Following the tragic death in July of Ferenc Koncz, a Fidesz MP for the Tiszaújváros-Szerencs constituency, a by-election has been called for October 11.

Seven opposition parties, including the Hungarian Socialist Party and Democratic Coalition, both affiliates of S&D, as well as Renew Europe member Momentum, have chosen Mr. László Bíró, a member of the far-right Jobbik party, as their joint candidate.

Mr. Bíró has made several racist, xenophobic, anti-Semitic and anti-Roma comments on social media. For example, among these, he has referred to Budapest as “Judapest” and on another occasion complained that there were too many foreign Jews among the guests at spa hotels in his constituency, writing, “My dog gets crazy when those with the lousy sideburns pass by the house,” referring to the Polish, Russian and Israeli Hasidic Jewish tourists. In yet another comment, he wrote that “the country must be protected not only from the Hassan but also from the Sztojka,” a reference to a common Roma family name.

Several prominent, Hungarian public figures and leaders of ethnic minority groups have raised their voices in protest against such an unprincipled decision. Unfortunately, however, your member parties seem to be intransigent. In our view, the support of an openly racist and xenophobic candidate legitimizes hate speech and fuels racism and anti-Semitism in public discourse.

That this electoral coalition of opposition parties – parties that call themselves democratic –includes the extremist Jobbik party is incompatible with democratic principles and European values. Although opposition parties claim that Jobbik has left extremism behind, the case of Mr. Bíró illustrates very well that Jobbik’s extremism has not been rooted out of the party.

Had a conservative party anywhere in Central or Eastern Europe even considered the nomination of such a candidate, S&D and Renew Europe would be the most vocal critics, decrying the end of European values. Why do they remain silent now?

The support of Mr. Bíró by the S&D and Renew Europe groups is a threat to all European Jewish and Roma citizens.

Sincerely yours,

József Szájer MEP President of the Hungarian EPP DelegationTamás Deutsch MEP Head of the Hungarian EPP Delegation