Bullmann: Time for EPP to get serious about the authoritarian slide in Hungary

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Justice & Home Affairs
S&D MEPs are deeply concerned by the attempts of the Austrian Presidency and other EPP leaders to block meaningful action against Victor Orbán’s government in Hungary, following consistent attacks on the basic principles of democracy in the country.
In September, an overwhelming majority of the European Parliament, including a majority of EPP MEPs, voted to launch Article 7 procedures against the Hungarian government for a consistent threat to the principles on which the EU is founded. It took the Austrian Presidency more than two months to finally deal with this issue. They invited the European Parliament to take part in an informal gathering with ministers on Monday, but not to the General Affairs Council. 
We as S&D MEPs respect the importance of dialogue and will attend the informal gathering. However, we request the Austrian Presidency to respect the directly elected representatives of the European people and invite the European Parliament to formal Council meetings every time this point is discussed.
 
S&D Group leader Udo Bullmann said:
“In September many EPP MEPs voted with the overwhelming majority of the Parliament to launch Article 7 procedures against Viktor Orbán’s government in Budapest. Since then things only got worse, with a university being forced out of a European country for the first time in 60 years. Incredibly, instead of this spurring real action, we see that Viktor Orbán is still a prominent member of the EPP family that has recently chosen Manfred Weber as Spitzenkandidat.  EPP leaders from national capitals are doing all they can to shield Orbán and his cronies. If EPP really believes in the principles of democracy and the rule of law then they must finally act.
 
“The EPP still calls itself a centrist pro-European party. However, it is their governments that are blocking any kind of European reform and moving ever further to the right in their words and actions. In Austria, Chancellor Sebastian Kurz last week followed Orbán’s lead by withdrawing from the UN Global compact on migration. Across Europe, EPP politicians are cosying up to the far-right and echoing their language, demonising migrants, and blaming Europe for all their problems. The party of Robert Schuman, Alcide de Gasperi, and Konrad Adenauer is now marching to the tune of the far-right. We urge them to change course.”