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Hungary: Commission must keep up pressure on all fronts

Date

07 Mar 2012

"We support the Commission's decision to pursue its action against Hungary in those areas where they have not had a satisfactory response. Nevertheless the Commission must still tackle the core problem and its consequences", said ALDE Leader Guy Verhofstadt commenting on today's decision of the European Commission to accelerate infringement procedures opened on 17th January against Hungary on the independence of the data protection supervisor, the Central Bank and measures affecting the retirement age of judges. "Hungary must stop this cat and mouse game, trying to win time by providing all necessary information requested drop by drop. Infringement proceedings have been launched and they will go the whole way".

"These infringement actions should be without prejudice to the broader issues of undermining basic freedoms and fundamental rights which remain unaddressed such as, for instance, freedom and pluralism of the media, the rights of political opposition or the law on churches and religions. Our collective failure to speak out will be interpreted as passive acquiescence to the general deterioration of democracy and rule of law in Hungary, and eventually of EU common values. That's why we have always invoked Article 7.1 of the TEU which was intended to alert us to a risk of a breach of fundamental rights", added ALDE coordinator in the Civil liberties committee (LIBE) Renate Weber (PNL, Romania).

"We will pursue, as decided by the Parliament on 16th February, a parliamentary examination of developments in Hungary on these broader issues", she concluded.

In parallel, the ALDE group yesterday presented an oral question for debate with the Commission and the Council on the criminalisation of homeless persons, a provision which entered into force in the country on 1st December 2011 that proscribes a jail sentence for any homeless person found on the streets and unable to pay a fine of 445 euro. "Being homeless is not a crime, and criminalising poor individuals is not the way to eradicate homelessness", said Cecilia Wikström ((Folkpartiet, Sweden) initiator of the oral question.

 
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