EC appoints ‘left-wing political activist’ to assess ‘rule of law’ in Hungary, says Fidesz MEP

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Fidesz MEPs have written a letter protesting the European Commission’s decision to use a member of Hungary’s political opposition and a well-known “left-wing political activist” as a liaison to the delegation preparing a rule-of-law report on Hungary.

The Fidesz group leader, MEP Tamas Deutsch, wrote that the appointment of anti-Fidesz political operative, Gábor Magyar, shows the European Commission is acting in bad faith. 

“Let us see, however, who the Commission has entrusted with the work on Hungary: Gábor Magyar, an employee of one of the European Commission’s Directorates-General, has been appointed as the contact person for the delegation preparing this year’s rule of law report for Hungary,” Deutsch continued.

Deutsch described it Magyar as a “true left-wing political activist” who could not be counted on to offer an objective assessment of the situation in Hungary.

“The problem with Gábor Magyar is not that he is the son of György Magyar, a well-known left-wing lawyer and politician! The appointment is scandalous because Gábor Magyar is not an independent EU official, but in fact an unruly left-wing political activist,” he noted.

Deutsch then went on to note previous statements made by Magyar, where he referred to the Hungarian government as “a regime” which no longer adheres to the standards of “democratic rule of law”, and where he claimed that “the level of the protection of fundamental rights has also decreased” due to the government’s “efforts to dismantle constitutionality”.

“This is the political position of Gábor Magyar. Gábor Magyar is a true left-wing political activist, who has made biased statements that often surpassed the slander of Ferenc Gyurcsány and Mrs Gyurcsány,” Deutsch added.

The letter, addressed to the European commissioners Véra Jourová and Didier Reynders, outlined that they had failed to honor their promises to ensure Hungary’s rule-of-law report was conducted objectively and fairly. 

“In 2020, the European Commission compiled a so-called rule of law report. They promised to objectively evaluate each country, including Hungary, but instead, a political pamphlet was born, echoing all the slander pronounced by the European and Hungarian Left against Hungary. There was indeed a significant scandal over the application of political bias and double standards,” Deutsch stressed.

Following contentious negotiations last winter which saw Budapest and Warsaw initially use their veto powers to block the EU’s seven-year, €1.8 trillion budget-and-recovery package which linked funds to a new so-called “rule of law” mechanism, negotiators from the European Council and European Parliament eventually came to a shaky agreement to move the funding forward. 

Politicians on both sides of the issue essentially claimed victory, with Hungary and Poland both claiming that the agreement would not permit the EU to punish the country for ideologically-based disputes around the issue of rule of law. 

After the compromise had been made and the budget was adopted, Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga took to social media, writing: “Victory! We succeeded in separating ideological expectations from financial aid during a pandemic & prevented political blackmail. The deal respects the EU Treaties & our national identity. Yet another triumph for the Hungarian and Polish partnership.”

On the other side of the argument, liberal-establishment politicians referred to the agreement as a defeat for the Hungarian and Polish governments, noting that the original mechanism had not been rewritten, and the language on the rule-of-law mechanism remained in place.

Now, in his letter, the Deutsch is criticizing the European commissioners for reneging on their pledges to remain fair, equitable, and unbiased in their annual rule of law report.

“Following this case last year, the European Commission promised that this year, the rule of law reports would be prepared in an independent and impartial way, without bias and prejudice, in an objective and fair manner,” said the leader of the Fidesz delegation in the European Parliament.

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