A group of Hungarian conservative MEPs of the Fidesz party entered the full English translation of the country’s state of emergency law giving the government extended powers during the coronavirus pandemic in order to combat fake news related to it, MEP Ádám Kósa wrote in a Facebook post.
“We have submitted the text of the law under discussion, which is now in the minutes of the European Parliament’s sitting of May 14, 2020. Forever,” Kósa wrote.
“From now on, if anyone in the European Parliament claims that the Hungarian coronavirus law is contrary to EU law, not democratic or doesn’t respect the principles of the EU, I will simply ask them to read the written statements of MEPs Kinga Gál, Lívia Járóka, Andrea Bocskor, Balázs Hídvéghi and Ádám Kósa to the European Parliament’s debate of May 14, 2020, entitled ‘Emergency governance in Hungary and its impact on the rule of law and fundamental rights’.” Kósa added.
Last Thursday, the European Parliament held a debate questioning Hungary’s state of emergency law, to which Prime Minister Viktor Orbán delegated Justice Minister Judit Varga to present the Hungarian government’s position, but she was banned from participating or defending her country. The session, initiated by the Greens with the support of the Socialists, was meant to examine whether Hungary’s emergency law gave too broad powers to the conservative government.
Varga posted instead on Facebook her six-page speech, saying that “an institution which wanted to lecture Hungary about the rule of law and democracy on several occasions does not even pay attention to have the appearance of a fair trial.”
She also asked, “Can an institution where hearing the other side is not self-evident still call itself democratic?”
Kósa wrote that now that full text of the Hungarian law is available in English, and no one has any excuse for spreading false news about it.
“Thanks to the law, the defense in Hungary was one of the most successful in the European Union. I hope that by now everyone can clearly see that the Hungarian Parliament has not been suspended and that the special measures have been limited to the pandemic. Our written statements will thus be evidence of the biggest fake-news campaign of the last ten years,” he wrote.
Cabinet minister Gergely Gulyás said in an interview on Sunday that unless the number of new infections unexpectedly spikes in the next few days, the government will submit a motion to the Hungarian Parliament on May 26 relinquishing its emergency rule mandate.
The government decried claims from the media and left-wing politicians that Hungary had become a “dictatorship” and that the emergency law would allow Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to rule over Hungary “indefinitely”. The law was narrowly tailored to combat the coronavirus crisis, was quite similar to the laws enacted in many other EU countries, and only lasted a couple of months.
According to the latest official data, Hungary, with a population of just under ten million, had 3,678 confirmed coronavirus cases and 476 casualties.
Title image: MEP Ádám Kósa during a debate in the European Parliament. He is deaf and the first politicians in the EP to use sign language. (source: Youtube)