Gianni Pittella vs. Viktor Orbán

26/04/2017
Gianni Pittella vs. Viktor Orbán

Speaking during a plenary debate on the situation of democracy in Hungary, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

26/04/2017

Speaking during a plenary debate on the situation of democracy in Hungary, S&D Group president Gianni Pittella said:

“Mr Orbán is turning Hungary into an illiberal and undemocratic regime. He is betraying his own people and the history of those who fought and died for freedom and democracy in Hungary. After he strangled the independence of the media, now Orbán is trying to silence an outstanding symbol of the freedom of thought and expression: the Central European University. Our gravest concerns about this illiberal drift are becoming a reality.

“The European Parliament as a whole has a moral duty to denounce and condemn this outrageous situation. Mr Orbán has shown his arrogance today. The EPP party has the political duty to react and finally condemn Orbán’s attacks on democracy. We ask them once again: Mr. Weber what has to happen in Hungary before you wake up and find the courage to finally censure Mr Orbán’s conduct? What else should happen before you decide to expel Fidesz and Orbán from the EPP family?

“In the EPP Group, not everyone has turned a blind eye. Not all have compromised their democratic values. Mr. Weber follow the example set by your courageous colleagues and put an end to this situation. You cannot remain silent.

“We called on the European Commission to take action and they have done that. However, the political dialogue with the Hungarian government should only be a first step. If Orbán does not change course, the EU Commission must be prepared to use sanctions against him and eventually trigger Article 7. The political and moral responsibility lies equally with the EU Commission!

“In front of the Hungarian people, we want to be clear on this: It is not Europe who is confronting Hungary, it is not Europe who is attacking your newspapers, closing independent NGOs or destroying your universities. Europe is your home and you are at the heart of Europe. We must stand side by side to fight back against this authoritarian drift that is undermining democracy not only in Hungary but in the whole of Europe.”