NGOs Say Hungary’s Govt Trampling Rights

  • 8 Dec 2017 7:54 AM
NGOs Say Hungary’s Govt Trampling Rights
Addressing the LIBE hearing, representatives of Hungarian rights groups criticised Hungary’s government for restricting fundamental rights. Márta Pardavi, co-chair of the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, told LIBE that the government had systematically weakened its system of checks and balances, putting the fundamental values of the EU at risk.

A free press and a strong civil sector are key in a democratic state for ensuring government accountability, she said. Gábor Polyák, the head of the Mérték Média Monitor, accused the government of “using the media as a political communications tool” and handling criticism as “an attack”.

Miklós Szánthó, the director of the Center for Fundamental Rights, called it an “illusion” that Hungary had failed to observe EU laws, arguing that Hungary was a steady mid-fielder among EU member states from the point of view of the number of infringement procedures launched against it.

Meanwhile, Fidesz MEP Kinga Gál said she was baffled by the criticisms directed at Hungary, a country, she said, where demonstrators are not treated violently by the authorities, opposition politicians do not get arrested and journalists are not murdered.

Lívia Járóka, also a ruling party MEP, said Brussels applied double standards against Hungary.

Opposition Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said Hungary had again been “shamed” as an EU member for “the government’s sins”. Péter Niedermüller, an MEP for the leftist opposition Democratic Coalition, called the government “pathetic” or failing to engage in a real debate and instead “repeating its own propaganda lines”.

Zoltán Balczó, an MEP of the radical nationalist Jobbik party, said in a statement that the Hungarian foreign minister had given a sound response only to migration policy and border protection among the various issues raised by Brussels.

Republished with permission of Hungary Matters, MTI’s daily newsletter.

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