Orban: EU lawmakers’ democracy statement is a joke

BELGRADE — Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban lashed out on Friday against a statement by the European Parliament that Hungary could no longer be considered a full-fledged democracy. Orban called the resolution a “joke”.

In the declaration which was adopted on Thursday by 433 votes to 123 with 28 abstentions, European Union lawmakers said Hungary had become “a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy” under Orban’s nationalist government and was undermining the values ​​of the European Union to the point of withdrawing the country from the community of democracies.

Members of the EU legislature specifically expressed concerns about Hungary’s constitutional and electoral systems, judicial independence, possible corruption, irregularities in public procurement, LGBTQ rights and media freedoms, academics and nuns.

“I find it funny,” Orban said in Serbia’s capital, Belgrade, after receiving Serbia’s highest decoration from his close populist ally, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic.

“The only reason we’re not laughing about it is because we’re fed up. It’s a boring joke. This is the third or fourth time that they have adopted a resolution condemning Hungary in the European Parliament. At first we thought it was important. But now we see it as a joke,” he said.

The vote on the resolution was the last confrontation between the EU institutions and the Orban government in Budapest. The bloc’s executive arm, the European Commission, is expected to announce on Sunday that it is ready to suspend payments of some EU money to Hungary over its alleged violations. Hungary joined the European Union in 2004.

The statement, although a symbolic gesture, sets Hungary apart from other EU member countries in its alleged failure to uphold the values ​​enshrined in the EU Treaty, including “respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for humanity”. rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”.

The resolution, which was approved at a plenary session in Strasbourg, France, does not impose any sanctions on the Orban government and does not oblige other EU countries to take particular measures.

In Belgrade, Orban also reiterated his criticism of EU sanctions against Russia for its aggression in Ukraine which began in February.

“When I look at the energy sanctions, I see that we Europeans, who are energy dwarfs, have taken sanctions against an energy giant,” Orban said.

“It’s a totally unusual phenomenon in history, and I think that kind of thing is generally not good. We are very badly harmed by these sanctions. They are bad for us, they hurt us, they cost very expensive,” he added.

Vucic reiterated in a joint press conference with Orban that Serbia will not join Western sanctions against Russia despite calls from the European Union to align its policies with the bloc if it wants to join.

“Serbia remains on the European path, but also that it has state and national interests from which it cannot and does not want to deviate,” Vucic said.

Comments are closed.