Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, author of a report critical of the state of the rule of law in Hungary approved by the European Parliament last year, addressed a demonstration against the Hungarian government’s policies organised by the Hungarian opposition in Brussels on Tuesday.
The protest organised by the Radical European Democrats (RED) movement, Sargentini stressed the importance of a free media and being critical of governments in a democracy.
She said it was dangerous to conflate a government or a political party with the state or its citizens, adding that this is what was happening in the case of debates on the situation in Hungary. She also said it was important for trade unions, civil groups and opposition parties to come together.
As regards her report, Sargentini said it focused on a number of key topics about civil rights in Hungary and how the Hungarian government was undermining those rights. The MEP said all European citizens have equal rights. Sargentini said she was expressing solidarity with Hungarians because they are “first class European citizens”. The politician said the time for“quiet diplomacy” was over and it was time to act, lest the situation worsens.
The event was also attended by MEPs and politicians of left-liberal and green Hungarian parties, such as the socialist MSZP, the Democratic Coalition (DK), the LMP, the Dialogue (Parbeszed) and the Momentum.
According to Fidesz, the event was part of US billionaire George Soros’s campaign for the upcoming European Parliamentary elections. Balazs Hidveghi, the ruling party’s communications director said that Soros “is doing his utmost to attack Hungary” and as part of his efforts “he has even commanded” Sargentini to join the Hungarian opposition in their campaign “smearing Hungary” in Brussels. Hungary faces these attacks because Hungarians reject immigrants and “stand in the way” of the implementation of Soros’s pro-migration plan, he said.
The government’s international spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs also dismissed the demonstration as a campaign event. “It’s not about rule of law and democracy. This is the Soros network, the international Left engaged in a concerted campaign effort, desperate to find some sliver of hope for their own electoral chances and to smear a popular, democratically elected government that staunchly opposes immigration and insists on national sovereignty,” he wrote.
According to Judit Varga, the state secretary for EU affairs, “It’s sad that Hungary’s left-liberal opposition finds common ground with Judith Sargentini, who is trying to discredit Hungary. This goes against the interests of the Hungarian people. But ultimately, yesterday’s event in Brussels proved that birds of a feather flock together. Remember these images when May comes”.