Hungarian gov't lashes out against new EP vote linking EU funding to respect for common values

Source: Xinhua| 2019-01-18 21:03:56|Editor: Yamei
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BUDAPEST, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) -- In a statement published here on Friday, the Hungarian government described as "blackmail" the new mechanism adopted by the European Parliament (EP) that would link European Union (EU) budget payments to member states during the next (2021-2027) budgetary cycle to conformity with the rule of law.

"This day will go down as a dark day in the history of the European Union. The pro-migration forces have asserted a majority in the European Parliament. They're blackmailing Hungary and other member states that oppose immigration and are handing out EU taxpayers' money to NGOs to promote and assist immigration," Zoltan Kovacs, Hungary's secretary of state for international communications, said on the government's website.

"In Brussels, we witnessed another affront to countries that oppose illegal migration. The EP's pro-migration majority adopted a decision that essentially declares that the rule of law prevails only in those member states that accept illegal migrants, while threatening to withdraw EU funds from states like Hungary that oppose immigration and say no to the Soros plan," Kovacs said.

The Hungarian government calls "Soros plan" an alleged plan by Hungarian-born American billionaire George Soros to settle masses of migrants from the Middle East and Africa in Europe to solve the EU's labor shortage problems. The Hungarian government is fiercely opposed to this idea.

Kovacs accused the EP of abusing the EU's Fundamental Rights Report to include the admission of illegals as a condition of the rule of law. "They adopted a decision that would openly sanction countries opposed to illegal migration. This is pure blackmail," Kovacs explained.

"European taxpayer money will flow to the coffers of so-called civic groups, pro-migration NGOs -- which rely on foreign funding and also carry no democratic mandate -- will continue to go after Hungary and other EU member states who oppose immigration and stand up for our national identity and sovereignty."

On Wednesday, the EP adopted a draft law meant to protect EU budget against rule of law deficiencies. The resolution was adopted with 397 votes in favor, 158 against and 69 abstentions.

"On Jan. 17, 2019, the Plenary adopted its position on the Protection of the Union's budget in case of generalized deficiencies as regards the rule of law in the member states. The resolution determines the position of the European Parliament for the upcoming negotiations with the Council," the EP said in a statement.

"Assisted by a panel of independent experts, the European Commission would be tasked with establishing 'generalized deficiencies as regards the rule of law,' such as deliberate interference with courts or a failure to tackle fraud and corruption. The Commission is to decide on measures that could include suspending EU budget payments or reducing pre-financing to the member state concerned. The decision would only be implemented once approved by Parliament and Council. Once the member state remedies the deficits identified by the Commission, Parliament and EU ministers could unlock the funds," the EP said.

Although the Hungarian government underlined that the differences between the pro-migration forces and those opposed to it constitute the main source of discord between Hungary and the 27 other member states, the Hungarian government is already facing Article 7 disciplinary proceedings for allegedly violating the EU's democratic norms.

The EU enumerates a number of concerns about the rule of law in Hungary: the changes to its electoral system implemented without the approval of the opposition parties; the independence of the judiciary, namely the decrease of the power of the Constitutional Court; and alleged corruption issues.