Recent political developments in Hungary - best of EP plenary session debate with Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister
Lieu: Strasbourg, France - EP
End production: 23/01/2012 First transmission: 24/01/2012
Today Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament is meeting with, the Hungarian Prime Minister in order to discuss controversial changes in the Hungarian constitution, implemented by Orbán's government on 1 January 2012 and concerning its central bank, data protection and judiciary.
The event is the result of the debate, which took place on 18th of January during the plenary session in Strasbourg. Deputies, together with José Manuel Barroso, tried to persuade Viktor Orbán to give up on controversial reforms due to its contradiction with the European values. The day before the debate the European Commission has opened legal proceedings against Hungary.
Parliament will vote on a resolution on this issue on 2 February, in Brussels.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior shot of the European Parliament, Strasbourg, France (1 shot)
||Exterior, Arrival of Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister, (1 shots)
||Interior, meeting between Martin SCHULZ, (S&D, DE) EP President and Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister, (2 shots)
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President," We are asking Hungarian authorities to correct points that raise concerns. We do not want a shadow of doubt on the democracy of any of our Member States. (Applause from the Chamber)
||SOUNDBITE (English) José Manuel BARROSO, EC President," We therefore call on the Hungarian government to clearly demonstrate its commitment to the principles of democracy freedom and the rule of law. It is important top address these political concerns and I appeal to Prime Minister Orban to tackle this in a determined and unambiguous way. We believe that this is in the best interest of Hungary and of all our European family."
||SOUNDBITE (Hungarian) Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister," Let me make it quite clear that not a single article , not a single provision, in the Hungarian constitution has been challenged legally and I think that it is a very good thing indeed. Ladies and gentlemen I am very grateful that I had the opportunity to say all this to you and I would like to ask you please, we are undergoing serious transformation in Hungary and I would ask you to support this transformation, I think it's important for the future and Hungary counts on the support of the EP."
||SOUNDBITE (French) Joseph DAUL (EPP, FR): "By the infringement procedure, the Commission has called on Hungary, within one month, to reform its new Constitution and to make changes on three points. Yesterday the Hungarian authorities said that they were ready to response to the EC's calls and today the Hungarian Prime Minister proposed to directly answer MEPs questions".
||SOUNDBITE (German) Hanne SWOBODA (S&D, AT): "You are saying this is a question of reforming the state on the basis of European values. But European values are democracy and good governance, but what you are pursuing is preventing that, you want to stay in power and that's the spirit of the infringements that we are looking at here (applause)
||SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE): "So to say that there is no problem today in Hungary, I am astonished by that (applause) Yesterday the EC launched infringement procedures relating to three questions; let us be clear Mr Barroso, there is more at stake."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE): "Besides the role that the Commission is playing, with these infringement procedures, this House has also a responsibility in the Treaty to take action".
||SOUNDBITE (French) Daniel COHN-BENDIT (Greens/EFA, FR): "We should follow Mr Verhofstadt's proposals, let us send a delegation on the basis of article 7 from this House to Hungary and ask why it is that homeless people in Hungary are afraid, why intellectuals in Hungary are afraid, why some acquaintances, Jews, intellectuals in Hungary are afraid. Why it is that the new constitution in fact is one that causes many Hungarian citizens to be afraid. Even if you have the majority, the minority in Hungary has the right not to live in fear Mr Orban."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Lajos BOKROS (ECR, HU): "Populist and nationalist policies damage the interest of Hungary. We, true conservatives, expect Europe to help us defend the rule of law and fight for the restoration of the democratic institutions in Hungary. We know that it is our struggle and only the Hungarian people can bring about democratic change. Rest assured, we will continue the fight".
||SOUNDBITE (English) EP President Martin Schulz (S&D, DE), We see and we heard today Commission President Barroso giving the result of the analysis of the Commission about the modification of the Hungarian Constitution. This is an evidence, it proves that nothing can be split, what is going in a Member State of the European Union is a part of the European politics and the decisions of the organs of the EU have a direct impact on the domestic and national politics. So the European Parliament must become the place where the relations between Members of the European Union and the Union itself must be discussed. And this is for sure a good signal that for the first time today, a Prime Minister directly intervened, is directly coming in the debate about the situation in his own country. This is an enormous progress and I think this a signal for the future : this will not be the only Prime Minister that will address the European Parliament, whether it is about his country or about interests of the country."
||SOUNDBITE (English) EP President Martin Schulz (S&D, DE)
"But one thing is clear : it is not sufficient to listen today to Prime Minister Orbán. The Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament will for sure, on demand of several Groups, invite also the opposition leaders to address at least the Committee, and we will invite journalists and civil society representatives also to come to the European Parliament to get before we take a final decision. To get a complete overview over the different opinions and tendencies in the country "
||Entering in to the press room
||SOUNDBITE (Hungarian) Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister
"On the Commission's concerns and objections, we have made some progress. The Hungarian constitution was adopted in April last year, there were no objections at the time, the objections concerns only the transitory measures which are linked to this constitutions which entered in to force on the 1st January 2012. we are of course willing to discuss those concerns , and maybe even amend these pieces of legislation if needed. This is what we are going to discuss with Mr Barroso at our up-coming meeting.
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viktor ORBAN, Hungarian Prime Minister: "What we need is not a loan, is a precautionary assistance. if the IMF would like to give a loan, OK, that we are happy, but I would like to say clearly that what we need is just precautionary. The accusations witch is going on among the European citizens, like in Greece, that the Germans feel that they finance something which does not make the necessary efforts to help himself. You know, I would not like to take that picture in Hungary. Not just because of pride, but because it would be not reasonable . we must be strong on the financial markets. So that the reason we are speaking not about loans, but about precautionary assistance. But if they are insisting on giving loan to us anyway, than we are ready to discuss that as well. So that about money".
||Cutaway - gv of the press conference room