Reactions about the amendment to the Hungarian Constitution: - Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE) - Jozsef SZAJER (EPP, HU)

Type: News   Reference: 92830   Duration: 00:04:43  Lieu: Strasbourg, France - European Parliament
End production: 12/03/2013   First transmission: 12/03/2013
Chair of ALDE Group Guy Verhofstadt (ALDE, BE) vigourously interveined today in the hemicycle to ask European Parliament to officially address the reintroducement of highly contested amendments to the Hungarian Constitution. Hungarian EPP Vice-Chair Jozsef SZAJER (EPP, HU) answered that the point, accordingly to EU 4th article, is a domestic issue. A 4th Amendment to the Hungarian Constitution has been adopted by the Hungarian authorities that reintroduces amendments already annulled by the Hungarian Constitutional Court in December 2012. Among other issues, the Amendment seeks to restrict the powers of the Constitutional Court, introduces provisions for the judiciary, including on the reassignment of cases, narrow down the definition of the family by limiting it to married couples or to a parent-child relationship, hereby excluding couples living together by common-law marriage or in a registered partnership (for same-sex unions), criminalises homeless people, and restricts the free movement of university students after their graduation through so-called ‘student pacts’. Opposition parties and NGOs have expressed serious concerns about these changes to the Constitution, which appear to be in contradiction with fundamental European values, principles, treaties and law.

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00:00:00 TITLE 00:00:05
00:00:05 EXTERIOR SHOT on the European Parliament, Strasbourg 00:00:05
00:00:10 SOUNDBITE (French) Françoise CASTEX (S&D, FR), Vice-Chair, Committee on Legal Affairs English translation: "On the behalf of the Socialists and Democrates I would like to say that we're extremely concerned about the adoption yesterday by the Hungarian Parliament of a series of constitutional amendments, we think they are not compatible with the fundamental principles and laws of the European Union. The same concern was expressed by the Council of Europe and the European Commission, and the population in Hungary are also concerned. We ask for the relevant EP Committee, the LIBE Committee, should be consulted immediately to examine the amendments of Hungarian Constitution in the context of the report on the situation of fundamental rights, norms and practices in Hungary, in line with the adopted position on the 16th February 2012. 00:00:44
00:00:54 SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE), Chair of ALDE Group "A few minutes ago there was an intervention on the situation in Hungary. Clearly indicating that with the 4th amendment which has been approved by the Hungarian parliament there is breach of fundamental European values. " 00:00:19
00:01:13 SOUNDBITE (English) Guy VERHOFSTADT (ALDE, BE), Chair of ALDE Group "What cannot happen is that this plenary session in Strasbourg is ending without a decision of this Parliament on the case of Hungary and without any action of the Commission and any action of the Council. In fact, what is happening is that Mister Orban is laughing and joking with us by doing this. And I should ask to my good friend Mister Daul who has already made a number of statements one month ago against Mister Berlusconi, has now the courage that his EPP stops to support Mister Orban in this breach of the European values and principles." 00:00:57
00:02:10 SOUNDBITE (English) Jozsef SZAJER (EPP, HU), Vice-Chair of EPP Group "There is a very clear double standard here in this House. (applauses) We never heard the intervention of Mister Verhofstadt when the socialist government of Romania blocked the Constitutional Court to publish its decisions. There are several other instances where in this House, the left side of the House is applying double standards. Which means clearly the 4th amendment of the Constitution of Hungary is the issue for Hungary because article 4 of the European Treaty makes it clear that the domestic constitutional structure of a country is part of its sovereignty which no one can violate. " 00:01:00
00:03:10 SOUNDBITE (English) Jozsef SZAJER (EPP, HU), Vice-Chair of EPP Group "I would like to make it very clear the at Hungary is abiding with the basic principles of the Human Rights and rule of law and there is no point to have double standard bias procedure against any country in this Union, otherwise you will be getting into a Union which is going apart and not together. " 00:00:24
00:03:34 SOUNDBITE (English) Rui TAVARES (Greens/EFA, PT) Subcommittee on Human Rights, Rapporteur for the situation on fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy in Hungary : "I would like to quote article2 which is the first incentive article of the Treaties, it sais that the Union is funded upon democracy, rule of law and fundamental rights. Not only the Member States have to respect this values, but the Union's institutions, meaning us also, have a direct responsibility to protect these fundamental values of the Union. This constitutional amendment really does indeed touch some of these fundamental values, from the independence of the judiciary including the prerogative of the Constitutional Court to freedom of expression. " 00:00:20
00:03:54 SOUNDBITE (English) Rui TAVARES (Greens/EFA, PT) Subcommittee on Human Rights, Rapporteur for the situation on fundamental rights, rule of law and democracy in Hungary : "We ask the Commission to completely direct its efforts at focus the Commission and the dialogue with Hungary on fundamental rights without discussing these dossiers on fundamental rights there is no other dossier that I think would merit our attention (applause)." 00:00:38
00:04:32 CUTAWAYS : 2 shots 00:00:11
00:04:43 END 00:00:00
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