The European Parliament – Photo: wikipedia

Momentum MEP addresses EP plenary on media situation in member states

The European Commission will include sections on the situation of the public media and the execution of rulings by the European Court of Human Rights in member states in its annual Rule of Law report which is due to be published in the summer, the EC's Vice President for Values and Transparency said in Brussels on Thursday.

Vera Jourova told the plenary session of the European Parliament that the report will also deal with the use of the Pegasus spyware, among other issues.

Addressing the plenary, Anna Donath, an MEP for Hungary’s opposition Momentum, said that “the Hungarian government not only ignores the country-specific recommendations overall, but continues to dismantle democracy in Hungary through the way it uses EU monies.” She said the Commission cannot punish Hungarians by withholding EU funds from them “just because of the sins of the Hungarian government”.

Donath criticised the government for using the issue of withholding funding “to stoke up anti-EU sentiment” in the Hungarian public, saying that “we all know what the consequence of continued Brussels-bashing may be”.

She called for allocating EU funds “directly to those most in need, to those the funds were aimed at”, namely local governments, entrepreneurs and civil organisations. “This is the only way to ensure that the funds don’t get stolen [by the government],” Donath said.

At the plenary, MEPs adopted a statement in which they express concern over “the worrying trends with respect to freedom of the press, media pluralism and the safety of journalists in several Member States” while warning that “journalists will continue to be at risk as long as institutions remain unable or unwilling to prosecute the corruption journalists expose”.

The group of MEPs for Hungary’s ruling Fidesz in response issued a statement saying that “the interpretation of the rule of law by Brussels is a parody of democracy”.

“Over the past years, the European left wing has been attacking democratically elected right-wing governments with a political aim by abusing the term…. The criticism levelled at Hungary and Poland over their rule of law situation are aggressive ideological attacks which are unfounded overall,” they said.

Fidesz MEP Balazs Hidveghi said the EP’s annual Rule of Law report would not present “an unbiased description about the real situation” because it was not applying equal standards towards member states. “Those reports have lost credibility ever since Brussels has been entangled in a corruption scandal and it has turned out that the main authors of these reports are experts and politically manipulating fake NGOs that are also the main suspects of the scandal.”


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