The building of the European Parliament in Brussels – Photo: wikipedia

Varhelyi apologises for ‘misunderstanding over remarks’ at EP plenary

Hungary's EU Commissioner Oliver Varhelyi has expressed "sincere regrets" over a "misunderstanding" in connection with remarks he made during Tuesday's plenary session of the European Parliament.

Hungary’s opposition Democratic Coalition on Tuesday demanded that the commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy should resign without delay after he had been heard “calling deputies of the body idiots” through a microphone that was left turned on.

In a statement, Varhelyi said on Wednesday that his remarks had been taken out of context. What he said, the commissioner insisted, “was related to a private conversation” held in Hungarian with his cabinet chief on a completely different topic.

Varhelyi added he fully respected all institutions of the EU and their representatives, and thanked MEPs for Tuesday’s plenary, which he called “an excellent opportunity to discuss the extremely important geopolitical issues of the Western Balkans”. He said he was looking forward to further European Parliamentary debates “in full respect of my inter-institutional obligations and the principle of straightforward cooperation”.

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