PES host ‘alternative’ EU Presidency handover
Also pledge to 'continue to monitor Hungarian Government for any attacks on democracy'
(30 June 2011) Flanked by the Hungarian and Polish Social Democratic leaders, PES President Poul Nyrup Rasmussen hosted an ‘alternative to the EU Presidency Handover’ to draw a sharp contrast between the Conservative path and the Progressive path for Europe. “Our aim is to underline what we, the PES, think should have happened over the last 6 months and what we want to happen over the next 6 months under the respective EU Presidencies” said Mr. Rasmussen. He added that; “I am honoured to share the platform withAttila Mesterházy and Grzegorz Napieralski”. The PES President reminded journalists that the Hungarian Conservative Government of Viktor Orban had presented their EU Presidency programme under the slogan: “A strong Europe with a human touch”, but that that now seemed like a long time ago now.
The issues of a concerted attack on the freedom of the Hungarian Media, a complete revision of the Constitution and mixed messages about the rights of the Roma Community and immigrants, were listed by the Hungarian leader Attila Mesterhazy. He stated that; “in professional civil service terms our EU Presidency was a success but politically under Viktor Orban it was a failure”.
The PES have pledged to continue to monitor the Hungarian Government of Viktor Orban for any attacks on democracy. "Just because the EU Presidency 'spotlight' has been turned off in Budapest, it does not mean that we will not continue to be hyper-vigilant in assesing the actions of Orban's Government", emphasised the PES President. A big test will be the upcoming changes to Hungarian electoral law, which will be proposed after the summer break.
Having met with PES representatives, Editor in Chief of Hungarian Newspaper NEPSZAVA, Peter Nemethsaid that; "Now that the EU institutions will look away from Hungary, the true nature of Viktor Orban's Government. will be revealed. We welcome the PES commitment to continue to monitor the state of Hungarian democracy. There are historical precedences that show the fragility of democracy in Europe. We must remain alert to any attacks."
Polish leader Grzegorz Napieralski stated that the upcoming Polish Presidency would be vigilantly watched. He pledged that he would do his utmost to ensure that an approach based on solidarity informed the 6 month term.