Sun, Jul 07, 2013 - Page 7 News List

Hungary rejects criticism from EU over human rights

RIGHT TO DISCRIMINATE:Right-wing lawmakers called on the government not to yield to the EU on laws banning gay marriage and fining homeless people

AFP, BUDAPEST

Hungary’s parliament vented its fury at the EU in a resolution passed on Friday after the European Parliament approved a report urging action against the central European country for eroding basic rights.

In the text, lawmakers called on the government “not to yield to the pressure of the EU,” which Hungary joined in 2004.

“We are now adopting a resolution to defend Hungary’s sovereignty and the equality of the Hungarian people in Europe,” they added.

The angry reaction came after the European Parliament on Wednesday approved a report calling for Hungary to remove certain passages from its constitution or risk sanctions.

The so-called “Tavares report,” named for Portugal’s Rui Tavares, the European Parliament member who authored it, found that recent constitutional and legal changes in Hungary were “incompatible” with EU values and standards.

Changes to Hungary’s constitution have limited judicial independence, reduced the definition of a family to heterosexual marriage and allowed authorities to fine the homeless.

Unless these provisions are “corrected,” Hungary risks “a serious breach of the values” laid out by the EU Treaty, the report said.

If Hungary is found to be in breach of the EU’s legal framework, it risks having its voting rights in the 28-member bloc suspended.

Since coming to power in 2010 with a two-thirds majority, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s right-wing government has introduced a new constitution and passed controversial laws.

These have prompted a flood of international criticism, particularly from the EU, charging that Orban is wielding too much power, overriding constitutional court decisions and threatening basic rights.

Most opposition parties in Hungary refused to vote on Friday’s resolution, with Socialist Hungarian member of parliament Gabor Harangozo saying that it “makes clear that ensuring Viktor Orban’s unlimited power is more important for [ruling party] Fidesz than basic EU values.”

“This is the road that leads Hungary out of Europe,” he said.

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