István Ujhelyi MEP on Election of Leyen-Committee

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3The new European Commission was formed under turbulent and rather peculiar circumstances. For instance, the president of the body , which is considered to be the government of the Union, Ursula von der Leyen was  unacceptably forced upon the European community a few months ago, neglecting, among others, the European Parliament in the nomination process. I rejected this procedure at the time, and as a form of protest, I did not support Leyen.
It was also a matter of principle that I would not vote in favor of a European Commission in which László Trócsányi, who played the important role of “chief legal architect” in creating the illiberal system, was to get any seat whatsoever. However, Trócsányi failed ahead of time in the interim, whereas the second candidate of the Hungarian government Oliver Várhelyi is already a professionally proven, experienced Brussels bureaucrat, who will hopefully prove his commitment and will work solely for the interests of the European Community and not for the Orbán-government.
Apart from my reservations, I also look forward to the new Commission with expectations: besides creating a system of direct resources for local governments, I will also make a proposal on the minimum healthcare provision that I have undertaken to take before the Commissioners as an important priority. It’s time to get started as the tasks ahead of us cannot wait any longer. That is why I now voted in confidence of the Leyen-Committee.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
27 November, 2019.

Solidarity protest action in EP against curbing rights of Hungarian opposition MPs

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str201901str201902Alongside Hungarian opposition MEPs, among others, the Spanish President of the S&D group Iratxe García Pérez also took part in the solidarity protest action on Tuesday, during the break of the plenary session of the European Parliament in Strasbourg.
The event was initiated by István Ujhelyi to draw attention to the violation of the rights of Hungarian parliamentarians. As is known, Fidesz aims to amend the law on the legal status of representatives in order to obstruct the government-critical work of opposition MPs. Among other things, Fidesz would withdraw the right of parliamentarians to enter public institutions without prior consultation, but would also restrict their right to free expression in Parliament.
According to the proposal, Speaker László Kövér could arbitrarily deprive Members of even a whole year’s salary (while, if fact, the law explicitly prohibits paid employment elsewhere), or even expel them from the building of Parliament and the Offices of Representatives, thus preventing them from performing their duties or exercising their constitutional rights.
In connection with the solidarity protest action, István Ujhelyi said that it was their job and duty to stand up for the Hungarian opposition MPs, whose rights were being curtailed. “We have seen many Fidesz methods, but they have never ventured this far. Although they refer to similar rules in other parliaments of the Union, the malicious intent and the dictatorial mentality are sole characteristics of the illiberal Orbán-system. We know exactly how unprincipled Fidesz is, and we know that the rules are made stricter to make it impossible for opposition politicians to do their job. This is an intolerable, cowardly and immoral move that needs to be voiced in Europe,” said István Ujhelyi.
The solidarity protest action was attended by the European politicians of the Democratic Coalition, Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi, and German, Austrian and Swedish delegation leaders and politicians, including former group-president Udo Bullmann.

Strasbourg – 11.26.2019

Ujhelyi: with unwavering solidarity, MSZP can do groundwork for defeating Orbán-government

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43108257_2277083245639182_2144371579121827840_nThe antidote to Fidesz’ manipulations is co-operation and maximizing solidarity, which has led to success in the local government elections. This is the focus of MSZP’s entire representative strategy by which the government shall be defeated, said MSZP MEP István Ujhelyi in the program “Straightforward Talk” on channel ATV Tuesday evening.
Next Wednesday, the European Parliament will vote on the European Commission, including the accepted Fidesz candidate, but the EU keeps watching over the difficult situation of the Hungarian opposition and its representatives, so even the smallest step of any concerned party bears great significance, said István Ujhelyi.
“We vote on the entire Commission at the single push of a button. In order to tackle the European Union’s seven-year budget, and within it specific issues that are essential  from the Hungarian point of view and for the common European future, such as high political, Syrian, Turkish or other matters, the Commission simply must function,” the socialist politician explained.
In light of this, “if Olivér Várhelyi had wished join our committee, the Transport Committee, I would have voted for him, since he can do the job,” Ujhelyi said. He added that one should be aware that, in the case of a Fidesz-delegated or any other EU commissioner for that matter, there is a possibility of dismissal in case of bias. As he said, with Tibor Navracsics, for example, there was no need for such measures, because after a year he had acted in a European spirit. With Speaker László Kövér’s disapproval of such behaviour, Navracsics could hardly expect to get a ministerial post from Fidesz upon his return to Hungary.
“The current Commissioner-designate had to respond in writing to what he would do with a country whose government took over the media, making it impossible for the opposition to function properly, and which was burdened with serious state corruption. He replied that he would warn such a country that it could not become a member of the European Union. This is a very strong message to the government, even without allusions,” Ujhelyi emphasized.
The opposition MEP also spoke of a solidarity campaign he initiated among Members of the European Parliament with Hungarian opposition MPs whose rights have recently been curtailed. “They are very interested; they read and see what’s going on in Hungary. We are elected representatives, and everything that has just been proposed and is likely to be adopted has created such uproar among fellow right- and left-wing MEPs alike, that they are indicating to me by the dozens that they also want to stand up for the rights of fellow Hungarian MPs!”
As he said, in addition to the EP, Ujhelyi also tries to help the work of the Hungarian Parliament. “Since my election, I was for the first time at a meeting of a Hungarian parliamentary committee yesterday to help pass a proposal for a resolution on the situation in Northern Syria, so that Fidesz representatives could vote for it in Hungary, as they did in the European Union. We managed to corner the chairman of the committee on this issue as well,” Ujhelyi said, but in the end the proposal was not taken on the Parliamentary agenda. Also, as compared to debate in Europe, the meeting was conducted in such an arrogant tone and with such personal remarks, which was certainly detrimental to Hungarian politics. Pertaining to this issue too, he made it clear that “it was the responsibility of the opposition to ensure a change of power and government in 2022.”
He pointed out that, even in the most difficult situations, the work of a representative had to be continued consistently. “If the opposition had not been active at the sessions in the municipalities, could they have won this municipal election? I hardly think so. The opposition has to be present, it has to show that there are serious professional suggestions, and it has to be pointed out at every moment that it is not a normal democracy the way the Hungarian National Assembly currently operates. ”
Finally, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi spoke of the role of MSZP, which he said was stable despite betrayals and members leaving. “We need to awaken Hungarian society so everyone can see that this cannot go on! (…) MSZP will formulate its strategy in the coming months; our base is the soul, the motive and the doer of the groundwork that can be built on.”

Budapest – 20.11.2019

“European Minimum Healthcare” provision must guarantee Hungarian patient safety too!

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eüminimimeng1In my capacity as MEP, I made an important and individual commitment to put the framework for the European minimum healthcare provision on the desk of EU decision-makers during this parliamentary term. During the consultation I initiated, it became clear that improving healthcare and strengthening patient safety was one of the main expectations of people from me, and that is why I became a member of the European Parliament’s Committee responsible for this field (ENVI) and set the goal of creating a European minimum program.
I am proud to report that I already have many supporters and professional allies in this extraordinary task. Not only domestic but also international health NGOs and professional organisations have indicated to me that they were ready to share their best practices and suggestions while working together, but I have also found partners in the health ministers of several EU Member States who have also seemed open to the proposal.
I strongly believe that the imbalance in healthcare systems in the EU is untenable. It is intolerable that the health and quality of life of European citizens depends in particular on the given Member State of the Union they live in. It is unacceptable that, due to the outflow of health workers, a severe shortage of professionals is threatening the provision of healthcare in the Eastern regions. It is also inconceivable that the EU leaves the management of healthcare to Member States and shrugs its shoulder when it comes to the plight of certain Member States. We will create this minimum provision framework and, if healthcare is apparently only a secondary area for the Hungarian government, we will also be the ones to guarantee Hungarian patient safety! We will make it happen!
Of course, the illiberal government is only good for false propaganda on the matter, claiming that Hungarian healthcare “has been renewed to a degree never seen before.” Well, regarding this matter, it is sufficient to recall only some of the information released these past days: according to official data, more people died last year from hospital infections than from car accidents. According to an OECD report, we can safely say: hundreds of thousands do not have access to adequate healthcare in Hungary. We also know from international reports that thousands of Hungarian doctors and tens of thousands of nurses are leaving the country or the career path. And if that wasn’t enough: in recent days, it was found that there is a specialist clinic where only appointments have to be made in order to book appointments. It’s simply absurd in the centre of Europe.
We will change this by establishing a minimum healthcare provision in the EU. We have started the work and the foundations of the framework are already being formed together with the professional organisations. It will be a long march, but the first steps have already been taken.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
17 November, 2019.

Blackmailing Viktor Orbán You Must Not Fear Will Be Good

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orberdThe transliteration in the title refers to the famous letter of the Archbishop of Esztergom John of Merania and the conspiracy phrased therein with Dodonian ambiguity, but it also perfectly illustrates our foreign relations today. In other words, the government, and more specifically Viktor Orbán, has a rather peculiar foreign policy and approach towards certain geopolitical figures. While recently he had fiercely denounced anyone “blackmailing” his government on the refugee issue in the European Parliament (as a matter of fact, nothing of the sort happened), Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s rather lowdown (yet very real) blackmail did not prompt him to raise his voice, better yet, he downright supported it.

President Erdogan, who is visiting Hungary in a few days, and has been here many times, has specifically threatened the European Union with the fact that if the European Community does not take over some of the burden of the Islamic country (that is, we will not pay them more for hosting the refugee masses) and if the EU keeps on criticizing them for example for the military aggression in Syria, they will not hesitate to open the gates of refugee camps and send thousands of asylum seekers to the West. This kind of threat goes far beyond political bluffs. And in the European community, only one country’s prime minister and government that stood up for President Erdogan: Viktor Orbán and Fidesz. It is difficult to explain why the head of government has such deep affection for leaders of states that have occupied us for shorter or longer periods of our history; but obviously there is an explanation. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish Head of State Erdogan visit our country as often and in a fashion as if colonists of sorts were coming to view their European investment. Make no mistake, the problem that our government maintains an active relationship with important geopolitical players, but it is certainly peculiar, that confused obedience, and in the background, the economic and personal interdependencies that surround these ties.
Because, as Orbán and his pals made a serious mistake letting in (not only letting in, downright inviting with a bow) the Russian with its peculiar exemptions raising national security issues,  the Turkish-Hungarian friendship is similarly intertwined with so many personal, basically family-run businesses. These will obviously benefit a certain circle of relatives and friends, while they put Hungary in chains that could cause serious damage as soon as in the short term.
One can see exactly what tangled relationships and private castle interweaving bond together businessmen near Erdogan and the highest circles of Fidesz. Orbán may keep  saying that he “does not deal with business,” but somehow his strange and personal businesses overshadow every Eurasian move he makes. Moreover, the image of the self-confident freedom fighter he projects is just as fake as the above-quoted sentence from the letter from Archbishop John of Merania.

Orbán can prove the opposite if, in a few days’ time, when President Erdogan visits us again, he publicly refuses the Turkish Head of State’s blackmail the European Union and distances himself from the military aggression in Syria. But I have an odd feeling that all  we shall see again will be the confused attempts at keeping his necktie in order, the shy smile and the peacock dance that by today tends more to resemble the awkward toddling of a duck.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
3 November, 2019

Fidesz in Trouble: We Bring EU Stance on Turkey before Hungarian National Assembly!

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orbdajcserdoEnough of the childish explanations and peacock dance of Fidesz: Hungarian voters deserve to know the true values of Fidesz. Last week, the ruling parties tried to fool everyone again and hide their own responsibility. This is what we are putting to an end now.
Viktor Orbán has been acting completely insane in the past weeks: first, he sealed a Kipchak blood oath with eastern dictators, then bowed to the ankle before the Turkish aggressor president and ensured him of his support of his actions in Syria. Moreover, at the beginning of the month, the Hungarian government first even tried to prevent the European Union from issuing a statement condemning the operations. Because of Fidesz’ unacceptable moves, leaders have spoken even at the highest level of the European right: thus far and no further! Presumably because of pressure from their own party group (we could call it political blackmail, too), Fidesz MEPs finally voted for the resolution condemning Turkish aggression at this week’s plenary session of the European Parliament.
What is stated here is most definitely in opposition to Orbán’s Turkish-friendly approach lacking principle and makes heavy statements on the matter. Leader of the Fidesz EP delegation Tamás Deutsch is now explaining their stark opposition to the Turkish-friendly policy of Orbán by saying that the European People’s Party has asked for a unified position on the matter and they finally voted for the document because of political discipline in the group. Their unprincipled ways are exemplified by the fact that just 24 hours after the EP decision adopted by Fidesz, Viktor Orbán already argued in favour of Turkish action on state radio and the state propaganda online news portal Origo mongers fear referring to masses of migrants that the Turkish Head of State will unleash over Europe because of the “hypocritical leaders in Brussels.”
Fidesz’ game is both hypocritical and dangerous: like professional con artists, they try to meet everyone’s demands and say or show what is seemingly expected of them in a given situation. However, this kind of unprincipled action first leads to minor slaps in the face and then to lasting damage. Especially in European and international politics, where the rebellious finesse can, of course, be effective, but purely business-based, unprincipled illiberalism causes serious injuries to an entire nation. Therefore, in order to put an end to this peacock dance, in the coming weeks, together with the parliamentary faction of MSZP, we will submit to the Hungarian Parliament the resolution of the Hungarian Parliament on the Turkish-Syrian conflict, supported by Fidesz. Let it be clear to Hungarian voters and European partners what Fidesz really stands for. If they are truly in favor of European and thus Hungarian values, they will vote in favour of its adoption by Parliament. If they will leave it out of the agenda or vote against it, they shall make it clear that Hungary does not matter to them, only Viktor Orbán and his shady family businesses.

dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
27 October, 2019