The Hungarian Opposition Roundtable was formed with the co-operation of all the eight Hungarian opposition MEPs, said István Ujhelyi, the main initiator of the alliance in the program Straightforward Talk on channel ATV on Wednesday evening.
The purpose and activity of the Roundtable is to represent the real and everyday problems of Hungarian people in the European Parliament; to fight for them in a credible and pro-European way. “I convinced my colleagues, the eight opposition MEPs, who are from 4 parties and sit in 3 different groups in the European Parliament. This means that if we have common issues that are important to us, in which we believe we can counterbalance the anti-European policy of Orbán, we should consult each other. There was no such thing in the previous cycle,” Ujhelyi said. The Roundtable shall coordinate efforts and positions on important issues on a weekly basis, he said. Concerning cooperation with the European Commission and its new leader, Ursula von der Leyen, he recalled that she had made several promises to the various parliamentary groups: “Ursula von der Leyen visited various groups on Monday in Strasbourg. She promised everything left and right, whatever each group wanted to hear. For our Socialist Group, she threw in her social sensitivity, the cocept of a social Europe, the European minimum wage program that is the program Timmermans and the European Socialists.”
Asked about the continuation, the MEP responded: “I say (…) that the President of the Commission will come back to the European Parliament in September-October with her Commission list, names, division of tasks and a program. If I will appreciate this and agree, I might yes to the Commission this time around.” However, István Ujhelyi indicated that he would only vote for the Commission if von der Leyen was to take into account the demands of the eight opposition MEPs formed as a result of the meetings on issues of importance to Hungary. One example for such an issue is providing direct resources to local governments, he said. “The mayor of Kispest, the mayor of Hajdúdorog, the mayor of Tiszaújváros, the mayors of Salgótarján, Szeged and the candidate for Budapest mayor Gergely Karácsony turned to me with this issue and we agreed that this must be achieved,” added Ujhelyi.
The Alliance is much wider than just the opposition MEPs joining forces, said Ujhelyi. “We sit in three different parliamentary groups, which means we have ‘tentacles’ towards partners that can help” – he explained. In this regard, the MEP also gave an example of the sewage sludge case: “Today I held a press conference together with Lajos Korózs (…) in this issue, for example, I am now seeking allies, not only among the 8 Hungarian opposition MEPs but in my committee, the Committee on Environment and Health. As a matter of fact, it has a liberal president. (…) We are convinced that this story is in conflict with European Union rules because there are very strict regulations on how much can be transported between countries and how,” he explained the basis for the European representation of the case.
“In Pápa and Székesfehérvár, we seem to have succeeded in stopping further deliveries. (…) This is definitely government business, and there is something very wrong with this. That is why I call for an investigation by the European Commission because I think it will turn out to be a breach of European law,” he said. On the EU representation of the case, he said: “A Socialist parliamentary committee chairman, Lajos Korózs is investigating the whole thing from opposition (…); he investigates the matter by correspondence and requesting information from the Croatian and Slovenian authorities. The opposition candidates for mayor of Pápa and Székesfehérvár stand up in the case and run an information campaign locally because the public does not know what is going on and then, as a Member of the European Parliament, I take it to a European level,” the socialist politician illustrated.
“We will take this further, just like the issue of employee rights at the Suzuki factory, and other similar, matters that are very important maybe only to 1000 people, but possibly to hundreds of thousands,” MSZP MEP István Ujhelyi emphasized the achievements of representing Hungarian people in the European Parliament.