Do not pay attention to what I say, but what I do”, is a statement attributed to Viktor Orbán, which has undoubtedly taken on a new meaning this week. We are well-aware that Fidesz’s prime minister, as a political flip-flopper, usually says one thing in Brussels and another to his own electorate on public television, but now, in addition to the slippery double-talk, the head of government has been found to be telling a concrete lie. As I have already reported on my social media pages, next week Fidesz-KDNP wants to adopt an anti-European, utterly absurd parliamentary resolution in connection with a series of conferences on the future of the European Union. It is quite obvious that they want to push this through Parliament in order to use it for blackmail during negotiations in Brussels. In fact, the resolution describes the series of international conferences as ineffective and politically motivated, and the Hungarian position includes the dissolution of the European Parliament and the removal of the desire for ‘ever closer unity’ from the EU Treaties. The whole thing is sheer absurdity, and it is no coincidence that even Tibor Navracsics said in a radio interview that he was still considering whether to vote for this resolution as a Member of Parliament.
In contrast, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán took a completely different position at this week’s European Council (EUCO) meeting, and even signed the document closing the summit himself, i.e. he agreed with its contents. But the document states, among other things, that the EUCO “takes note of the proposals contained in the report on the outcome of the conference submitted to the three co-presidents” and that citizens will be informed of the follow-up. This latter information has certainly not been given and will clearly not be given: the government is, in fact, lying about the findings of the conference, as the parliamentary resolution demonstrates. As a matter of fact, the report on the outcome of the process, which the Hungarian Prime Minister has apparently quietly accepted and taken note of, summarized the views of European citizens, including Hungarian citizens, and made quite different conclusions from those included in the resolution by the governing parties that they call ‘the Hungarian position.’ In the final report, the European citizens did not call for the dissolution of the European Parliament, but for the strengthening of its powers, for example, by granting it the right of legislative initiative. According to the EUCO’s final document, Orbán took note of this and accepted it as the position of the majority of European citizens. Also included in the conference report is the opening of the revision of the Treaties and the review of Member States’ competences, but in the opposite way to what Fidesz-KDNP at home would like to see in a resolution. The result of the process is precisely that it is in favour of closer cooperation, of granting more European powers, for example, in the area of health, and not of abolishing the desire for closer unity. According to the final document of EUCO, Viktor Orbán has also taken note of this and accepted it as the majority position of European citizens. So the Hungarian governing parties are deliberately trying to put false statements in a parliamentary resolution, and at the European Council meeting, Viktor Orbán did not defend the “Hungarian position” at all, if you like; he did not indicate his opposition to the findings of the final report adopted and noted in connection with the Future of Europe conference, and did not indicate that the Hungarian government, as in so many other matters, has a completely opposite position to that of the majority of Europe. If the Prime Minister had protested then and there, if he had indicated his opposition, it would have been perfectly legitimate, although I would have disagreed with him. However, the fact that the conclusions adopted in the EUCO’s final document are in effect being concealed from the Hungarian public, and that they are trying to force a completely misleading parliamentary resolution with contradictory content through the Hungarian Parliament, is a lie in itself. I very much hope that, like Tibor Navracsics, there will be more people in the Fidesz-KDNP benches who will wonder whether it is acceptable to vote for this lying and damagingly anti-European resolution, and there will even be those who will not only wonder, but will eventually refuse to vote for it in good conscience.
MEP István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
26 June, 2022