Well, this really is the lowest of the low! Since the Pegasus scandal, we are well-aware that Fidesz likes to monitor and eavesdrop on public figures and civilians critical of it, but this attempt has really gone beyond all limits. In the past two days, an important delegation has arrived in Brussels at the invitation of Klára Dobrev, organized by the S&D group, including teachers’ union leaders and several teachers and students who have been active in standing up and protesting for their rights in recent times. The group also met key representatives of the European Parliament, in addition to relevant decision-makers from the European Commission, and I and my colleagues in Brussels played our part in organizing the programme, too. Yesterday, we organized a meeting for them in the European Parliament, which was advertised in the Parliamentary public sphere, where they shared their experiences and feelings with MEPs and EP experts about the problems of public education in Hungary, the untenable situation of teachers and the intimidating and intolerable actions of Fidesz in response to their actions. In fear of the continuation of domestic retaliation, the students explicitly asked that, although the content of their discussion was open to the press, what they said should not be recorded, photographed or otherwise filmed in the room; This has been made clear several times. (How infinitely sad, by the way, that young people felt the need to do this in order to protect themselves from the excesses of power, but as it soon became apparent: not without reason). During the meeting, it was discovered by chance that one of Andrea Bocskor’s colleagues, hiding in the audience – evidently following the instructions of her superior – was secretly recording what was said despite the students’ request and taking detailed notes of who shared what by the group members during the Brussels discussion. After the Fidesz staff member was caught, the organizers asked her to delete the illegally made audio recording on the spot, which she then complied with.
The Fidesz member of staff did not introduce herself at the event and did not say a word to anyone about her intention to make an audio recording of the event. Not only was this immoral and unprecedented, but the unauthorized, secret audio recording was, in this case, also illegal. It is obvious that the intention of the Fidesz staff member’s superiors was to use the audio recordings later, even by manipulating them, against teachers and students critical of the Fidesz government, and possibly to punish them with further retaliation and media harassment. At the very least, Fidesz MEP Andrea Bocskor and head of the Fidesz delegation Tamás Deutsch should publicly apologize for what happened; apologize to Hungarian students and teachers and reassuringly clarify just how regular and common practice it is for Fidesz MEPs and staff to produce secret audio recordings of events critical of the government, despite the express request of the people concerned.
MEP István Ujhelyi
(S&D Group Hungarian delegation)
Brussels – 30/11/2022