Politics Regional

Orban`s coronavirus laws stir up another beef with Brussels

Viktor Orbán`s right to rule by decree worried the European Parliament. On Thurday, May 14, the European parliament discussed Hungary’s coronavirus laws adopted late in March. That time, under the veil of the fight against coronavirus, the Hungarian government vested Orban with the powers to rule by decree indefinitely.

Main critics was focused at the provisions of the law which provides for the emergency state without the clear endpoint and the possibility for up to five years’ imprisonment of those who disseminate false information which has already turned into the detainment of those who criticize the authorities in Facebook posts.

As a result of the debates in the European Parliament, which Orbán ignored saying he was to busy to attend, the antagonism between the Parliament’s and the Hungarian government’s positions only deepened.

“The Union has not taken any concrete measures to sanction Orbán’s government,” one of the lawmakers, Iratxe García Pérez of Spain, told European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova and other EU leaders. “And so he continues his action to centralize power, to interfere in the electoral system, to control the news media, education, culture, harassing civil society. Colleagues, this is shameful!” The lawreceived its portion of critics from the Freedom House group, which states Orbán has “dropped any pretense of respecting democratic institutions.”

“This law is meant to intimidate and silence dissenting voices because the prime minister is scared to lose his power,” Katalin Cseh, a Hungarian member of the European Parliament from the Momentum Party, explains. “As a result he harasses people commenting on Facebook.”

One of the detainees, Janos Csoka-Szucs, was questioned by the police for several hours after they seized his phone and computer. Earlier Orbán’s government announced their plans to empty the beds in hospitals in anticipation of coronavirus patients flow. Csoka-Szucs posted a comment in Facebook saying beds were also emptied in the hospitals of his city. This statement, according to police, jeopardized the government’s coronavirus response.

To address the situation, MEPs proposed cutting the funds allocated to Hungary as they work for silencing dissenting voices, or “tying that money to anti-corruption guarantees or at least some kind of supervision by the European public prosecutor’s office,” as it Katalin Cseh proposed .

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