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 Full text 
Tuesday, 11 September 2018 - Strasbourg Revised edition

The situation in Hungary (debate)

  Judith Sargentini, Rapporteur. – Mr President, some of the speakers asked why this report is based on sources from outside of the Union; some called it ‘cut and paste’. I will explain why. It’s because within the Union there are no reports being written that are benchmarks on fundamental rights and democracy per Member State. For instance, the Fundamental Rights Agency in Vienna, one of our agencies, is not allowed to do that. And why is that? Because Member States in the Union have been shying away from looking at the state of their country when it comes to democracy, fundamental rights and the rule of law.

Some speakers asked why Hungary? Why not Romania, Slovakia, Malta? Well, I’ve been here since 2009. If you look at my track record I have been supporting every debate that deals with rule of law in a Member State, and I can tell you that Romania is going to be on the agenda next time if you all agree with a proposal that the Greens have made. And I know that the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs is going to visit Malta and Slovakia next week to look into the issues around the murder of journalists and corruption. I think that is important. But two wrongs do not make a right, and that’s the mistake a lot of people here are making. If you point to a mistake by somebody else, it doesn’t compensate for the mistakes you make yourself. I think we should keep that in mind.

Now, if you, as a representative of a minority grouping, manage to break through a glass ceiling, good for you. It doesn’t mean that everybody else in your society is able to follow you through the glass you’ve broken, and it is that possibility that society needs to create because, in the end, what is a government? A government is a service provider to its people – all its people – and a government that is elected with such an enormous majority has extra responsibility to bring along all its people. That is what Article 2 is about: people. Article 2 is about respect for human rights, including everybody, and Article 2 is not about nepotism. Nepotism is not a European value.

I ask the House to vote in favour of this report. Tomorrow Commissioner Juncker will talk about the State of the Union. Well, this is a decisive moment for the state of our Union.

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