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Ahead of a debate in the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, the ALDE Group in the European Parliament firmly condemns both the call for the re-introduction of the death penalty in Hungary and the xenophobic and leading wording of its Government's public consultation on migration.
Sophie in 't Veld (D66, The Netherlands), vice-chair of the ALDE Group says Orbans' government did not intend to ask people for their views, but rather to communicate its own xenophobic views:
"Orbáns' call for reintroduction of the death penalty is not compatible with EU law. That is not even a question. But we should not be distracted by his remarks, as they are only meant to be provocative. The text of the public consultation on immigration and asylum is much more worrying, as that is official government policy. It is not enough for Commissioner Timmermans to criticize in a blog on Facebook, the Commission must use their powers and intervene
The EPP group should no longer turn a blind eye and make excuses for Orban, they must expel him now. How much longer will the Commission remain passive? This is not a matter for a parliamentary committee. ALDE insists for this issue to be discussed in plenary, so we get answers from Juncker and Tusk.
Hungarian opposition parties should pull their act together and offer a credible alternative to Mr. Orban. We call for a Democratic Governance Pact, which will give the EU the instruments to monitor and protect the rule of law, fundamental rights and democracy, and impose sanctions in case of breaches."
ALDE MEP, Louis Michel (MR, Belgium), ALDE shadow raporteur on the situation of fundamental rights in the EU, calls for action to defend our values:
"For how many years now have we witnessed this Hungarian drift? For how many years have we warned the other EU institutions about this? Does Mr. Timmermans want a more effective Union? We must take political responsibility and this means the Commission must defend our values by making recommendations and by launching a procedure as ALDE has asked for. Viktor Orban doesn't defend anything. He is destroying everything. By launching a debate on the death penalty, he turns Hungary against history's flow. He takes extreme positions in order to strengthen his power by populist, autocratic and xenophobic means, which are totally against European values. There is no more time for dialogue, it's time for action."