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Hungarian Commissioner from government that openly undermines democracy not fit for top EU post

Culture, education, youth and citizenship cannot be defended by a Commissioner from the Orban government

GUE/NGL MEPs were less than impressed with former Hungarian Minister Tibor Navracsics' hearing performance in Parliament's culture and education (CULT) committee this evening and strongly oppose his appointment to the position.

Italian GUE/NGL MEP Curzio Maltese said: “Having previously held the positions of both Justice Minister and Foreign Affairs Minister in Orban's government, Navracsics was politically responsible for the implementation of restrictive reforms which concentrated more and more powers into the hands of one party and one man, most notably the media reform and the reform of the Hungarian justice system.”

Despite his attempts to distance himself from Orban's policies, it is hard to see how Navracsics could defend freedom of expression and a fair distribution of European funds to NGOs when since September his party has been tightening its aggressive policy against NGOs in Hungary. Navracsics claimed this evening in his hearing that Hungary has a “flourishing civil society sector” and that there was “no problem” where NGOs are concerned.

Irish GUE/NGL MEP Liadh Ní Riada commented on the importance of safeguarding European culture: “What we stand to lose is beyond comprehension in terms of the arts, literature, music song and dance, there is no point in lamenting the loss of such rich and diverse cultures after the event, the time is now to safeguard and nurture our culture, to do so is to further ourselves.”

She also highlighted the importance of linguistic diversity in the EU, underlying the need to protect the Irish language's position as an official EU language: “Our language identifies us, our nationality and our culture and indeed stated by the EU as an important priority. Irish is the first official language of Ireland and to not have the right to have full interpretation in the European Parliament flies in the face of the prioritisation of languages.”

GUE/NGL Press Contacts:
Emily Macintosh +32 470 85 05 08
Gay Kavanagh +32 473 84 23 20
European United Left / Nordic Green Left
European Parliamentary Group