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Opposition Socialist and Párbeszéd MEPs, canvassing votes ahead of the European Parliament elections, said they had worked “to accomplish meaningful results for the future of Hungarian voters and the EU” rather than to oppose Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s policies per se. At a press conference, Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi and Párbeszéd MEP Benedek Jávor said during the past five-year cycle, they had served the interests of Hungarian voters and the EU. Ujhelyi, the deputy head of the EP’s transport committee, cited transport and tourism projects such as the Free Interrail programme and autonomous transport as examples of his work. Jávor, who holds the fourth place on the joint list, said that MEPs should represent the interests of Hungarians in a way that results in a successful and sustainable Europe. Regarding his work on climate and energy policy issues, Jávor said that “real utility cost cuts”, as opposed to the “cost-cut lies” of the government, should be achieved by regulations helping Hungarian households to become more energy efficient.

The Hungarian government has harmed the EU’s basic values, and that is a threat to the whole of Europe, not only to Hungary, Jávor said. “We sharply oppose the government on this matter.” The government, he added, had “no right to strip Hungarian citizens of their basic European rights”.

The ruling Fidesz party responded in a statement that left-wing “pro-migration” MEPs had acted “against the will of Hungarian voters” as Ujhelyi and Jávor had voted for every pro-migration proposal that Brussels put forward over the past five years, flying in the face of the will of Hungarians. “Hungary needs MEPs who represent the interests of Hungarian people in Brussels and not the other way round,” the statement added.