The European Parliament election on May 26 will decide whether progressive parties continue to implement programmes that uphold the material and physical security of European citizens, Hungary’s Socialist leader said. Bertalan Tóth, who tops the EP list for the Socialist-Párbeszéd alliance, said that the other option was that far-right, populist politicians would gain a majority. They, he said, would pull the European community apart and hand pre-eminence to nation states. The European Union should be about the minimum wage and pension as well as family allowances. It should also be about guaranteeing basic services, he said.
Tóth branded Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ‘”a coward” for refusing to accept an invitation to debate the European Socialist group’s spitzenkandidat Frans Timmermans.
László Andor, a former Hungarian EU commissioner who is now head of the Institute for Social Democracy, said the European social fund was a serious financial resource. It is important to make sure that such resources get to those who deserve them, he said. Referring to Hungary’s so-called “slave law”, Andor added that EU working time rules should be strictly adhered to.
Asked about the National Election Committee’s decision not to suspend the immunity of the Democratic Coalition’s Csaba Czeglédy and the ruling Fidesz party’s move to publish the names of members of the committee who voted to reject the suspension, Tóth said that the latter was “unacceptable”.
Asked about plans by American Republican and Democratic senators to appeal to US President Donald Trump to bring up the issue of “erosions” to Hungarian democracy at next week’s meeting with Orbán, he said it was already a big deal that both Republican and Democratic senators had spoken as one on the matter. But at the same time the issue should be addressed at home, he said, adding that the next chance to do so would be the May 26 EP election.