Fidesz MEP admits he was present at illegal party
Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com
Prominent Hungarian MEP József Szájer has confirmed he was at a party in Brussels that was raided by police on Friday (November 27) for being in breach of Belgian lockdown regulations banning gatherings of more than four people.
Fidesz founding member and MEP József Szájer confirmed his presence at the party in a statement this afternoon (December 1). He announced his resignation as MEP on Sunday, two days after the incident. (Photo by Alexandros Michailidis / Shutterstock.com)
Belgian police described it as a "lockdown party", though local press reports rather more salaciously called it an orgy, according to an article by politico.eu.
Several of the people found at the party "invoked immunity from the EU institutions," the police said. Citing Belgian press reports, Hungarian media say that the authorities found some 25 men in a state of undress, including the MEP and an unspecified number of diplomats.
Belgian news site HLN did not name the MEP explicitly, but its report mentioned that the man was the leader of Fideszʼs Parliamentary Group in Hungary between 1994 and 2002. The report also adds that the man announced his resignation from the European Parliament last Sunday. The only Hungarian MEP who fits those criteria is József Szájer, a founding member of Fidesz whose surprise resignation was announced at the weekend.
Hungarian news site hvg.hu reports that Szájer recently released a statement confirming that he did take part in what he called a "house party" in Brussels last Friday.
Drugs found in Szájerʼs backpack
The police were initially called to the scene after "a legal complaint for night-time disturbance" was lodged about a "lockdown party" in the apartment in downtown Brussels.
According to a press release from the Public Prosecutor’s office of Brussels, Szájer attempted to flee the police, injuring himself in the process.
"A passer-by reported to the police that he had seen a man fleeing along the gutter; he was able to identify the man. The man’s hands were bloody. It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing. Narcotics were found in his backpack," the press release says.
The MEP said that he did not consume drugs, arguing that the ecstasy tablets found by the police are not his.
He was unable to produce any identity documents. Eventually, he was escorted by the police to his place of residence, where he identified himself via a diplomatic passport.
Szájer was given an official verbal warning.
After Fideszʼs election victory in 2010, Szájer was one of the key people involved in writing the new constitution for Hungary, heading the parliamentary committee for drafting the document. According to multiple Hungarian media reports from 2011, the politician wrote and edited the document on an iPad.
One of the more controversial elements of the new constitution was the decision to include in it a conservative definition of marriage, which states: "Hungary shall protect the institution of marriage as the union of a man and a woman established by voluntary decision, and the family as the basis of the nationʼs survival."
Update: Szájer resigns Fidesz membership
Citing an article by Magyar Nemzet, state news wire MTI reported on Wednesday that Szájer has resigned as a member of Fidesz.
In a break during a cabinet meeting on Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán told the paper that MEPʼs actions "are incompatible with the system of values of our political community".
"We will neither forget nor spurn his 30 years of work, but his actions are unacceptable and indefensible. He took the only appropriate decision after the events when, in addition to apologizing, he resigned from his mandate as an MEP and left Fidesz," Orbán said.
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