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Govʼt to boycott EP debate on rule of law in Hungary

The government will not participate in a debate on Hungary in the European Parliament (EP) next week, Gergely Gulyás, the minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office, said at a press conference held on Thursday in Budapest, arguing that there are "no genuine grounds whatsoever" for such a debate.

Gulyás was cited as saying by official government website that the mandate of the incumbent EP will run out in May, and so it is "a product nearing its sell-by date."

Hungary is hoping to see an anti-immigration majority in EU institutions – including the European Parliament and the European Commission – emerge instead of the present pro-immigration majority, and the EP elections are a crucial element in this, he added.

Questioning the rule of law in Hungary is "only an excuse," the minister said, and a sanction for Hungary being the first country to declare that it will not accept immigration and wants to remedy demographic challenges through family policy measures.

Gulyás described the proposition that issues regarding the rule of law should be tied to payments from the EU budget as "sheer blackmail." The Council adopts the budget with a unanimous vote, and therefore proposals of this nature will be rejected, he noted.

The European Parliament is scheduled to hear Council and Commission statements on "The rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary, developments since September 2018" on Wednesday, January 30, reported Hungarian news agency MTI.