Orbán wants the European money, but not our values.
During today's plenary debate in the European Parliament with Orbán, ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt asked the Hungarian PM how he wants to be remembered:
"It's time for you to make a choice. How do you want to be remembered? As the man who helped Hungary recover from communism or as the one who threw his country back in time."
"What I see is a modern day version of communist Hungary. Your economic protectionism, your excessive nationalism, your illiberal state. Your paranoia as well. You see enemies everywhere in Hungary. In the media, in the energy sector, in NGOs, in the academic world. Paranoia. It's almost as if Stalin is back."
"You signed up to the values of the Union. You have violated every single one of them. And yet you want Hungary to remain member of the European Union. You want to keep the EU funds, but you don't want our values."
First VP Sophie in 't Veld spoke about the Commission's decision to start an infringement procedure against Hungary: "The steps taken by the Commission are very welcome, but long overdue and not enough. For seven years now Orbán has been systematically undermining the democratic rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary. He is relentlessly, Putin or Erdogan-style, seeking to silence critical voices and suppressing critical thought, by stifling the media, bringing schools and academia under his control, harassing NGOs and weakening the independence of the judiciary".
"It is not enough for the Commission to take a narrow, legalistic approach and tackle each issue in isolation. Democracy as a whole is at stake. That is why launching Article 7 is absolutely justified."
Watch the speech of Sophie in 't Veld to Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán below: