Local view for "http://purl.org/linkedpolitics/eu/plenary/2017-04-26-Speech-1-043-000"

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"Mr President, I wish to welcome the Prime Minister to the European Parliament. Prime Minister, I really appreciate your presence and indeed, as Manfred said, it is better to debate directly. Mr Orbán, we were actually born in the same year and I no longer recognise the defender of freedom and democracy that became known to me under your name back in 1989. We Greens also have our share of criticism for a number of political orientations of the European Union, but what I do not understand is when you start comparing the EU with the Soviet Union. Come on! If Brussels were Moscow, we would have tanks from the EU in London right now. We do not. On the contrary, I am struck by the fact that a number of the laws that you are passing in your country find their inspiration in Putin’s Moscow, which is hardly anyone’s dream, right? No, I really do not understand you because you have a privilege. Twice you enjoyed an overwhelming majority. Your people trusted you and I just imagine – you might laugh at me – but if my party enjoyed a two-thirds majority in any Member State – well, three times, I agree! – I would not be afraid of an independent press because it would stimulate the public debate in the country and mobilise the collective intelligence we need. I would not be afraid of a strong and independent judiciary, because checks and balances is what we need in democracy. I would not be afraid of a vibrant civil society, because it would help me spot problem areas that I need to solve. I would not be afraid of leading-edge universities because they would nurture talent in my country, and I would say ‘even better if some of the funding comes from abroad because it enriches my country.’ It is not just that I would not be afraid of these things, I would cherish them, because I think they would help to deliver a better society for my citizens. So what are you afraid of? A bit like Guy Verhofstadt said, since Hungary enjoys the financial solidarity of the EU, and rightfully so, it should abide by all the obligations of the EU, but this is not the first reason. The first reason is do these things, be an open society, because it is good for Hungary. Hungary will be stronger. Hungary will be a better place for its people by having a diversified free press, strong democratic checks and balances, a vibrant civil society and leading-edge universities. I would like to conclude with one thing, the refugee issue, and of course you expected me to do that. Mr Orbán, I must say that we are utterly appalled at the way your country has been treating refugees. True enough, Hungary sits in an uncomfortable situation at the outer border of the EU. But instead of directing your anger at refugees themselves, you should direct your energy towards your fellow EU Member States so that they help you in welcoming them. Mr Orbán – and you did it again today – you often refer to Christian values. Well, I must tell you one thing: as a Christian, I find nowhere in the Gospel that the stranger should be locked up and sent back. What I read there is that we should welcome and protect. ( )"@fr2

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