Letter to the President

Letter to the President

2007. 02. 06.

6 February 2007
Hans-Gert Pöttering MEP
President of the European Parliament


Dear Mr President,

You have, on several occasions, publicly voiced your concern over the past few months on the shortcomings of Hungarian democracy. You are aware that hundreds of thousands of Hungarian citizens have expressed their protest against a government that had lied to them, and has been exposed.

On 23rd October 2006, Hungarian Police have cordoned off the square in front of the Hungarian Parliament effectively prohibiting free assembly of citizens. The seat of the Hungarian government is also in the building of Parliament. This prohibition has now lasted for over 3 months. According to the opinion of several legal experts, the Police simply did not have the right to limit free assembly in such a way. Various Hungarian citizens and NGOs have posted demands to hold demonstrations in Kossuth square since then. All of these demands have been rejected by the Police. As Vice President of the EPP-ED Group responsible for civil liberties, I have also sent such a letter to the responsible government minister in which I demanded an immediate end to the closure of the square and to the limitation of the right of free assembly of citizens.

I also spoke about this untenable situation in the plenary session of the European Parliament last week. It is my conviction that in a real European democracy such blatant restriction of the freedom of assembly and the freedom of opinion cannot be tolerated. Following the rejection by the Police of the various complaints, calls and letters, we, Members of the Hungarian and European Parliament belonging to FIDESZ – Hungarian Civic Union, peacefully removed the police cordon from around the Parliament last Friday. By this act, we removed the illegal iron curtain that, for more than 3 months, has restricted the freedom of citizens.

I hereby wish to inform you, Mr President, that the Budapest Police Authority has prosecuted me and my fellow MPs and MEPs on the grounds of “public offence” for the peaceful and non-violent removal of the cordon. I view this legal proceeding as an opportunity to prove our point. Consequently, I inform you that I hereby renounce my right of immunity as Member of the European Parliament, together with my fellow MEPs. It goes without saying that I also assume responsibility for any possible sanctions against me. I ask you, Mr President, to make the necessary steps in this regard.

It is the responsibility of any Member of the European Parliament to protect civil liberties against any authority that may restrict them. This must be a priority in a true democracy defined by the rule of law. This is what we, founders and members of FIDESZ did back in 1988-89, and this is what we will continue to do today if so needed.

József Szájer MEP
EPP-ED Group
Fidesz – Hungarian Civic Union

Cc.: Joseph Daul, MEP
Group Leader, EPP-ED Group