'Hungary Most Corrupt & 2nd Poorest State in EU', Says Magyar - Who Will Take EP Seat

  • 20 Jun 2024 6:57 AM
  • Hungary Matters
'Hungary Most Corrupt & 2nd Poorest State in EU', Says Magyar -  Who Will Take EP Seat
The opposition Respect and Freedom (Tisza) Party’s priority is to “take our country back” from the government “which made Hungary the most corrupt and second poorest member state” in the European Union, Péter Magyar, the party’s deputy leader, said in Brussels.

Speaking at a press conference after the European People’s Party voted to admit Tisza into its European parliamentary group, Magyar said he would manage his party’s work aimed at bringing about change in Hungary from Budapest, adding he would provide more details on this later on Tuesday.

He said people were “fed up with corruption, the lies and the propaganda”, so Hungary had to be taken back from the government “step by step, day by day”.

Concerning Tisza’s admission to the EPP’s group, Magyar said he was proud that the party would be joining the EP’s largest group where they would be able “to really represent” the interests of the Hungarian people.

He vowed that Tisza would work with the EU within the EPP “in a constructive manner”.

He said the EP needed to apply a new approach to Hungary, adding that one of Tisza’s priorities would be to close the Article 7 procedure and the rule-of-law procedure against Hungary.

Magyar said Tisza’s MEPs would take part in the work of committees which were important to Hungarians, mentioning the issues of energy, environmental protection, competitiveness and agriculture as examples.

He said they would also work to help Hungary gain access to its frozen EU funds in the coming five-year term.

Asked about the war in Ukraine, Magyar said Tisza’s stance was that Russian President Vladimir Putin was the aggressor and Ukraine the victim. He said Ukraine and its people had a right to defend their territory.

Magyar said his party agreed with the government’s position that Hungary would send neither troops nor weapons to Ukraine.

He added that the EPP had understood Hungary’s “uniquely sensitive” situation, keeping in mind the interests of the ethnic Hungarian community in Ukraine.

Magyar to Take Up EP Seat

Péter Magyar, the deputy leader and EP list-leading candidate of the Respect and Freedom (Tisza) party, has said he will take up his European parliamentary seat.

“It’s true that I’d said multiple times that I didn’t plan on taking up this seat, and I understand the many criticisms I’m getting because of this,” Magyar said in a livestream on Facebook on Tuesday after the European People’s Party voted to admit Tisza into its EP group.

He added, however, that his party had an “influential and big group” in the EPP, which presented them with “a lot of opportunities”.

He said Tisza now had the opportunity to build an international network and gain support and knowledge from its international partners, “which is invaluable in a parliamentary election campaign”.

EPP Group Votes to Admit Hungary's Opposition Tisza Party Into Its Ranks

The European parliamentary group of the European People’s Party voted to admit the Hungarian opposition Party of Respect and Freedom (Tisza) into its EP group at a meeting in Brussels on Tuesday.

MEPs of the EPP voted, with 97% in favour, to allow the seven candidates from Tisza’s list who have been elected to the EP — Péter Magyar, Dóra Dávid, Zoltán Tarr, András Kulja, Eszter Lakos, Gabriella Gerzsenyi and Kinga Kollár — to join their group.

In addition to Tisza’s MEPs, the centre-right grouping also voted in favour of admitting seven other MEPs into the group.

According to the EPP’s statement, the admission of the new members will allow the group to consolidate its position “as by far the strongest political Group in the European Parliament”.

It also said that the newly admitted MEPs have joined the EPP Political Group, but their parties have not joined the EPP Party, noting that decisions regarding Group and Party membership were independent of each other.

According to the latest update from the European Parliament, the EPP will have 190 MEPs, the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats 136, Renew Europe 80, the European Conservatives and Reformists 76, the Identity and Democracy group 58, the Greens 52 and the Left will have 39 MEPs.

There are a total of 89 independent or new MEPs, the latter of whom can still join a party group after the formation of the new EP.

Meanwhile, Chief Prosecutor: Hungary Follows Up all OLAF Recommendations

Every recommendation by the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) to Hungary “is followed up by an investigation”, the public prosecutor said on Wednesday.

Referring to OLAF’s 2023 report on Hungary, the prosecutor’s office said that out of all the cases OLAF brought to the attention of Hungary’s authorities between 2019 and 2023, two charges were brought, while an investigation into a third case was terminated.

“The ratio of cases in which an indictment was made was 67%, an outstanding figure compared with the EU average of 37%,” the statement said. In 15 cases an investigation is under way, it added.

The office noted that “despite a legal obligation and under instructions by Chief Prosecutor Péter Polt, an investigation is initiated every time OLAF notifies the Hungarian authorities,” or “if an investigation is under way already, OLAF’s recommendation is attached to the documents with an evaluation.”

Hungary’s prosecution service and OLAF are in close cooperation, with “regular consultations both at leadership and professional levels,” the office said, noting that “already excellent cooperation was also formalised in a working agreement signed in February 2022.”

Finmin: Hungary at EU Forefront of Economic Whitening​​​​​​​

Hungary is among the European Union countries that have made the most progress in whitening their economy since 2010, the finance minister told a conference on Wednesday, noting that the VAT gap has fallen to 4.4% from 22% and the rate of tax deductions as percentage of GDP has decreased to 35% from 40%.

Hungary’s government overhauled the tax system in 2010, shifting the emphasis from taxes on labour to consumption taxes, Mihály Varga said on the opening day of the General Assembly of the Intra-European Organisation of Tax Administrations (IOTA) in Budapest.

The highest personal income tax rate has fallen to 15% from 36% since 2010, while the corporate tax rate has been cut from 20% to 9%, the lowest in the EU, Varga said.

Meanwhile, payroll taxes have been slashed from 33.5% to 13%, he added. It was thanks to these measures, Varga said, that Hungary ranks 11th out of the 38 OECD countries.

The presidency of the IOTA in the year-long cycle ending on July 1, 2024 was held by Ferenc Vágújhelyi, head of national tax and customs authority NAV.


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