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Fine Gael silent on sister party’s attack on knowledge and democracy – Boylan

6 April, 2017 - by Senator Lynn Boylan

Speaking this morning, Sinn Féin MEP Lynn Boylan has criticised lawmakers from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party who have approved an education bill that targets universities in receipt of foreign funding from America.  

The Dublin MEP said:

“The latest move by Orban’s Fidesz party follows in a long line of attacks on human rights, except in this case the party has turned their gaze upon the right to education. The legislation being approved by the Hungarian Government is an attack on knowledge and democracy and it is up to we MEPs who share a Parliament with Fidesz MEPs to use our position to speak out against what they are doing.

“More importantly, it is up to their political grouping in the European Parliament, the European People’s Party (EPP), and the MEPs in that group to challenge them on their attitudes and actions.

“It is heartening to see that some of their colleagues have already criticised and challenged them on their behaviour. Manfred Weber, the leader of the EPP has stated that ‘freedom of thinking, research and speech are essential’ and that the EPP would ‘defend this at any cost’. He also demanded that the European Commission assess the legislation.

“However, I would question why there has been no criticism from Fine Gael MEPs who are colleagues of Fidesz in the EPP. Indeed, this is the continuation of a long line of silence from Fine Gael on the behaviour of their colleagues even when that behaviour relates to possible human rights breaches.

“I have raised this issue a number of times; in July 2015, I wrote an article asking whether Fine Gael favoured having numbers in their EPP group over human rights, freedom of press, and civil liberties. And today, I reiterate that question.

“I would implore Fine Gael MEPs to challenge their colleagues on their actions and side with the hundreds of other MEPs who have criticised the behaviour of Fidesz over the past number of days. We can’t all be wrong.

“I would also plead with the media to highlight the abuses that are being carried out in Hungary by the Government. There is a need now more than ever for us all to stand up for what is right and defend knowledge and democracy.” 

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