Tuesday, 11 December 2018

Questions (107, 109)

Niall Collins

Question:

107. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions taken at national and EU level in view of the shrinking of civic space and freedom of democracy in Hungary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51542/18]

View answer

Niall Collins

Question:

109. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the actions taken at national and at EU level in view of the reduction of civic space and freedom of democracy in Hungary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51627/18]

View answer

Written answers (Question to Foreign)

I propose to take Questions Nos. 107 and 109 together.

The European Parliament adopted the Sargentini report, on 15 September last - a reasoned proposal inviting the Council to determine whether there is a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the European Union is founded. The Hungarian Government has issued a written response in relation to this report. The Commission has provided a paper on the values-related infringement procedures that it has taken to address concerns with the situation in Hungary.

At the General Affairs Council meeting on 11 December, Ministers will have an exchange of views on these documents and the next steps forward. Ireland has previously made its concerns known in relation to issues surrounding the rule of law and recent legislation targeting non-governmental actors in Hungary.

I note the announcement on 3 December by the Central European University that it will be relocating to Vienna from Budapest from next January. Academic freedom is one of our fundamental values within the Union and it is a source of regret that an academic institute feels it has no other choice but to leave an EU Member State in order to continue its operations.

At this time of many challenges facing the Union it is more important than ever that we stand by our shared values.