Thursday, 6 December 2018

Ceisteanna (70)

Niall Collins

Ceist:

70. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of the situation in Hungary and the erosion of civil society and independent media; the steps that have been formally taken at EU level to address this; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [51319/18]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

On 15 September last, the European Parliament adopted the Sargentini report - 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 have 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 next 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. At this time of many challenges facing the Union it is more important than ever that we stand by our shared values.

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.