Solidarity with Protesters in Poland

Declaration of the Hungarian Europe Society
Please find the Declaration in Polish here.

The Hungarian Europe Society expresses solidarity with all Poles protesting against recent steps by the Polish government limiting democracy in Poland.

We are concerned about the measures which are meant to bring the Constitutional Court and the public media under the exclusive control of the Law and Justice (PiS) party led government. 

PiS is attempting to invalidate the mandate of five judges appointed by the previous Sejm – including both the two controversially and even the three lawfully selected candidates – and fill the Court with its own nominees instead. Additionally, it seeks to modify its operation, which will make this institution powerless to ensure the government’s compliance with the constitutional principles. 

The leaders of the public media are rapidly replaced and the institution is put under direct control of the government. This is implemented by PiS claiming that it is building neutral media but the cynical nomination of the party’s spin doctor as the head of the public television proves that PiS is in fact working towards securing full control over the public media. 

New Executive Board Leads HES

The Hungarian Europe Society held its traditional annual workshop and general electoral assembly on 3 January 2016. Firstly András Schweitzer gave a presentation entitled “Party competition and democracy: Has the left-right division become senseless (again)?” Following his speech, Dorka Horváth addressed the audience with her thoughts under the title: “Clicktivism”: online political movements”.
The participating HES-members re-elected István Hegedűs as chairman of the Society and extended the number of members of the Board to four. Györgyi Kocsis, András Schweitzer and Zsuzsanna Végh were elected as vice-chairpersons, whilst the members of the old Supervisory Board, Anita Bakos, Petra Bárd and Zsófia Stáhl, were re-elected.

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    András Schweitzer, István Hegedűs, Iván Tosics, János Kendernay, Kinga Szuly, Anita Bakos, Erik Uszkiewicz
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    Dorka Horváth, István Hegedűs
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    Bársony Fanni, Uszkiewicz Erik, Vidák Zsófia, Stáhl Zsófia, Fóti Tamás, Csákó Mihály, Szurday Kinga, Birizdó Ildikó, Horváth Dorka and Végh Zsuzsanna (on skype)
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    Jerzy Celichowski, István Hegedűs, Nóra Hegedűs, Tamás Molnár, János Kendernay and Mustár (dog)

Youth, Democracy, Inclusiveness

In the framework of the Citizen-rights project trainers of the Foundation for Democratic Youth in co-operation with the Hungarian Europe Society held sessions about democratic rights and responsibility for altogether hundred students of the Petrik Lajos Bilingual Secondary School, the Alternative Secondary School of Economics, the Városmajori Secondary School and the Politechnikum between November 2015 and January 2016. The interactive discussions brought up a lot of hot issues such as the refugee crisis, the fear of terrorism, multiculturalism and freedom of speech. 

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    Júlia Kéri, trainer

Should We Support Cameron?

Julie Smith, Director of the European Centre at the Department of Politics and International Studies, Cambridge University made a presentation entitled "Reform, renegotiation, referendum - prospects for Britain and the EU" on 21 November 2015.

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Legal and Political Dilemmas in the European Union

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The Budapest training of the Create/React program took place between 16-18 October 2015 in the framework of the European Citizen Rights project. The workshop was organised by HES in cooperation with the European Alternatives.

   Júlia Iván, Tamás Fazekas (17-18 October 2015): Refugee Crisis in Europe and Activism, PPT


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    Danielle Archibugi, Bistra Ivanova, Györgyi Kocsis, Erik Uszkiewicz
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    Péter Hack
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    Veronika Móra
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    Júlia Iván, Tamás Fazekas
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    Oli Henmann, István Hegedűs, Alba Villaneuva, Györgyi Kocsis
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    Attila Melegh, András László Papp, Chai Patel, Anikó Bakonyi, Dóra Mező
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    Mária Kovács

Humanism and the Refugees

On 8 September 2015, Hungarian NGO-s, including the Hungarian Europe Society, in a joint statement, asked the Hungarian government to acknowledge humanitarian aspects when dealing with the refugees and expressed their gratitude to the volunteers for their work.

Budapest, September 8, 2015 – The refugee crisis unfolding these days in Hungary has led to a critical situation where we feel it is our duty to speak out. The signatories urge the Hungarian government to handle the humanitarian crisis in the wake of the arrival of refugees according to basic standards of humanity, and to provide real help instead of criminalizing the refugees.

We do not wish to deny that the European asylum system is presently going through a severe crisis, nor to suggest that the key to the solution resides solely in the hands of the Hungarian government. None of the above, however, is ground for exemption from the duty of attempting to alleviate the plight of refugees. That is not a refugee issue or an immigration issue, but a basic requirement of humanity. Providing help to people in need, and doing everything we can for them – this is the moral responsibility of each and every citizen and government.

Yet, because of either inaptitude or deliberate inaction on the part of the government, a crisis has emerged in the streets and on the squares of Budapest, reaching by now the border village of Röszke as well. Handling the situation has been left for months to civil society groups and individuals sacrificing their free time, work, knowledge and money to provide assistance to their fellow human beings in need. We express our respect for and solidarity with the formal and informal civic communities that have done, with incredible determination and perseverance, that which should have been the task of the institutions of the state: to provide humane conditions for those in need.

The situation that developed in Röszke needs to be solved by the state, with the involvement of international organizations. We call on the government of Hungary to act the way a government can be expected to act in a crisis: humanely, fairly, and with due respect for human rights. Instead of criminalizing the refugees, let the government focus on alleviating their suffering and plight.

Declaration of the Hungarian Europe Society on the decision of the Hungarian government to erect a fence at the Serbian border

"Nobody has the intention of building a wall", declared GDR Head of State Walter Ulbricht in the summer of 1961, in East-Berlin. Despite of his words of annoyance, only two months had passed and masons started the construction. Recently Hungarian government politicians declared that no fence would be erected to stop migrants at Hungary’s Southern border. Yet, in 17 June 2015, the government has decided to erect a 4 meter high border closure. 

The Hungarian Europe Society deeply condemns the decision on erecting a barbed wire fence. 

We find it disgraceful that the Hungarian government neglects the recent calls for international solidarity by European and world religious and state leaders, while one of the biggest humanitarian disasters is unfolding in the Mediterranean Sea and millions are forced to leave behind their homes due to the ongoing armed conflicts in the Middle-East.   

We find it also disgraceful that while at the end of last year the European Commission granted an urgency support of 1,2 million euro from the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund to Hungary in order to enhance the institutional and human resource capacity of its authorities dealing with migration, instead of delivering on this, the government opted to build a fence from taxpayer’s money.  

We call on the government:

- to immediately cease the hate campaign against migrants, call back the billboard posters that stirring up prejudices and stop the „national consultation” that is linking the problem of migration to terrorism;

- that in case the government indeed wants to address migrants, it should do it with respect (using the formal language of communication) in the institutions where they stay, and, if possible, on a language what they speak;  

- to strict to the principles of its own Migration Strategy adopted in 2013; 

- not to hinder by building a fence the possibility to handle in an asylum request in Hungary, which would result in breaching international treaties;

- to provide information on the European migration flow based on real facts and figures and about the planned actions of the European institutions;

- as a Member State of the European Union, to coordinate with other Member States and neighbouring countries, as the only way to address the issue of migration effectively is through coordinated actions;

- to constrain itself from taking unilateral steps just before the upcoming meeting of the European Council aiming to develop a common migration strategy.

Hungary, that gave Two-hundred-thousand refugees to the world in 1956; Hungary, that played a leading role in dismantling the Iron Curtain, can’t erect walls at its borders if it wants to stay loyal to the ideas of freedom. 

Budapest, 19 June 2015