We were shocked and surprised to receive the senseless, antidemocratic and populist proposal raised by Péter Medgyessy in the Hungarian Parliament on February 16, 2004, suggesting that a joint list of all parliamentarian parties should be set up for the European elections.
The idea of the Head of Government is senseless, for the twenty-four first Hungarian members of the European Parliament are not going to represent the nation in a united group. Fundamentally, it is not this European institution that serves as an arena for defending particular interests of the member states. The Hungarian MEPs will join political groups of the European party families, which extend over national borders, according to their political values and party affiliations.
The Hungarian Prime Minister’s initiative is antidemocratic, since the elimination of political pluralism and of competition amongst political organizations with different ideologies would contradict the essence of liberal democracy. After Hungary’s accession to the European Union on May 1, 2004, it will be the Hungarian citizens‘ - and from then on also citizens of the Union - fundamental and indisputable right to elect their representatives to the European Parliament.
Péter Medgyessy’s idea is populist, because it is hostile to political parties. In fact, the increasing influence of the European Parliament within the European institutional system also enhances the importance of party politics on European level. And it is precisely the activity and competition of the parties in the European Union that contributes to the transparency of the political decision-making processes and makes the accountability of decision-makers easier. This is the very interest of the citizens of the Union.
Instead of introducing misleading and unrealizable PR-gags on the political market, the Hungarian Europe Society wishes Hungary an election campaign, which would at last give the Hungarian citizens a reasonable picture about the role and functioning of the European institutions, particularly those of the European Parliament. As for the improvement of the style and standard of the Hungarian public discourse, candidates to the European Parliament might initiate debates on important European issues related to all nations and inhabitants of the continent- including Hungary’s possible contribution to the success of the process towards a united Europe.
Budapest, 18 February, 2004
*Thirty-seven HES-members voted in favour of the declaration, twelve people abstained and five voted against it.