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Investigations against Hungarian opposition parties

Written declaration No. 700 | Doc. 15043 | 28 January 2020

Signatories:
Mr Konstantin KUHLE, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Olivier BECHT, France, ALDE ; Mr Goran BEUS RICHEMBERGH, Croatia, ALDE ; Ms Reina de BRUIJN-WEZEMAN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Mr Iulian BULAI, Romania, ALDE ; Ms Yolaine de COURSON, France, ALDE ; Ms Paulien GEERDINK, Netherlands, ALDE ; Ms Marija GOLUBEVA, Latvia, ALDE ; Mr Christoph HOFFMANN, Germany, ALDE ; Ms Catherine KAMOWSKI, France, ALDE ; Ms Yevheniia KRAVCHUK, Ukraine, ALDE ; Mr Eerik-Niiles KROSS, Estonia, ALDE ; Ms Martine LEGUILLE BALLOY, France, ALDE ; Mr Michael LINK, Germany, ALDE ; Mr Edmon MARUKYAN, Armenia, ALDE ; Ms Kathrine OLLDAG, Denmark, ALDE ; Mr Martin POLIAČIK, Slovak Republic, ALDE ; Ms Isabelle RAUCH, France, ALDE ; Mr Axel SCHÄFER, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frithjof SCHMIDT, Germany, SOC ; Mr Frank SCHWABE, Germany, SOC ; Ms Petra STIENEN, Netherlands, ALDE ; Mr Sylvain WASERMAN, France, ALDE ; Ms Martine WONNER, France, ALDE

We, the undersigned, declare the following:

On 30 October 2019, the Crime Branch of the Hungarian National Tax and Customs Administration (NAV) raided the offices of the opposition party Momentum Movement. The authorities also searched the offices of Momentum’s bookkeeping and auditing company. The measure is based on an accusation by the State Audit Office of Hungary (ÁSZ) to find and secure evidence and documents for an ongoing criminal investigation into suspected fiscal fraud regarding Momentum’s national campaign of 2018.

This measure against Momentum is a cause for serious concern. The party already proved to ÁSZ that they spent public money legally during the national campaign of 2018. As a consequence, ÁSZ withdrew the accusation. The renewed involvement and investigation one year later is concerning, especially because other Hungarian opposition parties were also accused of budget fraud.

Considering the national government party FIDESZ’s losses in recent regional elections, the Council of Europe should call the Hungarian authorities to exclude any political motivation or influence behind administrative or criminal investigations against opposition parties. The rule of law, including an independent judiciary, must be respected by all Council of Europe member States.

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