For the interests of our country in Europe, for European values in Hungary
Program of the Hungarian Socialist Party for the 2019 European Parliamentary elections
Hungary's place is unquestionably in the European community of peace and development, as evidenced by the fifteen years of growth, results and developments since our accession. The European Left and the Hungarian Socialist Party played an outstanding role in facilitating Hungary’s admittance into the European Union. We remain firmly committed to the uncompromising enforcement of Hungarian national interests in Europe and the representation of European values in Hungary.
The current populist, right-wing government, instead of democratic action, has declaredly chosen to build an illiberal, hybrid state order, and, with its enemy fabrications and propaganda campaigns, is clearly working to break down the European federal system.
That is why the 2019 European Parliamentary elections should attract as many European Democrats as possible and show a red card to the Orbán-regime. We must crack the orange-elite system and stand up in unity for a European Hungary!
The European Union as a community is a guarantee of peace and prosperity on the continent. As one of the founding fathers of the EU Jean Monnet phrased it: “European roots are so deep that the conception of Europe will survive each crisis and revolution.” Today, due to the rise of populism, the European community is suffering from its deepest crisis since the post-world-war era. Anti-EU forces only stress the possible negative impacts of EU decisions, but refer to the results of the European community as their own. All over Europe, populist parties are flourishing that follow dangerous, hatred inciting ideologi(es), and try to reach out to as many voters as possible with extreme, xenophobic, or even racist slogans, and with rhetorics that offer unrealistic, but simple and clear solutions, which are easy to digest. These parties are strongly anti-EU, because by their nature they reject any political system that has any decision-making power that also affects national legislation. The so-called illiberal forces have recently put down their roots in several member states. Their success is a warning for all sensible and responsible political organizations that the EU can easily regress into a platform merely for cooperation between Member States, where only national governments dictate instead of common institutions, which fundamentally questions the meaning of European integration and the results of the past decades.
Recently and to date, conservative-right-wing, people’s party leaders have been at the forefront of European decision-making forums, unable to cope with their tasks. They primarily represented the interests of European multinational companies and big business. There is a need for change, a left-wing turn, a stronger representation of employees' interests in Europe.
Every country that wishes to be a member of the European Union must satisfy the serious required conditions in observing the rule of law, democracy, human and minority rights. Once a member of the Union, however, the control becomes less strict. At the same time, the implementation of our common values and principles is not up for debate. The European Union must be given the means to enable the Member States, the governments of the Member States to constantly represent the shared values and adhere to our commonly agreed principles. We therefore support the relevant legal decisions recently adopted by the European Parliament upon a proposal from the European Commission.
Thanks to selected professionals working in the well-built institutional structure of the EU, tens of thousands of legislations that meant progress to the life of our community have been created in the past decades, which are in force ever since. This achievement is a treasure that we must not allow to be denied or destroyed. However, it can be improved and we can make it more efficient and effective!
The balance of Hungary's EU membership is unquestionable: free flow of labour and enterprise, the opportunity to study abroad (Erasmus), cheaper travel, strengthening of consumer rights, existence of agricultural subsidies, EU funding for research and development, and the new infrastructure built in the past years from thousands of billions of forints of EU funding, i.e. many kilometers of motorways, dozens of transport, flood protection, gas and electricity supply projects, building renovations, telecom and regional investments: all these only made our country prosper.
Our homeland must not be in the opposition of Europe!
We wish to have a Union that:
- places the man and the social Europe in the centre; which provides citizens with social and physical security and ensures extensive rights and extensive services for its citizens
- through closer and deeper integration provides common and effective solutions to the challenges facing the entire European community
- leaves decisions affecting the lives of local communities at regional, local level
- gives a greater role and responsibility to directly elected representatives and bodies in making decisions
- prevents Mafia-like networks from expanding from development resources and stealing without consequences
- is opposed to any Member State being singled out of the deepening cooperation because of its irresponsible government policy
- effectively opposes renitent governments violating EU founding treaties and neglecting European values.
I. THE FUTURE OF EUROPE
Increasing internal anti-EU populism, as well as external pressure on the EU, has accelerated the need for EU reforms, while the British leaving calls for inevitable changes. Several independent solutions have been proposed. In their report, EPP chairman of the European Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs Elmar Brok and the Italian Social Democrat Mercedes Bresso call for a federal solution with a common financial and refugee policy and a two-chamber European Parliament. In their view, the latter does not even require an amendment to the basic treaty. Similarly, former German economic minister Sigmar Gabriel and French economic minister at the time Emmanuel Macron made concrete suggestions for a two-speed Europe they advocated in their joint thesis: eurozone member states would have their own parliament, fiscal and tax policies would be shared, minimum wages and benefits aligned. Member States outside the euro zone would also have their own parliament; they would have more national powers, but would receive less support in the EU system.
Certainly, considering pro-Europe aspirations, for the time being, substantive proposals come mainly from so-called "core countries," naturally, with their own, respective interests in the foreground. Without modifications of the core treaty, in-depth reforms are hardly conceivable, but there will almost certainly be no sufficient and united political will for amendments. On this basis, it is likely that the so-called core countries will ensure the further strengthening of integration with technical modifications. As an alternative to this, Fidesz tries to build its own power base with the help of the V4.
Although a two-speed Europe is a logical and favourable scenario for core countries, it cannot be supported because of the unilateral disadvantage of other Member States that would again be pushed to the periphery. Hungary could easily find itself on the periphery of the Union, which could curb the opportunities offered by the European Community. For this reason, it is a priority for the Hungarian Socialist Party that, rather than representing the populist anti-EU voice, Hungary be a member and an active participant in the enlightened European community that follows European values, and support the further deepening of integration.
The United Kingdom's exit from the EU is undoubtedly a loss, but also an opportunity to create a more effective EU reform: the question is how we can learn from the process and how we can all benefit from this opportunity. Despite all extreme and populist rhetoric, European surveys show that the vast majority of voters in European Member States are on the side of the Union and deeper integration. This presents a major responsibility and duty for European decision-makers and European Hungarian patriots alike.
What we need is a European Union that strengthens solidarity and cooperation instead of division and separation!
II. SOCIAL EUROPE: OUR EUROPE!
We are Europe, but this is not our Europe! According to EU practice so far, resources for catching up have been used primarily for infrastructure investments in the newly acceded Member States. The European Union must set a new priority in the allocation of resources: time to invest in people! Let us build a Social Europe that guarantees social and physical security to all of its citizens with equal minimum rights and equal minimum services!
We need to introduce a European minimum wage and a European minimum pension. We agree with the creation of the European Labour Code as soon as possible, therefore the Hungarian Socialist Party supports the establishment of the European Employment Agency.
The EU's social objectives are primarily served by the European Social Fund (ESF), which is integrated into the Cohesion Policy. According to the plans, the transforming ESF can manage €101.2 billion between 2021 and 2027. As the extended ESF basically moulds funds into itself that have previously operated independently, we cannot talk about real, substantial growth. The Hungarian Socialist Party therefore proposes a significant, real increase of social resources.
We need a comprehensive economic and targeted human investment plan in Europe. The European Investment Plan covered three years only, while, in fact, there is a need for a much longer, modified cycle, extended to take strategic account of the needs of society. The continuation of the Juncker-package with more efficient use of public procurement tools is necessary, e.g. the creation of resources accessible not only to Member State governments but also lower decision-making levels.
More than 20 million Europeans are unemployed, and currently 4.5 million young people between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four are trying to find a job without success. The number of young people without employment but not in education and training either exceeds 7 million. The economic crisis that swept across Europe has affected young people the most. The lack of adequate jobs and the lack of coordination between education and the labour market all contribute to the deepening social crisis.
In previous years, the European Commission has launched a successful program to effectively reduce unemployment among young people. The Youth Guarantee program must be permanent, and its resources must be increased substantially and extended to everyone under the age of 30. At the same time, the Erasmus + program should be extended to those in secondary education and vocational training. Its funding should be raised substantially. A comprehensive European Youth Action Plan should be elaborated to assist young people from early childhood through entering the labour market. The future of Europe is in the hands of young people today, so it is of paramount importance to provide them with access to universal and lifelong education, unhindered access to the health sector and targeted support programs for housing and the finding their place on labour market. In order for them to settle on their own and without indebtedness, a decent and equitable social housing scheme is needed, the funding of which should be included in the infrastructure support of the EU as soon as in the next budget cycle.
We initiate the establishment of a uniform EU unemployment insurance scheme that can contribute to the catching up of the wages of lesser developed regions as well as the curbing of the increasingly serious emigration from eastern Member States and its long-term reversal. To do so, an EU-wide unemployment insurance fund should be set up without delay, which could help similar funds in Member States in case of high economic downturns (asymmetric shocks).
We support the elimination of unpaid internship programs that do not even guarantee accident and health insurance, as well as informal (zero-hour) work contracts, and we demand that periods of many years of apprenticeship will be included in the process of calculating pension entitlements.
In addition to the economic tensions in the Member States concerned, mass exodus, particularly from the newly-acceded East-Central European countries, is causing increasing social stress. In recent years, more than half a million, mainly active and trained young people have left Hungary, significantly influencing the country's social and labour market balance. The European Union must pay close attention to the social and economic impacts of emigration, alongside the fundamental value of free movement and labour flow. To treat these, it needs to prepare specific programs and action plans. The Hungarian Socialist Party's "Homecoming" program provides comprehensive and immediate solutions. It is important to deal with the matter at the European level too, thus we are setting up an alternative committee to share best practices, debate solutions and formulate EU initiatives with the involvement of representatives of the countries concerned.
Strengthening and supporting women’s rights as well as realizing gender equality must be a European priority. It is a principle of the European Union to eliminate the difference between the salaries and pensions of men and women. It is essential to ensure that all forms of violence against women are condemned and persecuted in a manner that clearly demands general consensus of the Member States. In an enlightened and well-functioning Europe, there is no room for sexism, racism, homophobia, transphobia or exclusion. All instruments should be used to exert pressure on Member State governments to ratify the Istanbul Convention and take substantive measures to strengthen women's rights.
According to Eurostat data, 26 million children in Europe, i.e. every fourth child is at risk of income poverty and social exclusion. In Hungary, this ratio is 41.4 per cent, so we are the third among EU member states, while the situation is worse only in Romania and Bulgaria. It is a priority for the European left to take immediate and joint European action to eradicate child poverty, while common policies must be respected by all national governments. We urge that efforts to reduce child poverty be linked to social investments based on recommendations. The elimination of malnutrition and hunger can be helped by increasing productivity, sustainable and climate-adapted agriculture and food production. We support the publication of EU programs to support these. It is also an appropriate tool to facilitate access to food, for example by reducing the tax burden on basic food items, which requires EU-wide harmonization of food taxes.
Digitalisation and technological development present new challenges to the labour market. The digital revolution has enormous potential that we must exploit; however, we cannot allow hundreds of thousands of jobs to be threatened. Therefore, the European Union should encourage the continuous training, re-training and education of labourers by developing an appropriate support system.
EDUCATION IN FOCUS
Under the current Treaty, the competences of the Union in the field of education and training remain limited to "supporting, coordinating, and, where necessary, supplementing actions of the Member States". Member States are solely responsible for all issues affecting their national education and training systems. The all-time quality, efficiency and effectiveness of education and training are not only an essential element of economic competitiveness and strengthening growth potential, but also one of the most important pillars of prosperity as well as the key to preserving or re-establishing social cohesion. Therefore, education should be a priority for the European Union.
According to the research of the World Economic Forum, an independent international organization, Hungarian higher education and vocational training is one of the least competitive in the EU. Moreover, according to the recent PISA survey, by 2016, Hungarian students in public education performed weaker than they did during the previous tests, in 2012. We are below the OECD average in all areas. The field of education determines the development of other competitiveness indicators for decades, too, so it is almost certain that Hungary's competitiveness will deteriorate in the long run. A radical turn and a paradigm shift are needed!
The ratio of jobs requiring higher education within the EU is expected to increase to 34% by 2020; while the number of low-skilled jobs is decreasing. Just one example: four and a half million young people are currently without work, while two million IT jobs are vacant due to a lack of skilled labour on the continent. The European Commission should encourage interoperability between education systems, facilitate the exchange of experiences, and strike a balance between the Member States' education systems along the 'best practice' principle.
In the field of education, it is particularly important to make the most of technological development and the opportunities offered by digitalisation, and to make these achievements available to those living in lagging regions. The responsibility and opportunity of the European Union is indisputable in this area!
It is in our best interest to develop the Hungarian education system. A school system should serve the future of Hungarian students and our country, which does not exclusively push 20th century knowledge onto students, but is capable of sharing fresh, 21st century information. Therefore, bearing in mind social growth and the improvement of the quality of life, we demand that Hungary spend the EU funds available for the 2021-2027 period on the development of the education system as a whole in order to promote creativity, critical thinking, cooperation, continuous access to acquiring new knowledge, with special regards to IT and foreign language training, and the ability to apply these in practice.
EUROPEAN STANDARD HEALTHCARE FOR HUNGARY!
The organization and provision of healthcare is the responsibility of national governments, and the EU only supplements Member States' policies. The European Health Consumers Index shows a growing healthcare gap between Europe's rich, financially strong regions and the less wealthy, crisis-ridden areas. In this comparison, too, Hungary is lagging behind.
When we became members of the Union, there were about 38,000 active doctors in Hungary. This number is currently around 26-28,000 and certain health professions are completely vacant. Since 2010, the proportion of those going abroad without a special exam has been continuously above 40 per cent. The gravity of the situation is indicated by the fact that the number of Hungarian doctors currently working in England only exceeds 1,700. As a result of emigration, a life-threatening shortage of professionals will soon occur.
The European Commission forecasts that by 2020, one million healthcare professionals will be absent from Europe's healthcare systems, which means that 15 per cent of healthcare care needs may remain untreated. A comprehensive program initiated and funded by the European Commission is needed to balance the health care system.
More money from the available EU funds should be spent on modernizing the Hungarian health care system, changing the mode of operation, so that special attention is paid to seizing the opportunities brought about by prevention, promotion of a healthy lifestyle, modern diagnostic and healing procedures and technologies.
CLIMATE POLICY: INVESTMENT IN THE FUTURE
One of Europe's biggest challenges remains the fight against climate change, which has received alarmingly little attention during the recent crises. In spite of alarming predictions and the increasingly frequent extreme weather phenomena associated with climate change, humanity is practically idle in the process. The European Union is the only major economic area in the world, which has quantified its commitment to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. 20% by 2020 compared to 1990 levels. In the 2030 framework, this commitment is already 40 per cent. Some Eastern European governments say it is too much; according to them, the decarbonisation of the European economy causes extra costs that are hard to bear and reduces the competitiveness of their respective economies. This line is reinforced by US President Trump, who sees climate change as a tabloid hoax.
Under the Paris Climate Agreement, from which the US has withdrawn, first 25, then 30 per cent of the seven-year financial framework to be adopted should be spent on the fight against climate change and the achievement of climate goals. The objective of the EU framework is to produce 20% of the total energy consumption in the EU from renewables by 2020. This target for the EU as a whole is divided between Member States by a legislation that takes national options into account. Hungary must reach 13 per cent. The mandatory target figure has given a significant boost to the spread of renewable resources. However, it is undoubtedly necessary to have a more effective system with real sanctions in case of non-compliance.
If it were true that for Fidesz "Hungary comes first" then sustainability, Europeans and the future of the Hungarians within Europe would be important to them. However, MEPs from the government parties abstained during the recent EP vote on the ban on disposable plastic materials, which is an important step in environmental protection and sustainability. This particular case clearly demonstrates their true attitude towards the issue.
III. COMPETITIVENESS AND EFFICIENCY
Increasing the European Union's room for manoeuvre is a strategic solution to increase the efficiency of the EU by increasing the EU budget. Based on the gross national income of the Member States, we propose to increase the amount to be paid to the EU budget to 1.3% of the total GNI.
Depositors should not be the ones to cover the costs of bankruptcies! There is a need for a stricter, more uniformly regulated banking market, where small investors and depositors get state guarantee for the protection of their money. A banking market more volatile since the economic crisis now has to be subjected to stricter and more transparent financial regulation, so that, in the event of a new shock, taxpayers' money is not spent on saving irresponsible financial institutions.
It is unacceptable that VAT-based national payments remain determining on the revenue side of the EU budget, in addition to Member State contributions. In a new proposal, 20% of the CO2 trading system revenue, 3% contribution to the planned common consolidated corporate tax base and a national contribution at the expense of non-recycled plastics are added to this. This is not enough to achieve the EU's common goals. Greater contributions from Member States are needed. As a new source of revenue, we are urging the use of ETS revenues and the introduction of a new type of corporate tax in the digital sector, especially for mammoth companies in this area.
The Hungarian Socialist Party insists that due to the increased payments, the level of cohesion and agricultural subsidies should not be reduced and rejects the idea of reducing the rural development budget. We reject the fact that the beneficiaries of the new budget are net contributors, thus reducing the chances of catching up and undermining solidarity between Member States. MSZP calls for the maintenance of agricultural funding and rejects the proposed drastic 25% reduction of the rural development budget. We demand that the area-based subsidies be increased to HUF 100,000 at today's exchange rate. The Hungarian government should provide the 30% mandatory amount for the co-financing of rural development, pay the maximum amount of the so-called flat-rate support for small producers that can be provided for social agriculture, and beyond the compensation scheme they should use the so-called income stabilization tool, too.
The new European concept for the catching-up of rural areas, the so-called "Smart Village Program", is linked to the name of MSZP MEP, Tibor Szanyi. The initiative is essentially a rural extension of the achievements of the digital revolution, helping and encouraging modern ideas and practices in the villages of European Member States. According to current expectations, the “smart” way of rural settlement development can become the fourth pillar beside the three pillars of the agricultural budget so far (direct subsidies, rural development, market operations). We support the extension of program resources at European and national level.
The 27 per cent Hungarian VAT rate is the highest in the EU. In Hungary, 39.3 per cent of the gross domestic product (GDP) comes from tax revenue; the proportion of taxes on consumption and labour is roughly equal to the total tax revenue. The introduction of a uniform European VAT rate, at the initiative of the Social Democrats, has come close to reach. Realizing this is an important step in creating a Social Europe.
A key objective of European socialists is the fight against the mass international practice of tax evasion and tax evasion, the systematic tax evasion of multinational corporations, the existence of tax havens, and the fight against common forms of VAT fraud. All of these have serious economic and social consequences and should be fought against with all possible means, including pressure on European decision-makers, in order to increase competitiveness among others. With joint European action, we have to make sure that, for example, the principle of taxing companies exactly where profits are made is adhered to.
The currently growing global economic dynamics show a further increase in the importance of innovation. According to MSZP, research and development and innovation could be an important breakthrough for Hungary, if the Hungarian government would really treat this area as a priority and instead of undermining the freedom of research, the autonomy of universities and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. In Hungary, to capitalise on the opportunities offered by digital technology, education and health care are quintessential, as is the “mobilisation” (including enabling access to training and health care) of people living in lagging regions. This can only be achieved in practice by mobilizing products and services based on digital technologies, increasingly important data assets and advanced information and communication technologies.
We support the tripling of the Erasmus + program funds and increasing the budget for small and medium-sized enterprises, the development of transport infrastructure as well as Horizon Europe and the European Investment Plan. Pushing small and medium-sized enterprises of the Member States to the background only serves the interests of big business, thus putting the efficiency of the European economy as a whole at risk with uneven development.
There must be a firm rejection of all Member States 'efforts to favour some government’s circles, or to let cuts from common resources, i.e. EU taxpayers' money, only serve the growth of financiers loyal to the government. It is therefore necessary to achieve a higher proportion of directly callable funds in Brussels, which can be accessed by applicants without the mediation role of the state.
Tourism is the third strongest industry in Europe, providing work for nearly 25 million people and generating nearly 350 billion euros of annual revenue on the continent. We will continue to work successfully to support European tourism, with Hungary in focus, in order to make the most of its economic and job-creating potential.
Hungary must join the European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) without delay. The organization does not replace the national bodies, but cooperates with them. Only a comprehensive EU-wide prosecutor's office can fight fraud, embezzlement, corruption and misappropriation affecting the EU budget. The need to set up a European Public Prosecutor's Office is also justified by the record number of investigations carried out by the European Union's Anti-Fraud Office and, on the basis of these, the fact that they proposed the recovery of almost EUR 900 million.
We support the establishment of a comprehensive control mechanism that can effectively sanction systemic corruption and abuse affecting the allocation of EU funds. A three-step sanctioning mechanism is needed to enable the EU to: a) freeze; b) withdraw; (c) stop the payment of subsidies to Member States where the allocation of resources is not functioning properly due to the inadequate functioning of the rule of law and prosecution. At the same time, the operation and authorities of the European Anti-Fraud Office (OLAF) should be reviewed as well. It is a legitimate suggestion that OLAF reports have more serious consequences for Member State bodies.
The use of resources spent on communication and PR costs of EU investments should be overviewed by a stronger method that strictly controls efficiency. On the basis of the known cases, there is usually a misuse of these on the part of the implementers of Member States’ programs. The solution is for the European Commission to provide the resources allocated for the communication of the projects not directly to the executors of the Member States' projects, but to manage their use centrally from Brussels. This can not only help communicate more effectively and efficiently, but can also prevent or at least reduce the number of abuses.
EUROZONE: HUNGARIAN ACCESSION
The euro area’s temporary crisis and the uneven treatment of the Greek bankruptcy have all confirmed in recent years that a responsible, well-controlled and common financial policy can strengthen the European community. The aspirations of the core countries are well-demonstrated by the creation of a common, internal, small Union from the eurozone Member States, which deepens their own integration with a common financial and tax policy. Countries that are committed to deeper integration, but are not yet able to fulfil the conditions for eurozone membership, or whose governments prevent them from fulfilment, cannot be excluded from this process, either.
It is necessary to develop a set of conditions that keeps the advantages of controlling integration but is flexible nonetheless so that no single Member State with interests in joint progress can be left out of the integrated system.
The euro has also proved to be a stable currency in the recent financial and economic crisis. The introduction of the euro is part of Hungary's European integration, thus belonging to the euro area Member States is a desired goal. The Maastricht convergence criteria necessary for the introduction of the single currency, signed by Hungary, too, must be met and a specific target date must be identified as soon as possible.
According to MSZP, it is in the interest of Hungarian society to meet the conditions of the eurozone and to enter when it is beneficial for Hungarian citizens and companies, as the entering exchange rate shall determine the value of Hungarian private, corporate, institutional assets and income for several generations in advance. The single currency creates security, reduces the risks and costs of production and services and encourages investment willingness, which on the long run can compensate for renouncing the possible short-term benefits of moving the forint exchange rate. Therefore, in 2020, Hungary should enter the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM II), the gateway to the introduction of the euro.
IV. PROTECTION OF CITIZENS AND BORDERS OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
It is wrong to assume that European Member States alone can respond to the challenges threatening global peace and Europe. This is especially true because the defence policy stance of the new US President has brought up many issues regarding NATO's defence system. We are only able to enforce Europe's interests with a common defence policy.
There is a need for a new asylum and return procedure based on solidarity but taking into account the specificities of the Member States, as the Dublin system is unsustainable in its present form. The Schengen Border Guard should be made a common European issue as countries at the EU's external borders must not be left to their own devices. It is not acceptable for some countries to set up their own "mini-Schengen". Schengen is one of the greatest achievements of European integration, which must be preserved under all circumstances.
There is a limit to immigration, but none to solidarity. Europe needs to protect its borders, but it must conduct humane asylum procedures for refugees, especially the ill, pregnant women or unaccompanied minors.
MSZP does not break down the southern border fence, but it never aims to give up its goal to live in a country and a European Union where there is no need for fences.
We do not support illegal migration! Moreover, we would immediately abolish the law that enables the Orbán-government to accept money from migrants in exchange for permanent residence in Hungary. In fact, the ones to accept migrants in Hungary were the Orbán-government with their so-called residency bond. No such construction exists anywhere in the European Union, nor should it. Not in our country either.
We support the reinforcement of the European Border Agency (Frontex). Without a reinforced Frontex, fragmented national border guards cannot act effectively against migratory pressure. All Frontex operations must be approved by the Member State where the given deployment takes place.
We must develop a strategy that operates with the help of a common European toolbox to deal with the refugee crisis, with special focus on a satisfactory tackling of the root causes of the refugee crisis: the fight against terrorism, the impacts of climate change, guarantee of energy security, settling the situation in North Africa and the Middle East (Libya, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, etc.), normalizing EU-Turkey and EU-Russia relations, or settling the conflict in Ukraine.
Coordinated preparation and effective action against cyber-attacks on European institutions and Member States is of paramount importance. The EU must not only be at the forefront of IT warfare, but effective joint action is also needed against false news and propaganda, which is increasingly spreading on the Internet and on community platforms.
NEIGHBOURHOOD POLICY AND ENLARGEMENT
The European Neighbourhood Policy was developed in 2003 to strengthen relations between the EU and neighbouring countries. The European Neighbourhood Policy covers Algeria, Egypt, Israel, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco, Palestine, Syria and Tunisia in the south, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova and Ukraine in the east.
It is in the EU's core interest to build strong partnerships with its neighbours. Recent developments in the region have put the Union in the face of a growing number of new challenges: from economic pressure to illegal migration through security threats. It is in the EU's own interest to promote peace, stability and prosperity at its borders.
It is necessary to increase the new European Neighbourhood Instrument (ENI) budget of 15.4 billion, which provides a significant part of the funding for 16 European Neighbourhood Policy countries, and improve its efficiency.
Initially, the accession of the new Member States was quick and successful, whereas since then important points of discussion have surfaced regarding the future direction of the mechanism that need to be given thought. However, the enlargement of the EU must not be stopped: for example, negotiations must continue with the Balkan countries, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.
Ukraine should continue to be seen as a partner, which should at the same time step up its efforts to adopt and implement reforms. The European Union must strengthen its presence in Ukraine and raise awareness with more efficient communication among the Ukrainian public about the gravity of the EU's efforts and the benefits of partnership with the EU.
PATRIOTISM AND EUROPEANISM
Patriotism and Europeanism are complementary to each other, not opposites. Only Fidesz' hatred propaganda portrays them as such for their own political gain.
Membership in the Union is a partial cure for the wounds caused by the Trianon Treaty that continue to ache to date. It is exactly the EU's cohesive and borderless community that can, at least in part for now, reunite the nation.
Hungarians abroad are part of the Hungarian nation as a whole. Trianon's trauma and consequences can only be mitigated by active Hungarian policies and positive minority policies in the neighbouring countries. That is why we are pursuing a pro-Europe and strong minority protection policy in the Union and act together to create community autonomy forms based on agreement between majority and minority, in accordance with international practice.
We support that neighbouring EU member states join the Schengen area as soon as possible, thus widening the circle of countries without borders. We hope that as many neighbouring EU member states shall join the eurozone and as soon as possible. A unified euro zone and Schengen zone are the way to security and development!
We shall not allow anyone to singlehandedly take over the representation of the Hungarian nation and the use of our national symbols! Hungary belongs to all of us! As proud Hungarians We represent the interests of our country in European decision-making bodies as proud Hungarians and stand for the values of our European community in Hungary as proud Europeans!
Without historical identity, there is no nation. There is a need for European Hungarian national identity that does not want to reinterpret the past, but rather serve the future.
V. EUROPEAN CONCEPT - EUROPEAN VALUE PROTECTION
In Fidesz' 2009 European Parliamentary election program, these words appear: "It is a contradiction to expect the EU to get the governments of its Member States to take on its norms, while we are reluctant to give it authority that might curb our sovereignty." Thus, according to Fidesz' existing European commitment, authority that undermines national sovereignty can be granted to enforce European values. We do not think that any Member State nation should be disadvantaged because its government deliberately violates European principles; however, no Member State government should be able to harm European values without consequences.
The success of the lying Brexit campaign and the subsequent mass information gathering of the deceived British electorate have also confirmed that the EU’s operation, duty and responsibility is not visible to society, and the effectiveness of the Union is not clear to European citizens. This is also deliberately reinforced by populist, anti-EU political forces.
There is a need for a more decisive, conscious, persistent, and more successful campaign than the previous information programs on the operation of the EU; one that that makes it clear that it is not "Brussels" that makes decisions affecting the Member States, but exceptionally trained professionals selected based on strict criteria and representatives delegated by Member States' leaders and voters. MEPs should be obliged to document publicly and pre-announced visiting hours.
Closer and more effective cooperation between national parliaments and European institutions should be developed, generating broader and more comprehensible publicity in the Member States.
European identity, the sense of belonging to a similar, homogenous culture in a global context, should be strengthened but not by blurring national identities and traditions. There is need for a series of programs that arches over Member States, celebrates the similarities that form a bond between the peoples of the continent, and strengthens the sense of belonging together (the already existing Europe Days need further improvements), the hosting and organisation of which may be a prerequisite for withdrawing subsidies and other resources in the future.
A class on the history, institutions, and decision-making mechanisms of the EU should be made a compulsory part of the national curriculum, which would contribute to the development of a European identity alongside knowledge dissemination.
The possibility of expanding and strengthening the European media network should be explored. Bringing Euronews, the EU news channel supported by the European Commission, into as many households as possible can help compensate for the restoration of a plural media system in Member States (see Hungary) where access to factual information is limited.
A good example of promoting European identity and integration is the award-winning InterRail Loyalty Program. DiscoverEU, mentored by MSZP MEP, István Ujhelyi, provides thousands of 18-year-old Europeans with free access to train passes to discover Europe in the year of becoming an adult. The future of the program is expected to be secured in the EU budget; at the same time, Member State governments should be encouraged to help and extend the program and launch their own campaign.
REAL SUBSIDIARITY, REAL RESPONSIBILITY
Any issue that can be more effectively resolved and implemented at Member State, regional or Community level should not be subject to general European legislation. While in the case of foreign and security policy, defence and immigration policy, financial and tax policy, resource management supervision, or even strategic planning, integrated operation is necessary, in matters of regional development or, for example, urban, community transport decision-making responsibility should be delegated to the lowest possible level. There are issues where only common European action provides a secure solution; however, in matters affecting local communities, Brussels should give more space and responsibility to Member State-, regional- and community levels.
The Union should have a President of the Commission with direct legitimacy. Currently, the European Commission’s first person is elected by unanimous decision of the European Council (EC) comprised of heads of states and governments, but effectively on the basis of the proposal of the heads of government of the Council's strongest political direction, essentially ignoring the results of the pan-European elections and the ratio of votes cast for European parties, more precisely their member parties. The European Parliament then has to approve the full list of the EC, in a single vote. We propose that in the European elections, in the Member States, besides the lists of parties, the official candidates for the EC Presidency could also be voted on, so that the President would not be elected by the European Council, but directly by European citizens. The President would thus have a direct mandate from European voters. His work would continue to be supervised by the European Parliament, in accordance with the rules already in force.
MSZP is proud to support the European Socialists' top candidate, the European Commission's current First Vice-President, Frans Timmermans in the European competition.
The role of the European Council has been largely overrated in the decision-making process, while there is no change in the rules or officially documented agreement to justify this. The Council comprising of heads of states and governments can veto or halt European initiatives in a privileged manner during the summits of the EU, mostly behind closed doors, after bilateral negotiations. The transparency of EC meetings should also be improved, as should the accountability of democratically elected leaders at EU level.
The role of the European Parliament as a representative body of Member State voters should be strengthened; more and increasingly meaningful decisions and licenses should be given to the EP, i.e. to the electorate of the Member States. The role of the EU Committee of the Regions (CoR) should be reassessed, too. The Committee of the Regions is unduly neglected the process of allocating resources, although the institution has, at local level, reliable data on the individual regions of the EU and their needs.
Its members are directly elected regional and local representatives that discuss EU legislation on their region within the framework provided by the institution. The CoR, or a platform it has established, should be given a more prominent role in the decision-making chain on resource allocation and in the work of the authorities deciding on allocation.
The CoR members' appointment system needs to be redesigned. At present, Member States' governments will occasionally unilaterally place their own unworthy delegates in the Committee of the Regions as political paying agents. National level interest associations should elect the CoR national delegates.
Homeland. Love. Europe.
All democrats can proudly adopt and represent the vision of the Hungarian Socialist Party. We will work with the same determination as we have done in recent times. We therefore ask everyone to whom our common Europe and Hungary within it matters to support our program and our European Parliamentary list!