Hungarian PM calls for reform in European Parliament amid corruption scandal
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban called Wednesday for a restructured European Parliament amid an ongoing corruption case involving a high-ranking European parliamentarian, News.Az reports citing Anadolu Agency.
"The swamp should be drained," Orban told reporters at an annual press conference, adding that Hungarians want the parliament to consist of politicians delegated from the nations' parliaments rather than being determined through a separate election.
Regarding the European Parliament’s reputation since the corruption scandal emerged, he said its credibility was "at zero" and could not go below that.
A high-ranking European parliamentarian, Eva Kaili, who was arrested earlier this month in an influence-peddling scandal, has made at least a partial confession to a judge, reported continental dailies.
Kaili, 44, from Greece's center-left PASOK-KINAL party and one of the 14 vice presidents of the European Parliament, was arrested Dec. 9 by Belgian police after her home was searched on corruption charges related to Qatar.
Last Tuesday, she was barred from the parliament’s vice presidency over the allegations.
On the deal reached with the EU, Orban said his country "managed to overcome the Hungarianophobia that prevails in the liberal world."
The European Commission has suggested freezing €13 billion ($13.8 billion) in finances that were set aside for Hungary while Budapest pushes for anti-corruption reforms. But in last month's deal, the EU scaled back the amount of funds that had been banned for Hungary.
Orban also said that his country had managed to stay out of Russia's war in Ukraine.
He also noted that Hungary had "fulfilled" its humanitarian duty to help those in trouble by allowing a lot of people into the country and taking care of them.
The prime minister said "the most important thing next year will be to stay out of the war and the European recession."
He added that Hungary’s government is aiming for economic growth and inflation in the single digits.