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Raffaele Fitto on alleged government attempts to silence free media in Poland, Hungary & Slovenia

10 March 2021

Raffaele Fitto on alleged government attempts to silence free media in Poland, Hungary & Slovenia

In today's plenary debate on 'Government attempts to silence free media in Poland, Hungary and Slovenia', MEP Raffaele Fitto, Co-Chairman of the European Conservatives and Reformists Group in the European Parliament, stressed that the debate itself was futile and only serves to provoke hatred towards governments.

ECR Group Co-Chairman Raffaele Fitto’s full speech:

Thank you President, dear colleagues,

It is truly surreal, as well as paradoxical, to once again be in this plenary to discuss nothing of substance.

Yes, about nothing, because if we have the honesty to really observe things, we realize that the governments of Warsaw and Budapest are criticised daily by many media outlets without any censorship and without any limitation.

We see that the Polish government has proposed a project to tax advertising revenues for the media as it exists in many other countries of the Union, without anyone in this Parliament being scandalised before now. A proposal that remains subject to consultations, and which saw the Polish media in complete freedom to express their dissent and counter-proposals.

Apart from the propaganda, up till now, I have not heard a single concrete reason for affirming a violation of the European Treaties by the two governments. It does not seem to me that there are judgments of the European Court of Justice, or of the respective national courts that go in the direction many of you feared, from the speeches I have heard.

What is real in all this is only the factious exploitation that brings hatred towards governments, the Italian one yesterday and 10 years ago, the Polish and Hungarian ones today, the Slovenian one tomorrow, whose only fault is that of being “free” from having and proposing different ideas than the Brussels mainstream, and their idea of society.

The EU is in the worst crisis in its history, and part of this parliament, instead of promoting solidarity and cooperation, tries to raise barriers and create divisions between the different European peoples. All of this is aggravated by the claims of bringing “democracy” to governments that are already fully legitimised, democratic, and politically responsible towards their citizens.

“Europe is not one huge state, it is instead made up of 27 sovereign member states. I would therefore like to invite you not to make use of the institutions of the European Union to solve problems that, under our treaties, must be solved at the national level.”

I did not say this. This quote is by Viviane Reading, commissioner for justice and fundamental rights and citizenship, but also for the information society and the media. Those words were spoken by a Commissioner in recent years, not a Eurosceptic who takes an opposed political position.

This is why we consider this debate surreal and express our clear disagreement with what is happening and which incredibly sees the European Commission accompanying this debate.

Thank you.

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