The President of the European Parliament has told right-wing Hungary and Poland that they must accept liberal values or leave the bloc.
Guy Verhofstadt, who is also the parliament’s Brexit spokesman and leads its largest liberal bloc, said there was “no place” in the European Union (EU) for nations who elected right-wing governments to create “illiberal societies”.
“The European Union… was built to guarantee our citizens’ freedom, democracy and the rule of law. If the Hungarian and Polish governments want to build closed and illiberal societies, they must do it outside the EU,” he blasted Wednesday on Twitter.
Adding: “There is no place in our Union for countries who take EU money, who want to participate in the single market but who reject our shared values #ValuesFirst”
The rant on the social media platform continued, with Mr. Verhofstadt claiming that any mention of national identity was potentially bigoted.
“We should be wary of narratives based on the defence of so-called ‘national values’, which are used to mask racist hate campaigns fuelling anxiety against migrants and refugees,” he claimed.
Hungary and Poland are led by populist right-wing governments and have spearheaded a resistance to the EU’s migrant relocation scheme, which was forced through the EU Parliament despite their opposition in September 2015.
The unelected European Commission, the EU’s executive branch, has also attacked Poland for altering its judicial system so that some members are appointed by the elected government, claiming the move violates the “rule of law”.
EU bosses have subsequently threatened political and financial “consequences” unless Hungary and Poland accept more migrants.
In March, however, Poland’s then-Prime Minister Beata Szydło hit back, declaring that “the Visegrad group, including Poland, will never agree to blackmail.” Meanwhile, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said his country has a migration policy and does not “plan on replacing it”.
Poland, however, has recently moved to make amends with the EU, demoting anti-EU ministers and telling EU bosses they are reforming, whilst still refusing to stop their judicial reforms.