EU Commissioner Varhelyi calls European lawmakers ‘idiots’

EU Commissioner Varhelyi calls European lawmakers ‘idiots’

EU Commissioner for Enlargement forgot to switch off microphone during debate at European Parliament

By Agnes Szucs

BRUSSELS (AA) – Hungarian EU lawmakers have demanded the resignation of EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Oliver Varhelyi after he called members of the European Parliament “idiots.”

Oliver Varhelyi answered on Tuesday questions of EU lawmakers at a debate on the Western Balkans enlargement at the EU lawmaking body's plenary session in Strasbourg, France.

After replying to Croatian politician Tomislav Sokol, Varhelyi forgot to switch off his microphone.

“How many more idiots are there still (on the speakers’ list)?” he sighed in Hungarian.

The Hungarian opposition party Democratic Coalition released a statement, demanding Varhelyi’s resignation.

“It is not common in the European Parliament to call idiots those with whom we don’t agree,” Sandor Ronai, social democrat EU lawmaker from the party, said in a video statement.

The party also promised to report the case to the presidents of the European Parliament and the European Commission.

Varhelyi has not yet commented on the incident.

In January, the Socialists and Democrats Group of the European Parliament called for an investigation, accusing Varhelyi of “deliberately” seeking to “undermine the centrality of democratic and rule of law reforms in EU accession countries,” especially in relations with Serbia.

Kinga Gal, EU lawmaker from the Hungarian governing Fidesz party that nominated Varhelyi as a commissioner, refused the allegation and called it a “political campaign.”

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