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Stop Tibor Navracsics, defend European democracy, youth, education and culture

Tibor Navracsics, the current Hungarian foreign minister, has been nominated for the post of European Commissioner for Education, Culture, Youth and Citizenship. The Hungarian government has been cracking down on the freedom of speech of journalists and NGOs critical of government policy and undermining other civil liberties and fundamentals of democracy, it has weakened the state educational system and has put it under political control, as it has with leading cultural institutions in the country. It is unacceptable that such a central figure from that government should be responsible for these European programs. The European Parliament has the possibility to block this appointment in the next weeks, and we must call on them to use it.

I’m a Hungarian activist who has been involved with several NGOs and campaigns over the last years. I find the nomination frightening because it risks normalising the intimidating behaviour of the Orban government and spreading it to the rest of Europe. Many of my friends also find the nomination frightening because it seems Europe is unaware of the intimidation we face.

Just two days before the announcement of the portfolios of the Commissioners, on Monday 8th September, the police in Hungary raided the offices of two non-profit organisations. They took computers, they detained the staff of the organisations. This is being done to intimidate organisations that may be critical of the government.

This last year the government put teachers and the curriculum under political censorship. Now teachers have to use textbooks which teach that sex outside marriage and homosexuality are sins.

The directors of leading cultural institutions and museums across the country have been complaining and resigning because of political interference and orders to show ‘patriotic’ works and exhibitions.

Tibor Navracsics, used to be justice minister and head of the cabinet of Victor Orban before becoming Foreign Minister. He is clearly highly linked to the decisions of the Orban government.

This concerns all European citizens: this despotism in Hungary must be stopped, not spread to all of Europe! We need to gather signatures to show we do not find intimidation of NGOs and journalists acceptable behaviour in Europe; we do not think undermining the quality and independence of education and cultural production is in accord with European values. The European Parliament has the chance to block the nomination - we need to pressure the parliament to do so. 

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    Marton Vay started this petition with a single signature, and now has 1,950 supporters. Start a petition today to change something you care about.