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The freedom of art is a cornerstone of European democracy. It is laid down in Article 13 of the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union. With the strengthening of authoritarian-nationalist movements, however, it is coming under increasing pressure throughout Europe. The situation is particularly critical in Hungary and Poland.
In Hungary the situation for critical artists and intellectuals is becoming increasingly difficult. Artists and intellectuals who raise their voices against the course of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are silenced. They no longer receive funding for cultural or research projects. They lose their jobs at universities and in public service. Entire universities are closed or brought under the control of party friends.
Even in Poland, the only EU member that has not ratified the Charter of Fundamental Rights, the situation for critical artists and intellectuals is becoming increasingly difficult. Cultural funding there is only available for projects that propagate state, nation and God. Integrative projects, such as cultural exchange with refugees, are completely cut off from funding. These practices ultimately also lead to self-censorship and a climate of fear throughout the entire scene.
I am committed to consistently prosecuting violations of fundamental rights in European member states – legally and politically. In particular, we need a rule of law mechanism for the EU budget. We must not allow autocratic governments to continue to be subsidized with EU funds. We need an allocation mechanism that also benefits members of the opposition and safeguards the freedom of art and science. European money must only be available for European values!