BRUSSELS — A senior conservative Hungarian politician abruptly announced his resignation from the European Parliament after the police broke up a party he attended in Brussels because it violated coronavirus restrictions.
Jozsef Szajer, a well-known figure in the right-wing Fidesz party led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, confirmed on Tuesday that he had been at the party last week. He did not comment on Belgian media descriptions of it as an all-male orgy in the heart of the city’s gay-bar district.
The office of the Brussels public prosecutor said in a statement that the police had intervened Friday after neighbors complained about noise and found 20 people in an apartment. Two of them invoked diplomatic immunity, it said.
“A passer-by reported to the police that he had seen a man fleeing” the scene, the prosecutor’s statement said. It said: “The man’s hands were bloody. It is possible that he may have been injured while fleeing. Narcotics were found in his backpack.”
“The man was unable to produce any identity documents,” the prosecutor said. “He was escorted to his place of residence, where he identified himself as S. J. (1961) by means of a diplomatic passport,” the prosecutor said. That matches Mr. Szajer’s initials and year of birth.
Mr. Szajer denied that he had used drugs that night.
Mr. Szajer enjoys immunity from prosecution under the protections of the European Parliament, the European Union’s elected legislative body.
“The news reported in the Belgian press about a private party in Brussels on Friday, I was present,” Mr. Szajer said in a statement shared by the European People’s Party, the coalition of European conservative parties that includes his Fidesz. He also posted the letter on his personal website, which crashed soon after it went up.
Mr. Szajer went on to say that the police had asked him to identify himself but that he had not had ID on him, and so he declared that he was a member of the European Parliament.
“I did not use drugs,” he said.
The official expressed regret for violating the coronavirus rules. “I apologize to my family, to my colleagues, to my voters,” he said. The Belgian government has prohibited all gatherings in Brussels — the seat of the European Parliament — to control the spread of virus.
Mr. Orban’s party has cast itself increasingly as a defender of conservative Christian values and has used anti-gay rhetoric at home in Hungary. The government recently submitted legislation restricting marriage to unions between a man and a woman.
Mr. Szajer is a founding member of the governing party and longtime ally of Mr. Orban, the prime minister. He has served as a member of the European Parliament since Hungary entered the European bloc in 2004.
On Sunday, two days after the party, Mr. Szajer announced that he would resign from the European Parliament effective Dec. 31. He cited the stresses of daily political battle, though he said his resignation was not related to Hungary’s dispute with the 25 other E.U. member states over the next budget and coronavirus stimulus.
A week before announcing his resignation, Mr. Szajer said in an interview that the European Union was trying to punish Hungary for exercising its sovereign rights.
Mr. Szajer’s fellow conservative Hungarian parliamentarians offered praise for him in a statement.
“On behalf of ourselves and our entire political community,” they said, “we, the members of the Fidesz-KDNP European Parliament group, thank Jozsef Szajer, who played a crucial role in enabling Hungarian civic conservatism and Christian democracy to occupy their rightful place in the European political arena.”
Mr. Szajer is married to Tunde Hando, a justice on Hungary’s Constitutional Court.
Other members of Fidesz have had to resign after sex scandals. In the run-up to Hungary’s 2019 municipal elections, video footage emerged of a Fidesz mayor engaging in an orgy on a yacht on the Adriatic. The mayor won re-election, but resigned a month later.
Monika Pronczuk reported from Brussels and Benjamin Novak from Budapest.
Orignially published in NYT.