US News Pass of arms between Viktor Orban and Brussels on the rule of law

20:30  29 september  2020
20:30  29 september  2020 Source:   ouest-france.fr

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La vice-présidente de la Commission européenne Vera Jourova le 20 septembre 2020 et le Premier ministre hongrois Viktor Orban le 21 février 2020 à Bruxelles © JOHN THYS Vice-President of the European Commission Vera Jourova on September 20, 2020 and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on February 21, 2020 in Brussels

On the eve of a report on respect for the rule of law in the EU, the conflict has escalated between Brussels and Viktor Orban over respect for European values, an ultra-sensitive issue for Budapest and Warsaw which threatens to block the European recovery plan.

The European Commission on Tuesday expressed its "full confidence" in its vice-president, Vera Jourova, the target of the sovereignist leader's wrath for having qualified Hungary as "a sick democracy".

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In a rare step, Viktor Orban wrote a letter the day before to the President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen to demand the resignation of the Czech Commissioner and announced that his government was breaking all contact with her.

During an interview with the German weekly Der Spiegel published on Friday, Ms. Jourova, in charge of Values ​​and Transparency, said: “Mr. Orban likes to say that he is building an illiberal democracy. I would say: he builds a sick democracy ".

"These remarks are not only a direct political attack on the democratically elected Hungarian government (...), but also a humiliation of Hungary and the Hungarian people", reacted the Prime Minister.

They are "in contradiction with the role of the Commission as a neutral and objective institution endorsed by the Treaty of Lisbon", added the head of government of this central European country, member since 2004 of the European Union (EU) .

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The letter, written in English, was published Tuesday by Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs on Twitter, and sparked indignant reactions from MEPs on this social network.

The Commission will respond to this letter and announce for Wednesday the publication of a highly anticipated first report on respect for the rule of law in the 27 EU countries, according to a spokesperson for the European executive, Dana Spinant.

This report, which should become annual, will be presented at midday by Vera Jourova and Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders.

- Budapest and Warsaw response -

It examines for each country the situation of media pluralism, the independence of the judiciary, the fight against corruption and the balance of powers. Areas in which Budapest and Warsaw are in conflict with Brussels.

"Viktor Orban or the Polish government always defend themselves according to the same pattern: they sometimes refer to a Spanish law similar to the rules they enact, then to a regulation in Germany. That's all over. Now we can compare, "Vera Jourova told Spiegel.

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In response to this initiative, Hungary and Poland announced Monday the creation of an Institute to fight against "liberal ideological repression" and the "double standards" of the European institutions towards them.

These two countries are also blocking the procedure for adopting the massive European recovery plan decided on in July, by refusing that the payment of European funds be conditional on respect for the rule of law.

On this subject, the Hungarian Minister of Justice, Judit Varga, rejected a compromise solution on a mechanism proposed by Germany, which occupies the presidency of the EU, deeming it "unacceptable". "It is not the reign of the rule of law, it is that of blackmail", she denounced on Facebook.

Viktor Orban, familiar with anti-Brussels tirades, has been multiplying controversial measures for ten years, and is regularly singled out for his attacks against the opposition, the media, universities, NGOs and the treatment of asylum seekers. In April, Hungary, Poland and the Czech Republic were condemned by the Court of Justice of the EU for refusing to accept refugees after the 2015 crisis.

Budapest has been under the so-called "procedure since September 2018" Article 7 ", triggered by the European Parliament in the event of a risk of violation of the fundamental values ​​of the Union. This procedure, also launched against Poland by the Commission this time, can in theory lead to sanctions, including the suspension of the country's right to vote in the Council, but it is in practice ineffective.

alm-pmu-bg / fmi / ial /

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