Vera Jourova – Photo: wikimedia

EU commissioner: Risk of systemic breach of EU values in Hungary still stands

The Article 7 procedure, the EU'S strongest possible tool, needs to continue in the case of Hungary because a risk of a systemic breach of European values still stands, Vera Jourova, Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency, said in Brussels on Tuesday.

At a press conference following the meeting of the General Affairs Council, she said “the process has to continue as long as concerns are there, and the concerns are there”.

Jourova said the procedure would only be finished if there was no further risk of a systemic breach of fundamental EU values, adding that “we are not there, the discussion must continue”. She called the procedure an important EU tool, saying that uncertainty and distrust was becoming stronger among EU member states. Hearings conducted in the framework of the procedure offer respective member states an opportunity of clarification, the commissioner added.

Speaking about Hungary, Jourova said the commission had not seen any progress made in the fulfilment of proposals made concerning the elections and the independence of the ombudsman’s office and the public service media. “Hungary is obliged to implement the agreed super-milestones in order to receive funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan,” the commissioner added.

“The Commission stands ready to support the Hungarian government in its reform efforts,” she said.

She noted that the European Parliament had adopted a declaration in September 2018 proposing that the Council examine under paragraph 1 of Article 7 of the EU basic treaty whether there was a clear risk of breaching fundamental EU values in Hungary. Answering a question in this context on a debate scheduled in the EP about blocking Hungary from taking over the EU’s rotating presidency in the second half of 2024, Jourova said it was not on Tuesday’s agenda. The European Commission will proceed in line with the EU treaties, she said.

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