Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Justice minister calls for ‘constitutional dialogue’ ahead of EU affairs ministers’ meeting

The debate on the rule of law can only progress if the "politically motivated discourse" in the European Union is replaced by an "unbiased, international constitutional dialogue," Hungary's justice minister told MTI ahead of a meeting of EU affairs ministers in Brussels on Monday.

“The EU regrettably continues to employ double standards on the issue,” Judit Varga said.

Regarding the agenda of the meeting, she said the leaders of member states had ruled out a review of the bloc’s long-term budget in 2020. The European Commission ignored that decision when it already asked for further funds “but cannot explain why the money has run out,” Varga said.

The amendment package contains 50 billion euros earmarked for supporting Ukraine over the next four years, albeit without clarifying how much of those monies would be given as aid and how much as a loan, she said.

The EC has also requested further payments from member states for administrative costs “even as member states are expected to bear the burden of the inflation caused by sanctions on Russia and the economic challenges of an energy crisis, the minister added.

At the same time, Varga said “the gravest error in principle” was that the funds were being requested at a time when some member states, Hungary among them, had yet to receive any funding from the resilience and recovery funding.

Hungary showed solidarity when it ratified the loan member states took out jointly during the coronavirus pandemic, “of which the country has not received a cent on trumped-up reasons,” she said.

That issue must be addressed before the EU can proceed on other matters, Varga said.

Meanwhile, the EU should not make decisions committing member states to large-scale financing without clearing up the details, she said.

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