Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Justice minister: Government in favour of ‘Europe of strong nations’

Hungary's government wants to see Europe as a "strong alliance of strong nations", Justice Minister Judit Varga said during an annual hearing before parliament's European affairs committee on Monday.

Integration is a means and not an end in itself, Varga said, underscoring the government’s support for an alliance of nations built on mutual respect over a federalist Europe.

The minister also discussed the ongoing Article 7 procedure against Hungary, calling it a “political procedure” that was “going nowhere”. She also criticised the European Commission’s rule-of-law report on Hungary for containing “three to four times as many references to NGOs” as the reports for other countries and for “accepting criticisms from NGOs as facts”.

As regards Hungary and Poland’s lawsuit in connection with the mechanism in the EU budget that links EU funding to the rule of law, Varga said the regulation lacked a legal basis and insisted that the rule of law was an undefined notion.

Varga said Hungary was ranked tenth in terms of the number of infringement procedures ongoing against it, adding, however, that the country was second best when it came to complying with EU law on time.

On another subject, the minister said Hungary will defend its positions on child protection and migration “until the very end”. She said the EU “can’t let go of certain elements that have caused its migration policy to fail”, such as migrant settlement quotas.

Meanwhile, she said the EU was blocking nearly 2,500 billion forints’ (EUR 7bn) worth of recovery funding for Hungary “purely for political reasons”. The post-pandemic recovery plan, which Hungary was among the first member states to submit, focuses on the transition to a green economy and digitalisation, among other things, Varga said.

As regards climate policy, Varga blamed the EU for rising energy prices within the bloc.

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