Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Justice minister: Rule of law cannot be protected by means that violate it

The rule of law cannot be protected by means that violate the rule of law, Justice Minister Judit Varga told a conference on Tuesday, referring to European Union measures against Hungary.

In her speech at an online conference organised by Szazadveg Foundation, Varga said new rule-of-law directives aimed at Hungary and Poland violated the EU treaties.

Referring to Hungarian measures introduced to combat the coronavirus under a special legal order, the minister insisted that the principle of a fair hearing had been violated, facts had not been properly checked and double standards applied.

Varga said an EU commissioner had openly stated this autumn that introducing rule-of-law criteria would be important in terms of punishing countries that refuse to stand in line.

She said that thanks to an agreement reached on Dec. 11, the risks involved in linking the rule of law to EU funding had been thwarted, but this had meant Hungary and Poland had had to go “right to the wire”.

Varga said that since 2015, the term solidarity in western Europe had only been measured according to a country’s willingness to take in migrants. But this ignored that fact that different European countries had different traditions, and central European countries had an approach to migration at variance with former colonisers.

Hungary, Varga added, also practiced solidarity but believed that instead of importing trouble, help must be taken to where it is needed. The Hungary Helps programme serves this purpose, she said, adding that Hungary expressed solidarity towards southern EU member states by approving the EU budget and recovery package.

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