Judit Varga – Photo: BZT / Nóra Halász

Justice minister: Rule of law debate should not create division between EU members

The "hypocritical" debate about the rule of law should not serve to create divisions between European Union member states at a time when they are busy fighting against the coronavirus epidemic, Justice Minister Judit Varga said in an interview with daily Magyar Nemzet on Wednesday.

“The current period should be dedicated to building alliances, so that common efforts enable us to leave behind the coronavirus,” Varga said after a video meeting of EU justice ministers on Tuesday.

The ministers assessed the rule of law in Germany, France, Spain, Ireland and Greece. Varga said that even though such “big shot” states had been under review, “this type of dialogue on the rule of law is hypocritical and primarily serves to enable the European Commission to pressurise member states with views that deviate from the mainstream”. She added that EU treaties do not authorise the EC to assess the rule of law in member states and it is the EU Court of Justice that should rule over such debates. Additionally, neither Hungary nor Poland have approved the launch of a debate on the rule of law in the General Affairs Council, she said.

Commenting on the upcoming group of rule of law reports scheduled for July, she said that based on her experiences so far, these reports tend to rely on the opinions of NGOs that “share a common backing”.

Varga also said that an Article 7 procedure launched against Hungary was a political witch hunt that was “obviously not meeting the expectations that had been attached to it”.

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