Sunday

4th Dec 2022

Opinion

Blurred lines - the case of the 'political EU Commission'

  • Hungarian justice minister Judit Varga: 'We hit a nerve in Brussels simply because we consider the protection of children more important than pampering the LGBTQ lobby' (Photo: Hungarian government)

The Hungarian government recently responded to the contemptible attacks of the European Commission, expressing our serious concerns about the growing politicisation of a commission that pursues goals for which it has no authorisation.

While reading the 2021 Rule of Law report, it was astonishing to see how the principle of rule of law had been converted into a tool of political blackmail.

Read and decide

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When will the EU Commission finally cease to act as a political body?

The commission has long forgotten the principles and moral stance of the community's founding fathers and seems to embrace only one master regarding rule of law issues: pragmatism.

To pursue its own goals, the end apparently justifies all means. Only one factor is missing: legality. The rules and treaties do not matter anymore. And those member states who believe in sovereignty and subsidiarity, those who do not fall in line, will have to be punished – as equality commissioner Helena Dalli put it bluntly.

These are the real issues concerning rule of law in the EU.

With its second rule of law report, the commission sticks to a role it has defined for itself, delivering a highly-politicised document based on double standards and vaguely founded criticisms and lacking the factual and impartial legal evaluation that its authors claim.

The underlying motivation is obvious: this self-serving political smear campaign disguised as a legal assessment is directed against Hungary simply because we prioritise protecting our children and families and are unwilling to allow the LGBT+ lobby into our schools and kindergartens, as expected by certain interest groups.

Since the report consistently ignores the position of the Hungarian government, contains absurd factual errors, and relies almost exclusively on the politically-motivated opinions of civil society organisations financed from abroad or by the commission itself, it cannot serve as the basis for any further EU mechanism or procedure.

A further concern is that the commission does not verify the listed allegations nor present any justification or evidence. The evaluative findings of the report also reflect a clear double standard of discrimination against Hungary vis-à-vis reports on other member states.

In fields outside EU competencies, the commission oversteps its bounds even more blatantly, as it expects the independent constitutional organs of Hungary to take decisions desired by the commission in individual cases, regardless of facts or regulations — a profound abuse of power.

As to the legality of Hungary's new constitution, charges could easily be set aside if the commission noted CoE Resolution 1941: "The new parliament, for the first time in the history of free and democratic Hungary, amended the former constitution – inherited from the one-party system – into a new and modern Fundamental Law through a democratic procedure, after intensive debates in the parliament and with contributions from Hungarian civil society."

Furthermore, a detailed anti-corruption strategy, effective whistle-blower protection and strict criminal laws apply in Hungary, as expected for any European state.

Leftwing and liberal media

The recent German survey confirming the majority of its society cannot speak freely makes one wonder why Hungarian media is a concern when it allows all political views – including anti-government ones – to reach the public, as opposed to western European media, largely dominated by leftwing and liberal channels.

The commission's desire to artificially create problems is also made evident by its critique of civil society in Hungary: there are presently 60,000 diverse civil society organisations operating freely here.

A peer review among member states may help resolve rule of law issues, but the European Commission's 2021 Rule of Law Report is merely another political tool.

It fails to present an objective and substantiated picture of the rule of law situation in Hungary or other member states and therefore cannot serve its purpose. As commissioner Didier Reynders recently stated, discrediting the report itself: "This is no longer about prevention but about sanctions."

It is unfortunate that rule of law has become a tool of frustrated political will and ideological blackmail. We hit a nerve in Brussels simply because we consider the protection of children more important than pampering the LGBTQ lobby.

Since the Conference on the Future of Europe kicked off, it is high time that the people of Europe express their views: do they want to be the subjects of an empire that advances its own political agenda in the name of artificially created groups, or do they want to belong to a strong EU built on strong member states, a Union that respects the division of competencies and national identity?

We opt for smart integration — not forced integration — and reject every effort that brings about an empire driven by Brussels bureaucrats.

For that, we believe the end does not justify all means.

Author bio

Judit Varga is the minister of justice in the Hungarian government.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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