Neither the plenary of the European Parliament nor the Council has taken a decision yet, it is a preliminary political agreement of the negotiating delegations, said Judit Varga, Minister of Justice, about the agreement on the rule of law mechanism yesterday. As our news portal wrote, a three-week series of talks ended yesterday, after a delegation from the European Parliament’s political groups and representatives of the Council of Member States decided to make the payment of EU aid subject to the rule of law. This was reported by the participants in triumphant tweets, partly because the agreement was challenged in the rule of law debate, so Hungary and Poland, which are most threatened with funding, could be defeated.
“It was a preliminary consultation on the legislation. The agreement has to be approved even in the plenary session of the European Parliament and the Council, ”said the Minister of Justice. However, this does not mean that the decision has no legal and political weight. In October, the EP voted on a resolution urging the rule of law mechanism, meaning that the agreement just adopted is also expected to pass through the next plenary. But the decision also gives political capital to the Member States that support the mechanism. Judit Varga noted in this regard that a group of so-called stingy states may be behind the agreement. From the outset, the Netherlands and Sweden opposed the budget approved at the European Council’s July summit, which was increased to € 1,820 billion.
Said the Minister of Justice. In his view, this will essentially put EU officials in the hands of EU funds to support Member States. “Sanctions can also be imposed on the basis of a critical article in the press,” Judit Varga said. According to the politician, the agreement destroys the unity of the European Union in several respects. In July, the European Council adopted a framework budget for 2021-2027 with a multi-day summit, which created a special fund to address the economic impact of the coronavirus epidemic. Parts of the € 1820 billion package are being attacked by the EP. The July conclusions make it clear that EU funds cannot be linked to political and ideological conditions. Judit Varga pointed out that the agreement reached between the EP and the Council on Thursday was the opposite, and thus kicked up the whole compromise of July, as there is no agreement on anything until we have agreed on everything. In addition, according to the Minister of Justice, there is a functioning EU mechanism for the protection of European values and the rule of law, such as the seven-article procedure, which can be initiated by one third of the Member States, the EP or the Commission. When asked, Varga said: the Hungarian government is open to renegotiating the sanction system. However, this would mean a revision of the Treaties, which has its own rules of procedure and requires the consensus of the Member States. However, the decision now taken, although a lower-level piece of legislation, still seeks to override the EU’s founding treaties, which is illegal and could even be challenged in proceedings before the Court of Justice of the European Union.
– she continued. According to Varga, the Hungarian government has already put a number of proposals on the table, and they are constructive to the rule of law debate. However, despite the initiation of a professional debate, opponents of the Hungarian position still steer it to an ideological level. According to the minister, the ball does not bounce on the Hungarian side anyway. Now the President-in-Office of the Union, Germany, must find a common voice between opposing interests and ensure that the new budgetary framework can enter into force on 1 January 2021.
We therefore asked Judit Varga why there was no Fidesz MEP in the parliamentary delegation to discuss the rule of law mechanism. In the tripartite dialogue between the EP, the Council and the Commission, Katalin Cseh was the only Hungarian MEP to make the payment of EU money subject to strict conditions of the rule of law. However, according to Judit Varga, it was not up to the Fidesz MEPs not to be included in the conciliation from their faction.
“These are roles handed out based on positions and quotas,” he said. Therefore, we asked why Fidesz did not succeed, why could Katalin Cseh succeed. However, according to the Minister of Justice, this was not his instantaneous personal merit, Katalin Cseh could not get an important position in the EP due to her abilities.
According to him, there is a strong lobby in the EP to prevent Hungarian aspirations. Opposition Hungarian representatives receive special attention because they can be used well as a tool in this fight. The Minister recalled that Katalin Cseh’s momentary fellow Member, Anna Donáth, had previously failed by conceding, although she had previously denied, Vera Jourova, who had drafted a report on the rule of law condemning the Hungarian government.
Judit Varga added.
(Cover image: Judit Varga. Photo: Zsolt Szigetváry / MTI)