Taken aback for violating the rule of law, Poland and Hungary have decided to challenge the charge with a joint institute in the field. The announcement was made on Monday by Peter Szijjarto after meeting with his Polish counterpart Zbigniew Rau.
“The purpose of the comparative institute will be not to be fooled” and not to apply double standards, said the head of Hungarian diplomacy.
According to him Szijjarto, the EU report on the rule of law in Hungary will be more of a political statement, not a well-founded assessment.
Poland and Hungary have been embroiled in a fight with the EU for several years over allegations of lowering democratic standards. Their leaders are under pressure because they have placed courts and judges, the media and academia, NGOs and human rights groups under direct government control.
In July, the EU bloc agreed that the future multiannual budget for 2021-2027, worth € 1 trillion, and access to the € 750 billion pandemic recovery fund should include conditions for respect for the rule of law. The details have not been definitively established. While the European Parliament is calling for tougher conditions than agreed at the summit, Warsaw and Budapest are threatening to use their veto power to block any proposal that would affect their funding.
In an interview with Reuters on Friday, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed the accusation as undermining democracy. Tuesday, Orban called for the resignation of European Commission (EC) Vice-President Vera Jourova, in charge of values and transparency, accusing her of “denigrating” Hungary.