Photo: Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto
Hungary and Poland are set to form a joint institute in order to assess the state of rule of law in the European Union so that they are “not taken for fools” with regards to allegations of breaches of rule of law, Hungary’s foreign minister stated on Monday.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said an EU report on the rule of law, which is set to be discussed in Brussels soon, is expected to be a political statement, instead of any well-founded assessment.
He said this after meeting with Polish Foreign Minister Zbigniew Rau in Budapest.
Szijjarto claimed that “The aim of this institute of comparative law would be that we should not be taken for fools”, also adding that he had also “had enough of some western European politicians using us as a punchbag”.
He said that the institute will be examining how the rule of law is being upheld across the Eu, in order to avoid “double standards” being applied to countries such as Hungary and Poland.
The Law and Justice party (PiS) government in Poland, along with its nationalist ally, the Hungarian government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, have been clashing with the EU over accusations that they undercut democratic standards for a long period of time.
Despite both of these post-communist states benefitting from very generous EU handouts, their rulers have been placed under significant pressure for putting courts and judges, media and academics, non-government organisations and rights groups under direct government control.
This direct government control has led to claims from plenty of EU member states that democracy within the two countries is being undermined.
An EU summit in July agreed that the bloc’s next joint budget for 2021-27, which is worth a staggering trillion euros, as well as access to a linked economic recovery fund which is worth an additional €750 billion to help repair the havoc caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, should include conditions that the member states follow the rule of law correctly.
Despite of all of this, the exact details of the budget have not yet been put into place, as the European Parliament continues to push for tougher conditions than those that were agreed at the summit, with Poland and Hungary threatening to reject anything that puts their benefits at risk.
Polish Foreign Minister Rau said claimed that the new institute would help promote debate and transparency within the EU, saying that “A legal debate cannot be replaced by a political debate”.