Editor in Chief: Moh. Reza Huwaida Wednesday, October 21st, 2020

EU executive snubs Hungarian demand to oust top democracy official

EU executive snubs Hungarian demand  to oust top democracy official

BUDAPEST- The European Union executive on Tuesday snubbed a demand by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban that it dismiss its top rule of law official for comments about Hungary’s “ailing democracy”.
Orban, 57, has repeatedly clashed with the EU over his hardline stance on migration and minorities, as well as moves to increase state control of the courts, media, academics and NGOs.
Critics in the EU as well as international watchdogs say he defends nation states and ethnic majorities at the expense of fundamental human rights and democratic checks and balances.
In interview with Reuters last week, Orban rejected that criticism.
“When somebody says that democracy can be only liberal it’s an oppression,” Orban said, adding that accusations that Hungary violates the rule of law were “simply blah, blah, blah”.
On Monday, Orban wrote to EU Commission head Ursula von der Leyen, demanding that she dismiss her top rule of law official at the Brussels-based EU executive, Vera Jourova.
“According to the Vice President (Jourova), in Hungary a ‘sick democracy’ is being built,” Orban wrote in his letter, which was published on Tuesday.
Orban’s call for the removal of Jourova, a Czech who has a history of standing up against Soviet-imposed communist rule in eastern Europe after World War Two, comes ahead of the release on Wednesday of the Commission’s first-ever report on rule of law gaps across all the 27 EU member states.
“President von der Leyen works closely with Vice-President Jourova on the rule of law. The Vice-President has the President’s full trust,” a spokeswoman for the Commission told a news briefing on Tuesday when asked about Orban’s letter.
“Our concerns when it comes to the rule of law in Hungary are well known. They will be addressed in our rule of law report, which we will present tomorrow.” (Reuters)