Yesterday, the new European Commissioner for Justice, the Belgian Didier Reynders, ahead of a meeting of the EU’s Justice Ministers, accused Poland and Hungary of backsliding further on democratic standards.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban this month pushed to limit the liberal dominance in the country’s theatres. In Poland, the ruling party is locked in a stand-off with judges critical of the judiciary overhaul the conservative government is carrying out despite concerns by some observers in Brussel who argue that it will undercut the courts’ independence.
The new European Commissioner of Justice Didier Reynders stated that new developments in Hungary were troubling.
”So, I’m sure that we will continue to work in the (EU) Council about the two difficult cases that we have. Unfortunately, we have seen negative evolutions in the last weeks and months, since the last discussions on Poland and Hungary. So, at the same moment it is important for the (EU) Commission to continue to use all the tools.
The Hungarian Minister of Justice Judit Varga responded by saying that the EU’s attempt to put sanctions on Poland and Hungary under article 7 will lead nowhere”- says Didier Reynders, European Commissioner for Justice.
“We’ve been here for the more than 15 months now and this procedure leads us nowhere. It is based on false accusations and it raises mistrust among member states. However, we will be always ready to defend Hungary and we are prepared for today’s hearing as well. Thank you very much”- says Judit Varga, Hungarian Justice Minister.
Since Orban won power in 2010, his right-wing Fidesz party has rewritten Hungary’s constitution. Critics also accuse Orban of having gained control of state media, and businessmen close to the prime minister and the party having built empires.
In poland, parts of the opposition took to the streets earlier this month to show solidarity with judges after one was suspended for questioning whether another judge had the right to be appointed to his position. Since taking office in 2015,the ruling Law and Justice Party has been at loggerheads with the European Union over reforms which critics say undermine judicial independence.