EU Members Question Hungary over European ‘Fundamental Values’

BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - FEBRUARY 17: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks to the media with Russian President Vladimir Putin at Parliament on February 17, 2015 in Budapest, Hungary. Putin is in Budapest on a one-day visit, his first visit to an EU-member country since he attended ceremonies marking the 70th …
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Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga met with her European counterparts Monday and was grilled on the state of Hungary’s judicial system, freedom of expression, and corruption allegations.

The meeting comes a year after the European Union began the Article 7 process that could see potential voting rights being stripped and saw Ms Varga grilled by European Affairs ministers, Le Figaro reports.

Prior to the meeting, Ms Varga slammed the proceedings saying: “I came here to defend Hungary. And I expect Member States to stand on the basis of law when scrutinising Hungary. I expect them to avoid double standards, I expect them to prove that this procedure is not a political witch hunt.”

Amélie de Montchalin, France’s State Secretary for European Affairs, justified the Article 7 proceedings saying: “The EU budget and the rule of law are naturally linked. The budget is a political issue because we are investing the money of European taxpayers.”

“The European Court of Justice has also confirmed that EU aid invested in the Member States must meet the criteria of stability, transparency, and anti-corruption. The public policy that we finance must be effective,” he added.

“We are obsessed with the idea of ​​the rule of law because only the rule of law can guarantee the protection of fundamental rights and the European Common Market can only work if Member States have full confidence in the justice of the other,” Swedish EU Affairs Minister Hans Dahlgren said.

The ministers’ opinions were contrasted by Poland’s State Secretary for EU Affairs Konrad Szymański who questioned linking the rule of law with the EU budget.

Poland, a close ally of Hungary and also under Article 7 proceedings, is expected by many to side with the Hungarian government and potentially veto sanctions as the vote requires unanimous consent from all Member States.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at)


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