Hungary says EU threat is ‘arrogant’

Hungary’s Justice Minister Judit Varga gives a joint press conference during a General Affairs Council in Luxembourg, June 22, 2021. [Photo/Agencies]
The European Union has been branded “arrogant” for threatening to fine member-nation Poland for alleged discrepancies in its judicial system.

Judit Varga, the justice minister of fellow EU member-nation Hungary, wrote on her Facebook page late on Wednesday: “The (Hungarian) government has decided … to pass a resolution expressing its support for Poland, and condemn the malicious attacks by Brussels.”

The nation’s reaction followed the European Commission, which is the EU’s executive branch, saying on Tuesday it had asked the bloc’s top court-the European Court of Justice-to fine Poland because of its judges’ disciplinary chamber.

The commission claims the chamber, which was created by Poland’s nationalist government, allows Warsaw to control its judiciary, which is something that is prohibited by EU law.

“The commission is asking the court to impose a daily penalty payment on Poland for as long as the measures imposed by the court’s order are not fully implemented,” the commission said in a statement on Tuesday.

But the Reuters news agency said Poland countered by saying it had committed three weeks earlier to overhaul its judicial system in the coming months and to getting rid of the chamber.

Varga said Hungary viewed the EU’s decision to ignore Poland’s promise and levy the fine anyway as a “scandalous and arrogant “step that amounted to the commission “meddling in the judiciary and law-making process of a sovereign member state in an unprecedented manner”, the Reuters news agency said.

Despite Poland’s promise to dismantle the judges’ disciplinary chamber, Warsaw has previously said it believes its national laws should not be subordinate to EU law, which is also not in line with the EU’s thinking.

Reuters noted that Hungary and Poland are long-established allies who frequently speak up for each other in disputes with the EU.

Russia’s State-controlled international television network RT noted that Hungary and Poland have both said they fear the EU is engaged in empire-building and is seeking to control more aspects of their affairs.

RT said the Hungarian government is now considering how it can get involved in proceedings at the European Court of Justice, or ECJ.

The Financial Times said the EU, meanwhile, is also considering excluding Poland from accessing the 36 billion euros ($42.6 billion) it is trying to secure from a fund set up to help nations recover from the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Financial Times quoted Didier Reynders, the EU’s justice commissioner, as saying: “I must say that we are at the end of the so-called dialogue on this with Poland. We have tried to engage in a real dialogue with some letters and some documents, then before the court … there is no intention from Poland to be in full compliance with ECJ rulings, and so the next step is financial.”