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The European Parliament votes against the Hungarian presidency of the European Union – EURACTIV.de

The European Parliament votes against the Hungarian presidency of the European Union – EURACTIV.de

The European Union Parliament hardened its criticism of Hungary on Thursday (June 1). In a resolution, Parliament called on Hungary to strip Hungary of the EU presidency for a period of six months. But in diplomatic circles, the initiative stands little chance of success.

As expected, the MEPs supported the resolution accusing Viktor Orban’s government in Fides of “systemic corruption” by a majority of 442 to 144. The text also questions how Hungary can credibly fulfill this task in 2024, given its non-compliance with EU law and the values ​​laid down It is in Article 2 TEU and the principle of sincere cooperation.

Hungary, which assumed the rotating presidency in 2011, is set to assume the presidency of the Council of Ministers for a six-month term from July 2024, less than a month after the next European elections.

However, the Parliament’s decision is not legally binding. Depriving Hungary of its presidency for six months would require the unanimous consent of all EU member states.

But the diplomatic community said the initiative had little chance of success. Because it is unlikely that the countries of the European Union will follow the example of Parliament.

Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga dismissed the decision as “nonsense” and described it as “very, very harmful”.

honest broker

German Europe Minister Anna Lormann told reporters this week that she had “doubts” about Hungary’s ability to successfully lead the presidency. In particular, it cited Budapest’s handling of the rule of law and the ambiguous position on support for Ukraine.

However, there is little interest among EU diplomats and on the part of the EU Commission in Brussels in promoting this issue.

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“When a country assumes the role of the presidency, it takes on that role as an honest broker, becomes impartial,” Commission Vice-President Margrethe Vestager told EURACTIV, adding: “If this is the Hungarian approach, make it a normal presidency.”

The main tool of the European Commission was to prevent the disbursement of funds to Hungary from the Reconstruction Fund until a number of “milestones” related to the independence of the judiciary and social policies had been reached.

“The release of frozen funds now will give Fidesz carte blanche to continue its attacks on fundamental rights,” said Gwendolyn Delbos Corfield, a member of the European Parliament and the parliament’s permanent rapporteur on Hungary.

“It is time for the Council to ask whether a member state in the Article 7 procedure can credibly assume the presidency of the European Union,” she added.

At a press conference on Wednesday, Dutch liberal MEP Sophie en Field said MEPs should look for ways to “reduce cooperation to an absolute minimum” during the Hungarian presidency.

This could include giving government opponents a platform alongside Hungarian government officials at events, and MEPs boycotting tripartite negotiations where MEPs, ministers and the European Commission negotiate compromises on EU laws. This can significantly slow down the legislative process.

“We must strip this presidency of all glitz and glamour: no photo ops, no glamorous press conferences,” she said.

Meanwhile, the European Commission has opened a new front in its dispute with Poland over a separate rule.

In a letter from EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders to the Polish government, which EURACTIV was able to see, the commissioner indicated that a new law had been passed. This will lead to the creation of a special commission to investigate Russian influence on Poland’s internal security between 2007 and 2022, which “raises serious concerns about compliance with EU law”.

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“It gives great powers to an administrative authority that can be used to deprive individuals of public office and thus limit their rights,” Reynders wrote.