EU shame: Commissioner faces sacking demands after ‘sick democracy’ attack on Hungary

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The European Union received a scathing letter from Budapest demanding the resignation of their Commissioner for Value and Transparency. Ms Jourova sparked the ires of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after admitting she found the state of Hungarian media to be “alarming.” She told German magazine Der Spiegel: “Mr Orbán says often that he builds an illiberal democracy. I would say he builds a sick democracy.”

The statement fuelled a furious response from Budapest, with Mr Orbán demanding Ms Jourova is sacked immediately.

In a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, the Hungarian Government said: “These statements are not only a direct political attack against the democratically elected Government of Hungary that has become commonplace, but also a humiliation of Hungary and the Hungarian people.

“The former is inappropriate, the latter is unacceptable.

“The statements are in contradiction with the Commission’s role as a neutral and objective institution enshrined in the Lisbon Treaty.”

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The message continued: “They are a blatant violation of the principle of sincere cooperation and prevent any meaningful future dialogue between Hungary and the Vice-President.

“Those who violate the Treaties cannot pose as the defenders of rule of law and European values.

“The statements of Vice-Presidents Vera Jourova are incompatible with her current mandate, therefore her resignation is indispensable.”

Hungary has long been at loggerheads with the European Union and the country is undergoing an evaluation process after becoming subject to Article 7 of the treaties.

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The process could result in Budapest losing its voting rights within the European institutions.

But the Commission already signalled they are unlikely to take action over Ms Jourova’s comments as she enjoys President von der Leyen’s “full trust.”

A spokeswoman for the Commission said: “We have seen the letter from Prime Minister Orbán and, of course, we will reply to it.

“President von der Leyen works closely with Vice-President Jourova on the rule of law and the Vice-President has the President’s full trust. 

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“Our concerns when it comes to the rule of law situation in Hungary are well known.”

Brussels has been working on a report on rule of law across the bloc and MEPs have demanded access to the coronavirus rescue fund is tied to the respect of European values.

Demands for the resignation of commissioner is not a new move for Hungary.

In 2017, vice-president Frans Timmermans faced calls for his sacking after suggesting Prime Minister Orbán‘s comments on billionaire philanthropist George Soros had been driven by anti-Semitism. 

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