Hungary government have suspended the country’s bilateral political relations with European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova, and called for her resignation, after her “derogatory public statements” about Hungary.
In a letter addressed to the Commission President, Ursula von der Leyen, Orban supported that Vera Jourova’s comments are a “direct political attack against the democratically elected government of Hungary,” and a “humiliation to Hungary and the Hungarian people.”
He added that the Commissioner’s comments are “in contradiction” with the Commission’s role as a “neutral and objective” institution.
“They are a blatant violation of the principle of sincere cooperation and prevent any meaningful future dialogue between Hungary and the Vice-President,” Orban stated.
“Those who violate the Treaties cannot pose as the defenders of rule of law and European values. The statements of Vice President Vera Jourova are incompatible with her current mandate, therefore her resignation is indispensable,” the Hungarian PM added.
The letter was also uploaded on Twitter by Zoltan Kovacs, Secretary of State for International Communication and Relations and Orban’s spokesperson.
“Members of the Commission are members of a distinguished team who are supposed to be guardians of the treaties, not political partisans in a Europe that is increasingly weakened by partisan division. If @Vera Jourova cannot rise above, then she must resign,” Kovacs wrote in a post.
1/2 PM Orbán to Pres @vonderleyen calling for resignation of Commissioner @verajourova: her statements are ‘innappriate & unacceptable, a blatant violation of the principle of sincere cooperation, incompatible with her current mandate, therefore her resignation is indispensable” pic.twitter.com/sdyGDq9LBJ
— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) September 29, 2020
Orban’s move followed Jourova’s interview to German magazine Der Spiegel, where the Commissioner for Values and Transparency talked about the state of the rule of law in EU countries.
Vera Jourova supported that in Hungary’s local media there is little critique about Orban’s government and that many citizens find difficulties in forming and expressing their opinion.
“Mr Orbán likes to say that he is building an illiberal democracy,” the liberal Czech politician told the German magazine. “I would say: he’s building an ill democracy,” Jourova added.
Meanwhile, in response to Orban’s letter, a spokesperson by the European Commission told reporters in Brussels that Jourova has von der Leyen’s “full trust”.
“Our concerns when it comes to the rule of law situation in Hungary are well known,” the spokesperson said, adding that “They will be addressed in our Rule of Law Report, which we will present tomorrow. In this report, we assesses the situation in all Member States.”
Shortly after the publication of the letter, Europe’s lawmakers defended Jourova’s statements, citing that they reflect the EU parliament’s decision to launch Article 7 and the European People Party’s (EPP) decision to suspend Fidesz.
“Making this crusade versus Vice-President Jourova makes no sense. The issue here is Orban,” Anna Julia Donath, MEP of the Renew Europe group from Hungary’s Momentum movement wrote on Twitter on Tuesday.
These statements are more than VP Vera Jourova own views. They echo @Europarl_EN’s decision to launch #Article7, @EPP’s decision to suspend Fidesz, the recent words of @donaldtusk and many others. Making this a crusade vs. VP Jourova makes no sense. The issue here is #Orbán
— Anna Júlia Donáth (@donath_anna) September 29, 2020
Hungary’s move came ahead of the Commission’s first report on the state of the rule of law across the EU27 member states, set to be presented on Wednesday.