Jourová: We are ‘too correct’ with Hungary
European politicians are treating Hungary with “unnecessary slick correctness”, EU Commission’s Vice-President Věra Jourová said during a public debate on Friday.
For the first anniversary of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Café Evropa, a platform that aims to make EU topics more appealing to the public, invited Jourová and Czechia’s new President-elect Petr Pavel for a debate that was live-streamed on Friday.
“We are witnessing unnecessarily slick correctness from European politicians,” Jourová, known for her strict stance towards Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, said during the debate.
Hungary must be called out more often, particularly about its positions on Russia and the war, the Commission vice-president said, confirming that the EU executive will continue the proceedings it launched against Hungary over the rule of law violations.
Relations between Jourová and Hungary have been on ice after Budapest called for her resignation in 2020 when she said Orbán was creating a “sick democracy” in his country.
Brussels has been blocking billions of euros of EU funds for Hungary because of the poor situation of the rule of law and Budapest’s refusal to carry out judicial reforms.
Last week, Orbán insisted that his country will keep its ties with Moscow and demanded that Hungary “does not consider the suggestion that Russia is a threat to the security of Hungary or Europe to be realistic”.
Reconsidering Czechia’s V4 participation?
Pavel also criticised Hungary, particularly for pro-Russian views espoused by Orbán.
“Hungary has been going its own way for a long time,” said Pavel, who also questioned cooperation within the group of Visegrad countries, namely Czechia, Slovakia, Hungary and Poland.
“If we cannot agree on basic issues – such as the relationship with Russia and Ukraine – it is a fundamental problem for the Visegrad four,” Pavel said.
He added that, in such circumstances, it is questionable whether Czechia should remain in the Visegrad group.
According to Pavel, Czechia should use the time it takes over the rotating V4 presidency for one year in July 2023 to raise such “basic issues”.
Pavel, who will be sworn in as president on 9 March, said he is observing Slovakia with “great caution”, particularly as the recent government collapse led to snap elections being announced for September.
(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)