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Hungary disagrees with a proposal put forward by current European Union president Finland under which the bloc would abandon intergovernmental dialogue on the issue of the rule of law, the justice minister said in Brussels. Speaking to Hungarian journalists after a meeting of EU affairs ministers on Tuesday, Judit Varga underlined Hungary’s support for preserving a “tried and tested” mechanism built on intergovernmental dialogue when it comes to examining the state of the rule of law in a member state.
Hungary favours a process that respects equality among member states, the minister said. Such a mechanism must not be replaced by a procedure that would see member states giving their opinions on one another on the basis of the European Commission’s annual report on the rule of law, Varga added.
She also voiced Hungary’s opposition to plans for the European Council to base its own dialogue on the commission’s rule of law report in the future. Varga said Hungary and Poland had argued at the meeting that member states should form their opinions on any concerns over the state of the rule of law in another EU country solely on the basis of bilateral talks. The proposal put forward by Finland would put an end to the intergovernmental aspect of this process and replace it with a new mechanism, she added. “Hungary cannot accept the establishment of such a mechanism,” Varga said. “Though it’s in the minority, the opinion being ignored by the majority of member states is a legitimate one.” Varga added that the EC had the tools it needed to enforce the observance of EU treaties by member states.