Hungary’s law on the response measures to the novel coronavirus epidemic has “stood the test of the rule of law” and it has been proven that the freedom of the press is not under threat in the country, the justice minister said in an interview to the Saturday edition of daily Magyar Nemzet. Judit Varga said the reason behind her recent op-ed for German conservative daily Die Welt was that she was aware of how Hungary was depicted in the press and readers needed balanced reporting so that they could decide the truth for themselves. The minister recommended everyone should be “brave” and “true to their own principles”. She said honesty had a “liberating” effect in western Europe, adding, at the same time, that “the presumption of guilt” was regularly applied to Hungary in the European Union. Varga said it was reasonable to question the legitimacy of an upcoming European parliamentary session on Hungary that had also been backed by European People’s Party MEPs.
Meanwhile, she said the German constitutional court’s decision to overrule a ruling by the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU) would be seen as a landmark ruling. “Lawyers had long waited for the moment when it came time to decide who gets to have the final say when the authority of an EU and a national body are in conflict with one another,” the minister said. “Who has the right to decide who gets to decide on which matters? According to our stance based on the concept of strong nation-states it is certainly the sovereign member state and the ultimate arbiter of these rights is the Constitutional Court,” she said. “The German constitutional court’s ruling strengthened the position that in this sense, the European Union is not equivalent to the united states of Europe.”
As regards Hungary’s law against the spreading of falsehoods in connection with the epidemic, Varga said the essence of the special legal order was that the interests of the community are placed before people’s goals of self-fulfilment. She underlined the need for greater discipline, arguing that with mass communication tools, fake news was “just one click away” regardless of the consumer’s geographic location.