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On the subject of the debate in the European Parliament on Hungary’s law on handling the epidemic, the prime minister’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyás, slammed the procedure as a “witch hunt and a show trial”. “The verdict is preordained, and not even the justice minister is being allowed to address [the plenary],” Gulyás said. He said it was “unprecedented” for the government of the member state in a debate not to be represented in the discussion while the country holding the European Union’s rotating presidency was being represented by a state secretary. “This is reminiscent of the darkest days,” Gulyás said, adding that “not even in communist show trials was the defendant denied the opportunity to state his case.” He said such procedures could only hurt the EU’s image and weaken confidence in the bloc’s institutions. “This procedure is intolerable and unacceptable,” Gulyás said. “It has nothing to do with the rule of law or the EU’s fundamental values.”
Asked about a recent decision by the Kuria, Hungary’s supreme court, to uphold a decision by the Debrecen appeals court to award compensation to Roma children who were segregated at school in Gyöngyöspata, in north-western Hungary, Gulyás said the government is bound by the ruling. He underlined, at the same time, the government’s disagreement with the decision, calling it an “unfair” ruling “where there are only losers”. Gulyás insisted that both the minority and mainstream were on the “losing end” of the ruling. He said it was also unfair to those who are not compensated for their grievances and those “who are rightfully outraged that it is possible to receive serious compensation for grievances the locals don’t perceive as being real”. Gulyás said there was enough justification for parliament to pass a law requiring similar compensations to be paid out in kind. So if someone is treated unfairly with regard to education, they should be compensated with education, he argued.