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JUSTICE MIN: EC VALUES ‘COMPLIANCE WITH LGBTQ LOBBY’ OVER PROTECTING MINORITIES, FIGHTING ANTI-SEMITISM

 

It appears that “compliance with the LGBTQ lobby” is more important to the European Commission than the protection of national minorities or the fight against anti-Semitism, Justice Minister Judit Varga said, commenting on the commission’s latest rule of law report. In an English-language post on Facebook, the minister noted that the report released on Tuesday was the second of its kind within a year. The report released last autumn also proves that it is impossible to compile an objective comparable analysis on complex legal institutions “based on politically motivated starting points, prejudices and unstable methodological footing”, Varga said.
In its report, the EC welcomed the Hungarian justice system’s high level of digitalisation and its performance in terms of the lengths of proceedings. It added, however, that a recommendation to Hungary to strengthen judicial independence “remains unaddressed”, noting that new rules allowing the appointment of members of the Constitutional Court to the Supreme Court outside of the normal procedure is among developments “adding to existing concerns”. As for the system of checks and balances, the EC said the transparency and quality of the legislative process remained a source of concern.
The EC acknowledged in the report that Hungary is implementing an anti-corruption strategy but said “its scope remains limited”. “Shortcomings persist as regards political party financing, lobbying and ‘revolving doors’. Risks of clientelism, favouritism and nepotism in high-level public administration as well as risks arising from the link between businesses and political actors remain unaddressed,” according to the report.
The EC said media pluralism in Hungary “remains at risk”, adding that “concerns persist with regard to the independence and effectiveness of the Media Authority”. “While no media support schemes were established to counter the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on news media outlets, significant amounts of state advertising have continued to permit the government to exert indirect political influence over the media,” according to the report.