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Justice Minister Judit Varga said Hungarian representatives had reacted to “specific questions and proposals”. “We’re working to maintain this positive mood and conduct with the European Commission, which right now is part of the solution,” she said. “It’s good if the powerful European countries keeping up with the talks between the European Commission and Hungary know all this.” Concerning Hungary’s proposals, the minister noted that Hungary will reduce the share of public procurement procedures with a single bidder to below 15%, ensure legal remedy against the prosecutor’s decisions in corruption cases, set up an authority to oversee and guarantee the regularity of public procurements at the highest level and develop performance measurement systems that will also assess the cost-effectiveness of public procurements.
Varga’s talks in Paris also touched on the EU’s sanctions imposed on Russia. She said the war and associated sanctions had caused Europe’s economic hardships such as inflation, sky-high food and energy prices, and unstable energy supplies, adding that Hungary’s standpoint on energy-related sanctions was based on facts on the ground rather than being ideologically motivated. “New energy sanctions would prove fatal for central Europe for historical, geographical and physical reasons, while Europe’s interests wouldn’t be served either,” she said. The emphasis should be on working for peace instead of enhancing “wartime sanctions”, she said, adding that it should be recognised that sanctions “are more damaging to the side that enforces them than to their target”. Varga said the French were “very pragmatic”. “The notion of the European community projected by President Emmanuel Macron is crucial for the future of Europe,” she said, noting points of commonality in Hungarian and French positions.
Varga travelled on to Madrid to discuss the upcoming Spanish-Belgian-Hungarian EU presidency. Spain takes over the presidency in July next year before handing it over to Belgium in December. In the second half of 2024, Hungary will take over. She said the Hungarian presidency would play a decisive role in the establishment of a new European Commission and Council after the European Parliament elections. “Hungary always backs European solutions that do not ignore people’s interests,” she said.