Gergely Gulyás, the prime minister’s chief of staff, said that in line with a request by the European Union, Hungary will clarify the jurisdictions of various judicial branches. Hungary has fulfilled several of the EU’s requests so that Hungary can access the EU resources it is entitled to, but the EU keeps coming up with new requirements, he said. At the same time, the request to more clearly delineate the jurisdiction of particular branches of the judiciary is not against the interests of the country or the judiciary, so Hungary will comply, he added. Gulyás said the amendments will mainly pertain to the competencies of the National Judicial Council and the National Office of the Judiciary, “to remedy the last of the concerns of the EU and clear the last obstacles from the way of an agreement on the recovery funding,” he said. As the judiciary is fully independent in Hungary, constitutionally as well as organisatorially, the government sees the EU’s concerns as baseless, “but as the required changes are possible, they will probably be adopted in the spring session,” he said.
Regarding EU sanctions imposed on Russia in response to the war in Ukraine, Gulyás said: “If the EU wants to impose [new] sanctions, they should stay away from the energy sector and gas supplies.” The Hungarian government is holding all negotiations on that requirement as a baseline, he added.
Regarding the midterm elections under way in the US, Gulyás said the Senate race was still undecided, but said it was unlikely that the Republican party would garner the majority there. Regardless of the results, Hungary will respect the American people’s choice, he said.
Responding to a question on the “National Consultation” survey on EU sanctions, government spokesperson Alexandra Szentkirályi said about one-third of the questionnaires had not yet been delivered. The turnout will be published at regular intervals, she said.