Minister of Justice László Trócsányi represented the Government of Hungary at the meeting of the advisory board of the Council of Europe, the Venice Commission, held on 16 June 2017. One of the items on the agenda of the meeting was the adoption of the opinion of the Venice Commission on the Act on the transparency of organisations receiving support from abroad.

The Minister of Justice, setting the reasons for the legislation in a European context, emphasised that cooperation with the bodies of the Council of Europe is important to the Hungarian Government. In the spirit of this cooperation, Minister Trócsányi had personally informed Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland of the legislative proposal on 24 April 2017, and the delegation led by State Secretary Krisztián Kecsmár had exchanged views with the legal experts of the General Secretariat on 5 May 2017. In the interest of cooperation, the Government suggested to the National Assembly that the legislative proposal should only be adopted after the preliminary opinion of the Venice Commission had been received, so that the recommendations presented in the opinion could be discussed by the National Assembly’s Committee on Legislation. Of the recommendations that actually related to the legal content of the legislative proposal and were presented in the conclusions of the preliminary opinion released on 2 June 2017, the National Assembly accepted most - three out of five.. The reasons for not accepting the remaining two recommendations were presented by Minister Trócsányi at the meeting of the Venice Commission.

The Government has always considered cooperation with the Venice Commission to be of importance, and so the Ministry of Justice expresses its incomprehension that the Venice Commission, despite the National Assembly accepting the majority of its recommendations, supplemented its final opinion with criticism based on political assumptions. Minister Trócsányi, himself a former member of the Venice Commission for many years, emphasised in the course of the debate that such a procedure does not make cooperation between the Hungarian Government and the Venice Commission any easier.

The Ministry of Justice finds it strange that the Venice Commission draws attention to a forthcoming opinion at the end of the press release published on its website in relation to the present Act. According to this closing remark, the Venice Commission will send a delegation to Hungary that wishes to meet the representatives of the Central European University, NGOs and the Government. Following the discussions, the delegation intends to prepare an opinion on the Act “that could close the George Soros-founded university in October”. The Ministry of Justice does not wish to comment, sine ira et studio, on such an announcement without any legal rigour, yet wishes to emphasise that it considers such a statement in the press release as prejudicial.

The contribution of the Minister of 16 June 2017 is available via the following links:

(Ministry of Justice)