Minister of Justice László Trócsányi spoke about the fact that Hungary’s cooperation with the European Commission “is not fully reassuring” at his annual hearing before Parliament’s European Affairs Committee on Monday.

The Minister said the Brussels institution had given Hungary extremely short deadlines with regard to certain issues, while priority issues are generally also being over-politicised. “Despite this, the Ministry is providing high quality replies”, he declared. The Minister stressed that while there is “hysteria” with relation to big issues, procedures are continuing absolutely normally with relation of the majority of other topics.

According to Mr. Trócsányi, the political pressure from the European Commission raises the questions of fair procedure, the right to defence and double standards. “They want to punish us politically”, the Minister said.
Mr. Trócsányi categorised the question of a social Europe as an issue that deserves particular attention, explaining that “we want to avoid stealthy legislation” in view of the fact that there is a danger that a matter of competitiveness will slide over to community level as a result.

With regard to the new refugee system, he noted that instead of guidelines Brussels is now trying to introduce compulsory regulations, which would strip the Hungarian Government of any room for manoeuvre.

On the subject of the Ukrainian Education Act, Mr. Trócsányi stressed that pressure must be maintained in the interests of having the legislation amended, because otherwise it would “effectively mean a death sentence” for the 150 thousand strong Hungarian community.

As he explained, the Act has an “anti-Russian element”, but also violates the interests of the country’s Hungarian, Romanian and Greek minorities, adding that according to the Venice Commission the new regulations, which represent a major reduction in rights, were adopted without any consultation. “This may not be the best solution for achieving legitimate goals”, he noted.

With relation to his annual activities, the Minister told the Committee that the issue of prison overcrowding had been resolved “from a legal perspective”, thus bringing to an end the “under-the-table prison business” organised by lawyers via the introduction of an appeals system in which inmates have the right to complain to the institutes warden, whose decision may be appealed at court.

“We have saved a lot of taxpayers money by introducing this system”, he said, referring to the fact that while the total population of Hungary’s prisons is 18 thousand, some eight thousand cases of this kind have previously been taken to the Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

(Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister/MTI)