In a message sent to the Brussels news portal Politico on Monday, Minister of State Zoltán Kovács criticised the European Commission’s Justice Scoreboard released last week, saying that the evaluation of judicial independence cannot be based on opinion polls.

The Minister of State for International Communication and Relations underlined that “on the one hand, the independence of the judiciary is not an issue that could be seriously evaluated on the basis of public opinion polls, and on the other, it is problematic, to say the very least, that a ‘scoreboard’ which compares Member States is based on such subjective figures”.

Last week Politico published an erroneous article on the report as three quarters of the population see the state of judicial independence fairly bad or very bad in Croatia, not in Hungary as they reported in their Friday morning newsletter which has since been corrected.

In this context, Mr Kovács highlighted that 43 per cent of Hungarians described the situation in Hungary as fairly good or very good, while only 33 per cent believe that the state of the independence of the judiciary is fairly bad or very bad. The latter percentage is not above average; for instance, in France it is 31 per cent.

Among the twenty-eight EU Member States Hungary is ranked tenth from the bottom, while among businesses the perceived independence of courts was ranked as the second worst. This is one and four places worse, respectively, than the rankings awarded in the report released in the year before.