Minister of Justice László Trócsányi took part in a session of the Justice and Home Affairs Council in Brussels on 7 December 2018.

On the sidelines of the meeting, he held bilateral talks with the Slovakian President of Eurojust Ladislav Hamran on the future of the agency and possible areas of cooperation.

The EU Justice Ministers agreed on three important legislative dossiers at the session.

With the support of Hungary, the Directive proposal on the purchase and sale of goods was adopted, which affects the treaties, and which provides consumers with a similarly high level of protection when purchasing goods in every member state of the European Union.

Another proposal adopted at the meeting represents a major step forward with relation to protecting children. This regulation has a direct effect on everyday family relations and concerns cross-border cases involving marital and parental obligations. Although Hungary would have liked to see more ambitious regulations in the interests of children, it accepted the reality of a unanimous decision and was able to support the final text, which is the result of long negotiations.

Mr. Trócsányi said is was an important step forward that the proposal reinforces children’s right to be heard at EU level, since children’s voices must also be heard during proceedings that affect their lives. The case of children who remain abroad without parental supervision was particularly important to Hungary. The Minister expressed his joy at the fact that the proposal facilitates a reassuring solution of the fate of such children. According to the Minister, when decisions are made on the guardianship of children, the fact that there are relatives in another member state who could be suitable guardians must not be overlooked.

The Minister announced that Hungary wishes to be a frontrunner in the facilitation of the suitable practical application of the regulation, in the interests of which it would like to organise international seminars and a conference in future.

Unfortunately, Hungary was unable to support the third legislative dossier. Although we fully support the goal of the draft regulation aimed at facilitating the acquisition of pieces of electronic proof for use during the course of criminal cases, the rushed negotiations did not lead to a reassuring result. Mr. Trócsányi said that in Hungary’s opinion the draft does not suitably guarantee the enforcement of the fundamental principles of proportionality and constitutionality, or the national security interests of member states, but expressed his hope that the text will improve during the later stages of negotiations.

Within the framework of a working lunch, the Ministers discussed the available instruments for taking criminal action against anti-Semitism. Mr. Trócsányi said that Hungary does not tolerate any kind of anti-Semitic behaviour and is paying particular attention to protecting Hungary’s Jewish community, which it one of the largest in Europe. Previous Constitutional Court practices, which developed immediately following Hungary’s freedom from Communist oppression, put the level at which the freedom of expression may be restricted particularly high. Later, following the solidification of the democratic institutional system, Hungary developed a complex legal defence system against anti-Semitism and hate crimes, including the Constitution and both the Civil and Penal Codes. Mr. Trócsányi said that in his opinion the existing EU-level legal frameworks for taking action against anti-Semitism are sufficient. According to the Minister, in addition to providing more uniform enforcement and the training and sensitizing of investigators, prosecutors and judges, the effectiveness of action may be improved through education, memorials, days of remembrance and the sensitizing of all of society.

In the interests of protecting member state spheres of competence, several ministers at the meeting called on the Commission not to delay the conclusion of the agreement with the United States, and to draw up the negotiation mandate for the Council of Europe’s treaty on computer crime, in view of the fact that it is vital to assure suitable action against international crime and particularly cybercrime.

During his bilateral meeting with the President of Eurojust, Mr. Trócsányi assured the agency of his support, including for the initiative according to which, in addition to police cooperation, the operation of an IT background that enables effective action with relation to cross-border law enforcement is also necessary within the field of criminal justice cooperation. This requires the suitable allocating of funding to ensure that the high-quality exchange of information represented by Europol is also available at justice system level.

(Ministry of Justice)