Hungary and France agree on a number of important issues regarding European affairs, Justice Minister Judit Varga told the Hungarian news agency MTI by telephone after she conducted high-level talks in Paris on Tuesday.

The main purpose of the visit was to outline in detail the Hungarian position in connection with the new multiannual budget of the European Union. The Justice Minister pointed out that the reduction of cohesion funds is unacceptable for Budapest. It has been proved beyond doubt that the system works, and there is a continued need for the further integration of new Member States. The funds provided for the beneficiaries are also useful for large Member States as the net contributors themselves benefit from them through various projects.

The parties agreed that the level of agricultural grants likewise should not be reduced; this is equally important for France and Hungary. If they are increased, however, they should not be increased at the expense of cohesion funds. There is a need for a just and simple new budget, Mrs Varga said. According to her experience in Paris, the French party, too, is beginning to increasingly understand the interests of Central Europe, and this will be important upon the development of the EU’s migration policy as well.

In the area of environmental protection, the parties agreed that without nuclear energy the attainment of a carbon-free European and global economy is inconceivable.

The Justice Minister informed her negotiating partners, Secretary of State for European Affairs Amélie de Montchalin and Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet, about the Hungarian position that the time has come to bring to a conclusion the procedure instituted against Hungary with respect to Article Seven and the state of the rule of law. We should discuss any open issues with the European Court of Justice. We believe that the incorporation of so-called rule of law criteria into the new budget is unacceptable because that would clearly furnish the European Commission with a political weapon.

The debates about the rule of law require more legal analysis and constitutional evaluation, and less politics. We cannot give the Commission new means, contrary to the spirit of the EU Treaties, which they could potentially abuse, Mrs Varga stressed.