Talking to the Hungarian news agency MTI about her talks conducted in Helsinki on Monday, the Minister of State for European Union Relations of the Prime Minister’s Office spoke about the importance of rejecting double standards and of the right to a fair procedure in the rule of law procedure instituted against Hungary.

Judit Varga said it is important to rule out double standards and to guarantee a fair procedure when the Finnish EU presidency decides on the next steps of the procedure instituted against Hungary under Article Seven, and it is also important that the presidency should have the support and will of the majority of the Member States.

She recalled that she had always visited the Member States holding the rotating EU presidency in order to consult with respect to the issues that would be on the presidency’s agenda.

The procedure under Article Seven is important for Finland, and therefore regarding this matter they also discussed the steps contemplated by the EU presidency, the Minister of State said, adding that Finland announced months ago that the rule of law would be one of the key elements of their presidency because they believed it was important that everyone respected our European values.

Mrs Varga stressed that Hungary, too, shares this view as “the core values are very important for us as well”. Following the core values is the corner stone of every democracy, she added.

She said what is the most important for Hungary is that the EU presidency – which must be impartial and unbiased during the procedure – must guarantee the conditions of a fair procedure, and must ensure that “the procedure does not turn into empty accusations and finger pointing”. She observed that when they talk about facts and legal details, “the cat is swiftly let out of the bag when it comes to political attacks".

The Minister of State said Hungary is ready to respond with detailed explanations to every concern that may emerge, “to prove that the country is functioning in order”. It is to be hoped that we will succeed in dispersing all concerns within the shortest possible time, she added. She stressed that Hungary is ready to answer any questions in a European dialogue; at the same time, we must not forget that the right to a fair procedure, equal treatment and legal security are important elements of the rule of law.

She highlighted that it is essential that in the procedure every step should be backed by the majority of the Member States, meaning that the presidency must at all times guarantee a democratic majority.

Mrs Varga further said that while according to earlier plans there was going to be a hearing in the case in July, this could take place in September at the earliest.

The politician nominated for the position of Justice Minister replacing László Trócsányi, who obtained a mandate in the European Parliament, said at the meetings the parties also spoke about the EU’s next multiannual financial framework and climate targets. Hungary is doing very well regarding the attainment of the set climate targets, she added.

The European Parliament voted for the institution by the European Council of proceedings against Hungary due to the state of the rule of law and democracy last September. Finland taking over the EU’s rotating presidency would move to the next phase in the proceedings instituted against Hungary under Article Seven.