A war of words started after EC Vice-President Věra Jourová, a commissioner on EU values, accused Orbán of building a “sick democracy” in an interview with German weekly Der Spiegel. Several politicians have since expressed their opinions about the incident. Guy Verhofstadt, for example, thinks EC President von der Leyen should bin Orbán’s letter demanding the removal of the commissioner from her post.
After Jourová’s “sick democracy” comments, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán wrote a letter to Ursula von der Leyen demanding Jourová’s resignation from her post. Orbán also announced that until the commissioner resigns, the Hungarian government will suspend any political contacts with her.
Since then, many politicians have also shared their opinions about the incident.
Speaking to Hungarian reporters in Brussels, Fidesz MEP Tamás Deutsch said that lacking objective and impartial operation, Jourová has become unsuitable for working as a member of the EC and to fulfill her tasks. Hungary most resolutely rejects any commissioner harshly attacking an EU member state, Deutsch added.
Representatives of the opposition parties, of course, had a different opinion about the words of the EC Vice President.
After Judit Varga demanded Jourová’s resignation on Twitter, Opposition Momentum MEP and Hungarian ‘Renew Europe’ deputy Katalin Cseh shared her thoughts in a reply.
“Well, Judit Varga, what ‘humiliates Hungarian people’ is the corruption that made the Prime Minister’s pipe-fitter pal and son-in-law the richest men in the country. That’s utterly humiliating for all Hungarians working hard to get ahead,” the liberal politician wrote.
In reaction to Orbán’s letter, fellow ‘Renew Europe’ MEP Guy Verhofstadt said on Facebook that, “My advice to von der Leyen on Orbán’s letter: bin it. My advice to Orbán when respect and democracy are being discussed: zip it. Věra Jourová is doing her job protecting the EU and rights of Hungarians and must not be bullied.”
Momentum MEP Anna Donáth, also a Hungarian deputy for ‘Renew Europe,’ agreed with Jourová’s remarks. She told The Parliament Magazine’s news site that, Orbán indeed “purposefully undermining the rule of law, weakening the country’s immune system to reduce the fight against corruption.”
She added, “These statements are more than Věra Jourová’s own views. They echo the European Parliament’s decision to launch Article 7, the EPP’s decision to suspend Fidesz, the recent words of Donald Tusk and many others. According to Donáth it “makes no sense” for the Hungarian government to mount a “crusade” against Jourová. “The issue here is Orbán,” she emphasized.
In an interview with commercial broadcaster ATV, Jobbik MEP Márton Gyöngyösi called Jourová’s sick democracy comment “unusual” but ultimately found that the pun did not cross the line.
When talking about the state of the Hungarian media, Jourová could have composed her words more carefully, Gyöngyösi said, emphasizing that “Hungarian media pluralism,” however, can indeed be criticized.
Socialist MEP István Ujhelyi said in a video message that the Hungarian government was using its call for the EC vice-president’s resignation to divert attention from matters like the German EU presidency’s upcoming proposal regarding respect for the rule of law. The EU’s approval of that proposal would mean that it will “no longer sit idly by” as the government continues to “water down” Hungary’s democracy, he said.
Featured photo via Jourova’s Twitter page