Didier Reynders, the European Union’s Justice Commissioner, is in favor of having observers at the Hungarian parliamentary elections in April. He says this may also be necessary for the EU’s credibility.
Reynders said that this step may also be necessary for the EU’s credibility, because if members of the community demand observers to monitor democratic processes in non-EU countries, they should not be excluded from doing so within the EU.
It seems that there is a demand for it. As we have previously reported, 20 NGOs in Hungary asked the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to send a full election observation mission to the April polls in Hungary, because they believe the fairness of the elections is at risk. A few days later, 62 MEPs made a similar request in a letter. An OSCE delegation visited Hungary in January to assess the possible need for such a mission, but no final decision has yet been made on whether such a move is necessary.
Previously, Zoltán Kovács, state secretary for international communications and relations, said it was “cynical and absurd” to suppose that Fidesz and Orbán wouldn’t relinquish power in case of a defeat or that they would commit electoral fraud, labeling any such claims “a usual campaign method of the left-wing press.” He added that “voters will reelect him [Viktor Orbán], I predict, because he has taken the country forward and delivered real results for Hungarians. Dark warnings about a contested election result and a rigged election are merely advocacy journalism at work.”
Reynders also said that the so-called rule of law procedure against Hungary could be launched before the April 3rd elections if the Court of Justice of the European Union approves the mechanism in its ruling scheduled for February 16th. This is the tool Brussels can use to suspend EU payments if it sees a systemic threat to the EU budget in a country, Euronews explains. The court will, in the vast majority of cases, give the same judgment as the Advocate General.
The Belgian politician said that an official notification would be sent to Budapest by the end of February, which could start the procedure.
For me, it would not be a problem to launch the procedure before the elections,”
said Didier Reynders.
But sanctions could be decided by member state representatives at a later date, probably months after the elections, the EU monitor said.
Featured image via Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI