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Justice Min: EU Ministers Have No Problem with Hungary Not Joining Union’s Prosecutor’s Office

MTI-Hungary Today 2021.06.08.

The debate on the rule of law is “finally where it should be”, in front of justice ministers, the Hungarian justice minister said on the sidelines of a meeting of EU ministers in Luxembourg on Monday.

Judit Varga told MTI over the phone that the ministers also responsible for European affairs exchanged views about the European Public Prosecutor’s Office and the national prosecutors’ work in the member states, she said.

Whenever non-experts discuss the topic, and analyse the specific solutions of member states, the discussion easily degenerates into a “political witch hunt”, she said.

Justice Minister: Rule of Law Debate Should Not Create Division Between EU Members
Justice Minister: Rule of Law Debate Should Not Create Division Between EU Members

The “hypocritical” debate about the rule of law should not serve to create divisions between European Union member states at a time when they are busy fighting against the coronavirus epidemic, Justice Minister Judit Varga said in an interview with daily Magyar Nemzet on Wednesday. “The current period should be dedicated to building alliances, so […]Continue reading

The participants discussed issues pertaining to prosecutor’s offices after a recent ruling of the European court, which voiced concerns regarding the independence of the prosecutor’s office in several member states, “but not in Hungary,” Varga said.

The Hungarian Public Prosecutor is elected with a qualified majority, and reports only to the parliament, completely independently from the executive branch, she noted. Meanwhile, Hungary has raised judges’ and prosecutors’ wages “in a historic hike” to guarantee independence, she said.

Regarding the European Public Prosecutor’s Office, which was launched on June 1, Varga said “no one called out” the five member states, Hungary among them, which did not join the organisation. “When politicians discuss the matter, it becomes politicised, but experts will not use the discussions for pointing point fingers,” she said.

Hungary Opts Out of European Public Prosecutor's Office
Hungary Opts Out of European Public Prosecutor's Office

Following the recommendation of parliament, the Hungarian government has decided not to participate in the establishment of the European Public Prosecutor’s Office (EPPO) or the strengthened cooperation among EU prosecutors, Justice Minister Judit Varga said on Facebook on Tuesday. Varga said the decision was a question of sovereignty, insisting that the setting up of the […]Continue reading

The meeting also tackled the issue of digital security which Varga said was “one of the most important challenges of our age”. Terrorism, paedophile crimes and organisers of illegal migration thrive in cyberspace, she said.

Hungary is committed to supporting tools to crack down on such content, she said, adding, however, that preserving the citizens’ right to free speech and opinion, as well as respect for member states’ specific legal systems are priorities.

On the sidelines of the meeting, Varga met Dutch Justice Minister Ferdinand Grapperhaus. to discuss victim support. Varga noted that Hungary introduced a Dutch model from January 1. In this approach, victims of violent crimes will receive help even if they do not seek out the victim support centres, Varga said. Victims can allow the centres to contact them through the police, she said. Hungary is among the top European countries in victim support too, she said.

Featured photo illustration via Judit Varga’s Facebook page