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28 Sep, 2020 14:48

‘We should not be taken for fools’: Hungary & Poland hit back at Brussels with institute aimed at scrutinizing rule-of-law in EU

‘We should not be taken for fools’: Hungary & Poland hit back at Brussels with institute aimed at scrutinizing rule-of-law in EU

Budapest and Warsaw have decided to beat Brussels at its own game by announcing the creation of an institute that would monitor violations of law within the EU, after the bloc accused the two member states of breaching the law.

Hungary’s foreign minister Peter Szijjarto announced the move after meeting with his Polish counterpart, Zbigniew Rau, on Monday.

“The aim of this institute of comparative law would be that we should not be taken for fools,” Szijjarto said, adding that he was losing patience with “western European politicians using us as a punchbag.”

The new institute will closely follow how the rule of law is upheld across the European Union, in order to ensure “double standards” aren’t being used to unfairly accuse Hungary and Poland of wrongdoing, the Hungarian diplomat explained. Foreign Minister Rau said the new organization would help foster a “legal debate” in the union, noting that such dialogue was preferable to political feuding.

Brussels has accused both countries of undermining democratic values by exerting political influence on media and courts and of targeting non-governmental organizations (NGOs). Both countries were censured by the European Parliament in April for flouting “European values” during the coronavirus pandemic. Budapest and Warsaw were accused of overriding democratic processes as part of their response to the health crisis, even though most European states imposed their own draconian Covid-19 measures with little or no democratic oversight.

Also on rt.com Poland is villain in EU drama as bungling Brussels bean counters award it €16bn in aid despite least economic damage in Europe

Hungary and Poland faced the possibility of being excluded from a €750-billion ($859-billion) post-pandemic recovery fund, after Brussels considered attaching stringent conditions to the cash concerning respect for the “rule of law.” However, the EU appears to have backpedaled on the idea, and both Warsaw and Budapest have threatened to veto any legislation that would deprive them of their benefits.

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