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11 Dec, 2020 10:23

Hungary plans to annul EU summit's rule-of-law declaration in court

Hungary plans to annul EU summit's rule-of-law declaration in court

Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga has warned that the country will launch a case to annul a rule-of-law declaration in the top EU court. Brussels' move unblocks the European Union's new budget and coronavirus recovery fund.

"No one should have any doubts the Hungarian government will attack this [in the EU court] as we believe there are rule-of-law problems with the text of the declaration itself, and I am sure the EU court will remedy these," Varga said, speaking on state radio.

EU leaders agreed at the previous day's summit to use the rule-of-law link to the €1.8 trillion financial package objectively and not to punish countries under EU rule-of-law probes. The declaration helps unblock the 2021-2027 budget and the special fund to help member states' economies to overcome the consequences of the coronavirus crisis.

Hungary and Poland on November 16 vetoed the budget and the recovery funds because of a provision that linked receiving EU money to observing the rule of law.

But on Thursday, Hungary said it could support a compromise containing "all the important guarantees" for the both states. One of them was the possibility of Budapest and Warsaw turning to the EU's top court and testing any rule-of-law procedure. This could delay any such procedures from taking place until at least 2023 as the consideration of the case may take two years, Hungary's cabinet chief Gergely Gulyas explained.

Also on rt.com Hungary & Poland uphold veto on EU budget and recovery fund – Budapest

Budapest now plans to ask the EU's top court to check if Thursday's declaration is in line with EU treaties. Warsaw can also decide to follow suit.

The EU had earlier clashed with Hungary over immigration, the rights of media and non-governmental organizations, and draft legislation banning adoption by same-sex couples, while Brussels has also accused Poland of undermining the independence of the judiciary.

But Varga described the EU's proposal for a rule-of-law mechanism as a "legal nonsense" this week because the principle was enforced in different ways in different EU states.

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