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Dec 10, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Article 7 hearing on Hungary: Look who’s talking - again

Timmermans, Reynders, Jourová, Haavisto and their unelected NGOs. The tireless Soros orchestra took the stage today in the EU’s General Affairs Council.

Today’s General Affairs Council session was the eleventh hearing in nine years held by EU institutions regarding Hungary, and the Article 7 procedure has been droning on for more than 15 months. Much like during previous hearings, most of the questions heard today made little sense in light of all the work the Hungarian government has done with the Commission. Those who posed the questions demonstrated no interest in facts because this isn’t about facts and rule-bound procedures. This is a political campaign against a government of Hungary that stands in the way of the agenda that Soros and his liberal allies are determined to push.

As I Tweeted earlier today, so strong was the feeling of exertion at the Council that you could almost smell the perspiration. So fervent is their determination, they’re willing to throw facts and rules out the window.

We witnessed – once again – the Soros Orchestra drag the EU’s GAC into their ideologically driven political fight against Hungary. Charging us with violations of the rule of law, they brought out tired issues that have already been resolved and proceeded to ride roughshod over all rules of procedure.

You may recall the way they rammed through the voting on the Sargentini report in the EP in 2018. Today, it was the Finnish Presidency, which did not bother to consult nor even notify us in advance of its intention to include this specific agenda item for today’s Council meeting. We were informed only when the preliminary draft agenda was circulated among all Member States. The agenda item was proposed by the Presidency, but Member States were never asked the question whether they are in favor of another hearing. Then the Presidency initiated the hearing without specifying the subjects – this only came a few days later, when the hearing was already a fait accompli.

So as they waged their campaign, we were treated in the hearing to issue after issue that was not on the agenda, many of which we have already responded to or have been completely resolved with the Commission. One member of the Council actually expressed concern over Hungary’s media law, an issue we fully resolved with the European Commission back in 2011(!).

We had hoped – and we still have reason to be hopeful with Ursula von der Leyen’s leadership – that this new European Commission will take a new, more constructive direction. But we’re troubled to see some familiar faces, who express an intention to do everything possible to keep this process from concluding.

 

Commissioner Didier Reynders made it clear today that they’re not going to give in. This will be, in Reynders’ own words, a “never-ending process.” Good to know. It means that we cannot expect him to close this procedure any time soon.

And while it labors on, the rule of law question has become a farce. The government of Hungary is being charged with violating the rule of law and European values by a group of political activists who repeatedly ride roughshod over the rules of procedure. We’ve seen it in the European Parliament. We’ve seen it again today in the GAC. But that’s the way this orchestra works: under the guise of a legal procedure, put something on the agenda against a government to which they are ideologically opposed, disregard facts and procedural rules, and keep on going to pursue the political goal.