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Jun 05, 2019 - Zoltán Kovács

Same old, same old from the European Commission

The European Commission’s latest country-specific reports have just been published. It’s same old, same old from Brussels.

The European Commission has just released the biannual country report on Hungary. Does it say anything about our success in slashing national debt and keeping the budget deficit below 3 percent since 2011? Perhaps Hungary’s GDP growth leading the EU or the record-low unemployment and rising birth rates? Of course not. What did the eurocrats in the Commission emphasize?

Independence of the judiciary.

It seems someone in Brussels got the memo that Hungary has “tabled a bill withdrawing the Act on the entry into force and transitional rules for the administrative courts,” but nevertheless, the report criticizes Hungary claiming that “checks and balances, which are crucial to ensuring judicial independence, have been further weakened within the ordinary courts system”.

Note that this is the same European Commission that published its scoreboard a few weeks ago that shows entirely respectable scores for Hungary. Our numbers are better, in some respects, than France. And, by the way, we have resolved with the Commission all of the questions – also known as infringement procedures – concerning the judiciary. (Read more here.) So what are they talking about in this report?

What’s more, the report doesn’t even mention that Hungary, by the way, currently has the fifth lowest unemployment rate in the European Union at 3.5 percent – down from 12 percent in 2010. In fact, all four results from a quick search for the term “unemployment” in the seven-page document hit a critical tone.

“The duration of unemployment benefits is the shortest in the EU,” the text reads at one point, some paragraphs before the line “weak local public transport connectivity and high commuting costs are contributing to unemployment in disadvantaged areas.” Buried deep in the report, they mention that the “overall employment rate has improved significantly”. Thank you!

What we do get instead is a lengthy technocratic analysis of Hungary’s supposed “deviation from the adjustment path toward the medium-term budgetary objective”.

It’s precisely this kind of agenda-driven activism and lack of accountability from Brussels bureaucrats that turns European citizens off. We’re looking forward to a new Commission, one that understands that it serves the member states and not the other way around.