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Mar 12, 2018 - Zoltán Kovács

The Commission’s country report on Hungary: A political report from a political body

The European Commission released last week the biannual country report on Hungary. Aside from a few words of praise for the government’s role in Hungary’s economic turnaround, what we find is a disappointing list of old issues and a clear attempt on the part of the Brussels bureaucracy to influence the outcome of Hungary’s upcoming parliamentary elections.

Specifically, the country report criticizes Hungary’s judicial system and the integration of the Roma community. As I had predicted, the Commission is rehashing the tired topics that we dealt with in the lead up to the 2014 elections.

Regarding the judiciary, the EC voiced unfounded concerns about the rule of law, while on the topic of the Roma it failed to acknowledge that our government has done more for the Roma than any other previous Hungarian government. (More on Roma inclusion here)

As I noted last week in Brussels, in light of the developments concerning one Martin Selmayr and the opaque process by which he has been promoted to the position of secretary-general in the Commission, it’s a little difficult to take seriously the sanctimonious tone of a Commission preaching about rule of law. We’ve talked about the double standards of Brussels. With this we have another example.

What we have in this country report is not so much an official review of conditions in Hungary but a political statement from a political body. Far from what was intended in the founding treaties, the European Commission has increasingly become a political body with its own political agenda, unelected and lacking accountability. The statements, the country specific reports, the recommendations are coming from a body that apparently has a hard time living up to its own standards and is stepping beyond its true mandate. This is not how it should be. European institutions are to serve the member states, not the other way around.