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Nov 08, 2016

The EU should worry over the rule of law in Hungary, says German official

Michael Roth, Germany's deputy foreign minister, said the EU must be concerned about the erosion of the rule of law in Hungary and should strengthen tools to safeguard liberal democracy

The European Union must be concerned about the erosion of the rule of law in Hungary and should strengthen tools to safeguard liberal democracy, Michael Roth, Germany's deputy foreign minister has said.

According to Bloomberg, Roth said the 28-member bloc has “reason to be concerned about how the government handles the rule of law, the separation of powers of checks and balances and the independence and freedom of the media” in Hungary, Roth said during a speech at Central European University in Budapest. “It’s therefore difficult to deny that we’re confronted with a set of developments that are challenging our union of values.”

The EU created a rule-of-law procedure in 2014 and the EU executive first implemented the mechanism this year against Poland, where the ruling Law and Justice party has come under fire for changes to the constitutional court.

Roth said the EU needed to strengthen the rule-of-law procedure, although he didn’t elaborate. The EU has failed to convince Poland’s government to scrap new rules that it says undermine the independence of the high court.

EU President Donald Tusk, a former Polish premier, has said it would be a “waste of time” to try to escalate the issue and force a vote on suspending Poland’s voting rights as it wouldn’t gain the necessary unanimous backing from other member states.

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