None of us, unfortunately, are surprised by the contents of the European Commission’s “Rule of Law Report” published yesterday afternoon. On the contrary: This is exactly what we expected. The report remains a biased, politically motivated collection of blatant double standards. The Commission has failed once again to put together a report based on accepted rule of law criteria.
To make matters worse, the sole purpose for the very existence of this report might just be that Brussels bureaucrats plan to use it to withdraw some much-deserved funding from Hungary and the Hungarian people. As Justice Minister Judit Varga pointed out rightly in her reaction to the report, the chapter on Hungary not only paints a distorted image of Hungary but also quotes the opinion of NGOs (many of which are Soros-funded) with a clear anti-Hungary agenda.
Consider this: Isn’t it a bit hypocritical for the European Commission to express concerns over Hungary’s rule of law situation, when it couldn’t even keep the European Parliament from violating its own rules of procedure a little more than three years ago when the plenary adopted the notorious “Sargentini Report” through an obvious violation of voting rules? About a month ago, the European Court of Justice covered for them with an oddly reasoned decision in their favor. Look who’s talking.
The “Rule of Law Report” then appears to take issue with Hungary’s media pluralism. They say that it “remains at risk.” This narrative has been on the Brussels agenda for the better part of a decade now, but our European opponents still seem incapable of seeing Hungary’s media landscape for what it really is: Free and fair, and yes, mostly dominated by outlets with views strongly hostile to Prime Minister Orbán’s governments. So, even if we were to believe that PM Orbán is indeed a “press freedom predator,” we’d have to also concede he is a rather lousy one, given that left-liberal outlets prevail in the media landscape.
The report brings up one example, the story of how the “independent” radio station Klubrádió was “taken off air.” Had they conducted proper research and not based their assessment exclusively on sources critical of PM Orbán’s government, our friends in Brussels would know that Klubrádió, among other, mostly procedural shortcomings, committed major infractions, violating basic broadcasting regulations not once, not twice, but at least six times. At least.
This year’s edition of the European Commission’s “Rule of Law Report” confirms that this branch of the European Commission – particularly under the leadership of Věra Jourová, who has severely compromised herself by making clearly politically biased statements on Hungary – is not suited to carry out the complex legal task of comparing member states’ legal systems from a rule of law perspective. Furthermore, the report’s chapter on Hungary reveals the Commission’s true intentions: They are planning to use this comprehensive procedure, disguised as a legal issue, to further their politically driven, left-liberal agenda against the Orbán Government.
At a time when Brussels should be building confidence among member states and their citizens, this European Commission report is not helping matters.