Justice Minister Judit Varga has called for strengthening the role of the Council of Europe (CoE), saying that the European Union “should not be allowed to overshadow” the organization’s mandate.
Addressing a meeting of parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Minister Varga noted that Hungary will take over the presidency of the CoE’s Committee of Ministers later in May. The minister said the principle that the council’s member states should be united in their values and ideas was just as valid today as it had been at the time of the founding of the organization 70 years ago. However, diversity and national sovereignty are equally important, Minister Varga said, arguing that the council’s member states differed in their legal, cultural and historical traditions.
Minister Varga said the priorities of Hungary’s CoE presidency running until mid-November are future-oriented, pragmatic and committed to the protection of national minorities. She also said it was “clear that there is a certain implicit rivalry between the EU and the CoE”, and urged strengthening the role of the latter.
The minister added that Hungary is evaluating the best way to organize this year’s Octopus conference on cybercrime. “Hungary is a leader in sharing its experiences in the fight against cybercrime,” she added.