EP challenges EU presidency term for Hungary

EP challenges EU presidency term for Hungary

The European Parliament (EP) is expected to challenge whether Hungary should take on the rotating presidency of the 27-nation European Union next year. A draft resolution tabled for discussion today highlights the country’s controversial rule of law issues and questions if it can uphold the standards required of an EU presidency incumbent in light of the Budapest government’s record of disputes and disagreements over EU directives and core values.

Moreover, EU affairs ministers were expected to discuss options to postpone Hungary’s presidency on the sidelines of today’s general affairs council meeting. Reportedly, ministers want to sound out the views of their colleagues as they try to determine just how prepared they are to take such an action.

Meantime, EPP group spokesman on budgetary control and rule of law issues, Petri Sarvamaa, went on record saying: “During these unprecedented times, it is crucial that the Council is led by a country capable of upholding the strong collaboration among member states in decision-making, especially on issues such as sanctions against Russia or support for Ukraine.”

The holder of the EU presidency is responsible for planning and organising EU member state ministerial meetings and also represents EU membership in relations with other EU institutions and international organisations. It is the presidency that organises and drives the work on EU legislation, a responsibility that demands transparency, neutrality and integrity.

“The Parliament questions how Hungary is able to fulfil this task credibly in 2024 in view of incompliance with EU law and the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union as well as the principle of sincere cooperation”, according to the draft resolution set for adoption today.

Hungary is scheduled to hold the EU presidency from July to December 2024 based on the rotation calendar that was agreed to in 2016, While changes have been made in the past to take account of new members, there is no precedent for a change in rotation due to a member nation rejecting or disputing EU norms such as those related to the rule of law.

For some time now, Hungary and the EU have been at loggerheads over the former’s approach to rule of law and to various other issues such as LGBTQ rights, academic freedoms, alleged corruption involving the disbursement of EU funds, and the absence of judicial independence. These differences, unresolved over the years, led to the EU freezing billions of euros in funds for the Hungarian government.

Ultimately, any decision to postpone or cancel Hungary’s EU presidency term would be up to the EU member governments.


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