An extraordinary Government Information briefing was held early yesterday afternoon, following the announcement of the European Court of Justice’s ruling on the rule of law legislation that Hungary and Poland had tried to block. Gergely Gulyás, Minister of the Prime Minister’s Office, and Justice Minister Judit Varga (pictured) began the session, although the latter was only present for the first few minutes of the nearly two-hour press conference.
The European Court of Justice delivered a politically-motivated ruling over the Hungarian Child Protection Act.
-began Minister Varga. The government was not surprised by it, she said, as the Court has also became a political actor and its verdict resulted from political pressure.
The Minister of Justice noted that Hungary’s “child protection” law had sparked a major international debate, and also provoked a ferocious attack against the country. The Hungarian government has decided to stay firm on the law itself until the referendum on the issue is held on April 3, concurrent with parliamentary elections on the same day. Judit Varga likened the issue to the debate that has raged around migration.
The Minister stressed that it was clear that the Hungary’s solution to the dispute over migration had proven to be the correct one in the long run, and that they are now of the belief that children have to be protected from “sexual propaganda.”
Their problem is with the Child Protection Law, not with the rule of law.
-claimed Judit Varga.
Responding to a reporter’s question, Gergely Gulyás suggested that the ECJ’s verdict would not be appealed, but rather that the results of the child protection referendum would be the government’s answer to the situation.
Adopted in December 2020, the EU’s rule of law regulation grants the European Commission the power to apply a “conditionality mechanism” to member countries where democratic backsliding has caused harm to the joint EU budget, permitting the Commission to cut or hold back EU funds to those countries.
The lawsuit brought by Hungary and Poland sought to invalidate the legislation on the basis that it was incompatible with existing EU treaties. [Index, Index]