Hungary does what all do in Europe, Judit Varga, Hungary’s minister of justice, said in an interview published in the online edition of Die Welt on Sunday.
The minister qualified the accusation levelled by the European Union and the European People’s Party, namely that Hungary’s new law on defence against the novel coronavirus epidemic “has emptied” democracy as fake news, a manifestation of “the uncontrolled dominance of liberal views”.
Once the pandemic is over, Hungary as all countries will lift the state of emergency, she said. The timing of this decision, however, will not be coordinated by others, it will be a matter of national competence, she said.
Varga rejected European Commissioner Vera Jourova’s demand that the Hungarian government should relinquish its special powers as soon as possible. “The state of emergency will be lifted on the appropriate date; neither a day before, nor a day after,” she said. Concerning Jourova’s view that the emergency laws passed in several countries pose a potential danger to democracy, Varga said that as long as these laws are in line with the constitution and the Constitutional Court is in place, democracy is not in danger in either Hungary or in any other European state.
Varga insisted that parliament can withdraw the law on the state of emergency at any time. Asked whether a parliament in which ruling Fidesz has a two-thirds majority can be expected to make a decision contrary to the government’s will, the minister said that those who object to this situation have trouble with Hungarian voters.
“This is not a legal but a political issue. Hungary’s voters decided two years ago to give the government a two-thirds majority in parliament. In two years, they will once again make a decision,”
Concerning recent statements about the alleged dissolution of parliament, Varga said that the western press had completely misunderstood the situation. Parliament will continue to work “totally normally” until the end of its spring session on June 15. The courts and the Constitutional Court continue to operate, the “system of checks and balances’ is in place, she said. The government’s special powers are limited to cases that require immediate decisions, for instance the repayment of loan instalments, the minister said.
On Twitter, Varga reacted to the remarks of German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas, who raised concerns about Hungary’s new coronavirus law and talked about linking EU funds to rule-of-law criteria.