The latest letter by Jose Manuel Barroso, the president of the European Commission, addressed to Prime Minister Viktor Orban, underlining concerns over the fourth constitutional amendment, raises empty threats and contains “groundless concerns,” Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics said late on Friday.
Navracsics told commercial news channel HirTV that EU officials often claim “the context is the problem”, that Hungary’s behaviour raises doubt while individual legislation in itself was not suspect. He added that the EU had tried to prove that Hungary’s measures in some form violate EU law, but this has not been successful so far.
Regarding a visit to Hungary by a delegation of the Strasbourg-based Venice Commission, the Council of Europe’s advisory body, Navracsics said the visit was only to supplement a report already prepared by the Commission. He said that the delegates had been given a 47-page document in which every one of their concerns had been answered.
He added that skepticism regarding the EU had strengthened of late in every member state, because the bloc appears unable to cope with the crisis.
In response to criticism of the amended electoral law, Navracsics said the ruling Fidesz party did not need to resort to manipulation to win the elections in 2014. He said it was a “dangerous game to question the fairness of elections beforehand”, because if trust in democratic institutions withers, it is difficult to restore it.
Navracsics added that Hungary’s left is currently in a similar crisis “as perhaps the right was for a short time after the 1994 elections” [which they lost to the Socialists].