The Danish Minister for European Affair’s speech in the European Parliament the 18 January 2012 during the debate on the recent political developments in Hungary.
Dear President of the European Parliament Dear President of the Commission Prime Minister of Hungary, Honourable Members, Commissioner
The Presidency is very well aware of the concerns which have been expressed by members of this House over some aspects of the legislation recently adopted in Hungary, including the new Constitution.
Let me be absolutely clear - all EU member states have to comply with the rules of the Treaty. This goes for Hungary as it goes for any other member state. If there are any doubts whether a member state’s legislation is in accordance with the EU rules, the Commission should examine and analyse the situation thoroughly. This is in the interest of all Member States. And this is exactly what the Commission has done in Hungary. Action is being taken.
The Presidency fully supports the Commission’s role as the guardian of the Treaties. Make no mistake: We appreciate the thorough analysis the Commission is undertaking. The concerns that have been raised about the recent developments in Hungary must be treated with the seriousness that the situation deserves. We all share a strong interest in Hungary living up to its obligations under EU law and that the process for determining whether this is or not the case is fair and thorough. Rule of law goes both ways. Member States’ observance of EU law must be ensured, but the process must be based on solid and fact-based analysis and there should be a dialogue with the Member State.
We therefore welcome that the Commission has issued its legal assessment of the Hungarian laws. It is on this basis that appropriate decisions on the next steps should be taken in accordance with the applicable procedures.
The Commission has expressed a number of specific concerns and have taken steps to ensure that the Hungarian legislation will be brought in accordance with EU law. Therefore it has decided to launch infringement proceedings on three issues: the independence of the national central bank, the retirement age of judges and the independence of the data protection authority. At the same time, they are sending a wider information request to the Hungarian authorities on the issue of the independence of the judiciary.
We of course expect Hungary as any other Member State to comply with the EU’s treaties and laws. It goes without saying that respect of EU law, including the Treaties and the values enshrined in the Treaties, is the basis on which the EU is founded. It is the duty of all member states to act in accordance with the Treaties and EU law.
I therefore expect that Hungary will meet the obligations they have accepted as Members of the European Union."