Jourova, a Czech liberal who, as vice-president, is responsible for the protection of democratic values and the rule of law, had lashed out sharply at the evolution of Hungary under Orban in an interview with the German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’. “Orban likes to say that he is building an illiberal democracy. I would say he is building a sick democracy,” said the Czech.
Illiberal democracy means that the people still choose the government, but that the openness of the government is limited. The rights of the people are not taken very seriously either.
Orban’s statement went wrong. His spokesperson published a letter to von der Leyen in which there was “a direct political attack on a democratically elected government”. He finds the allegation “a humiliation for Hungary and the Hungarian people”.
Political contacts suspended
According to Orban, Jourova’s statement contradicts the role of the Commission as a neutral and objective institution. The Hungarian prime minister therefore considers a resignation indispensable. Budapest is already suspending all bilateral political contacts with her.
The dismissal of Jourova is not on the agenda of the Commission. The Vice-President has “full confidence” in von der Leyen, a Commission spokeswoman confirmed. Jourova and European Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders will present reports tomorrow on the state of the rule of law in all 27 member states.
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