Hungary sides with Poland in EU row, tells Brussels to back off


The Hungarian foreign ministry has declared its support for Poland which is under fire from the European Commission over its domestic judicial reforms.

“We stand by Poland, and we call on the European Commission not to overstep its authority,” Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement Thursday as quoted by Reuters.

Budapest pointed out that Brussels should not “act like a political body” and criticized it for attempting to interfere in the domestic affairs of other states.

Earlier, the EU body threatened to sanction Warsaw for its proposed overhaul of the judiciary, citing Brussels’ “grave concerns” over the changes currently considered by Poland’s upper house.

If approved, the new measures will empower parliament and the justice minister to appoint judges to the Polish Supreme Court – which Brussels sees as a threat to the judiciary’s independence.

“We are coming very close to triggering Article 7,” the European Commission First Vice President Frans Timmermans warned, referring to an EU document which enables the EU to suspend a member state of certain rights, including voting rights, in the European Council.

But a defiant Warsaw has fired back, vowing to defend its proposed measures in Europe’s highest court. Its foreign ministry said it’s ready for a dialogue, but would not accept what it sees as an “ultimatum” from Brussels.

Warsaw and Budapest have recently been embroiled in another row with Brussels. This time, after the EU accused Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic of not fulfilling their obligations in managing Europe’s migrant and refugee crisis as outlined in its 2015 plan.

Charging that the three EU member states have not taken “the necessary action,” the European Commission launched infringement proceedings against Warsaw, Budapest and Prague in June.