Pro-government media calls for the resignation of two judges for meeting US ambassador

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Pro-government media calls for the resignation of two judges for meeting US ambassador

Hungarian pro-government outlets are demanding the resignation of two judges because they met with US Ambassador David Pressman. The government-friendly media outlets argued that Csaba Vasvari and Tamas Matusik must resign because the meeting interferes with the "judicial independence".

The meeting with the two judges was public, Pressman tweeted about the event on his official account, saying it was an "informative discussion about the [ National Judicial] Council’s critical role in Hungary’s judicial system".

Tünde Handó, former president of the National Office for the Judiciary (NJO) and godmother to PM Viktor Orban's oldest child, also met with the former US ambassador David Corsntein in 2018. The same outlets that are criticizing the meeting with Pressman now did not mention Handó's 2018 meeting. 

Hungary falls in the global Rule of Law index

Hungary has dropped further in the World Justice Project’s 2022 Rule of Law Index, ranked last in the European Union, European Free Trade Association, and North American region. Hungary is in 73rd place out of 140 countries, with low scores on civil and criminal justice and the absence of corruption.  

“We are emerging from the pandemic, but the global rule of law recession continues,” said Elizabeth Andersen, executive director of the World Justice Project.

Currently, billions of euros in EU funds are frozen for Hungary over concerns about the rule of law.

Number of Russian diplomats in Hungary increased since Russia invaded Ukraine

The number of Russian diplomats in Hungary has increased since the start of the war in Ukraine, Szabolcs Panyi, Direkt 36's investigative journalist wrote on Twitter. The intense presence of Moscow diplomats is in clear contrast with other EU member states who have expelled Russian diplomats since February.

There are currently 57 Russian diplomats in Budapest, 3 diplomats in Debrecen, and two Russian citizens with diplomatic immunity, employed by the International Investment Bank (IIB) in Budapest. Critics have repeatedly called IIB a “Trojan horse” for Moscow since the bank opened in the Hungarian capital in 2019.