Orban's chief of staff: Putin would not be arrested in Hungary

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Putin would not be arrested in Hungary, Gergely Gulyas says 

On Monday, Bloomberg reported that Hungary blocked European Union member states from issuing a joint statement about an ICC (International Criminal Court) arrest warrant against Russian President Vladimir Putin. EU diplomat Josep Borrell released a statement saying." “The EU sees the decision by the ICC as a beginning of the process of accountability and holding Russian leaders to account for the crimes and atrocities they are ordering, enabling or committing in Ukraine”.  

Mate Paczolay, a spokesman for the Hungarian Foreign ministry later called the report a "lie".  "Hungary has taken note of the ICC decision and does not wish to comment on it in any way. However, if the High Representative or any member state wishes to issue a statement, Hungary will not object to it," Paczolay said. 

Borrell said the Hungarian government vetoed because it was not possible to issue a joint Council statement without them". But "if we analyze the situation from an EU legal point of view, there was no formal veto, because there is no indication that the Member States have voted."

Later this week, Gergely Gulyas, Viktor Orban's chief of staff  also commented on the matter in an interview, saying  "We can refer to the Hungarian law and based on that we cannot arrest the Russian President (...) as the ICC's statute has not been promulgated in Hungary."

Nato will hold Ukraine meeting despite objections from Hungary

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he would call a meeting of the organization’s main forum for cooperation with Ukraine next month despite objections from Hungary. Stoltenberg said the meeting will be held in Brussels on April 4-5. 

On Tuesday Hungarian Foreign Minister Szijjarto met the NATO Secretary General and according to the minister he "showed understanding on the issue" of the 'protection of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia' but "for various reasons (...) he will convene a meeting of the NATO-Ukraine Committee at ministerial level during the Foreign Ministers' Council, despite the Hungarian opposition, even though we believe that this meeting could only be convened if there is unanimous agreement".

Szijjarto stressed that there is "enormous pressure: on the Hungarian government from both sides of the Atlantic to "give up the protection of the Hungarian community in Transcarpathia, but this will not happen under any circumstances."

National Election Committee rejects referendum on battery factories

The National Electoral Committee (NEC) rejected the LMP's referendum on Chinese battery factories by 8 votes on Tuesday, which would tie the establishment of battery factories to a local referendum. Seven members of NEC voted in favor.

There are 15 days left to appeal against the NEC's decision, and the Kuria (Hunagry's highest court) has 90 days to decide whether to uphold or overturn the decision.

Last month several groups protested against the construction of a Chinese battery plant in Debrecen. CATL, the largest Chinese electric vehicle manufacturer announced in August that it would build a 7.3 billion euro battery factory in Eastern Hungary.  Protesters cited a lack of consultation with residents about the project.  

CATL said that construction of the 100 GWh plants in Debrecen, its largest overseas investment, would start this year after receiving approvals and should last no more than 64 months, Reuters reported.

Hungarian daily found no visible signs of the Integrity Authority's activities

Hungarian daily Nepszava published a report on the anti-corruption Integrity Authority (IH() on Monday writing that "although it exists since mid-November, in reality, there is little to no sign that it has been functioning for four months". The Hungarian government set up the IH under pressure from the EU and it is supposed to pursue transparency. The reasoning behind the establishment of IH is that billions of euros in EU funds are still withheld from Hungary over rule of law concerns.

Nepszava has sent questions multiple times to the organization without getting a response. They have not been able to find out whether the authority has exercised its statutory right to open any investigation since its creation or whether it has initiated proceedings before the court.