European Commission: Hungary has not progressed enough in strengthening the rule of law

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Hungary only made marginal improvements on the rule of law, Commission says

According to the new report from the European Commission, Hungary made only has made slight progress on the rule of law. While some progress has been made in a few areas, such as judicial reforms, the Commission listed several shortcomings in its annual report on the rule of law in member states. ]

The report shows that on average, Member States have implemented 65% of the Commission's recommendations. Hungary has taken some of them on board, but far from 65%. The Hungarian government and parliament have taken on board and implemented the recommendation to strengthen the role of the National Council for the Judiciary, abolish the appointment of judges outside the ordinary procedure, tighten the criteria for eligibility for the post of President of the Curia and strengthen the powers of control of the judiciary over the President of the Curia. 

However, many other recommendations have not been met by Hungary, and as Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders told the press conference, Hungary's EU funds depend on these conditions. For example, the government has made no progress in investigating corruption cases involving senior officials and their immediate circle, and the independence of the media authority and the public media remains a concern. The Commission has made a long list of new recommendations, the implementation of which will be assessed in next year's report.

Katalin Novak signs ‘vengeance’ law

Hungarian President Katalin Novak signed the controversial education law, passed by the Parliament on Thursday. "The law on educators has been adopted by Parliament. The most controversial points of the so-called "status law", which many rightly objected to and which was originally submitted for debate, are no longer included in the adopted law or are included with substantive amendments. Therefore, having studied the text of the law on the new career of teachers and having weighed up the legislative intentions behind it, I consider that the new law ensures the viability of the public education system, provides a clear framework, and creates the basis for a pay rise", reads the statement of Sándor Palace.

Lawmakers passed the bill affecting Hungary's teachers on Tuesday with a 136-58 vote. The law revokes teachers’ status as public employees, increases allowable weekly working hours, and allows educators to be transferred to other schools experiencing teacher shortages. Teachers have been protesting against the bill for months before the Parliament's decision. More than 5000 teachers have pledged to quit if the new regulations come into effect, according to aHang.

Trump's campaign manager to attend Orban's annual event in Băile Tuşnad

At least eight ministers and dozens of state secretaries have pledged to attend to visit  Viktor Orban's annual event in Băile Tuşnad so far. According to MTI, Hungary's state news agency, several foreign guests are expected, including former Slovenian Prime Minister Janez Jansa, Polish, American, and British politicians, and former US President Trump's campaign manager.

Last year, Hungary's nationalist Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, made headlines by saying  “We [Hungarians] are not a mixed race, and we do not want to become a mixed race,” at the event where traditionally shares his main policy ideas and ideological directions. After Orban's controversial comments, Zsuzsa Hegedüs, one of his longest-serving advisers, resigned in protest calling it “a pure Nazi speech, worthy of Goebbels”.

Varga steps down as Justice Minister to lead European elections campaign

Hungary's Justice Minister Judit Varga announced that she is resigning as of July 31. Bence Tuzson, a confidant of Antal Rogan will succeed her. Varga's new role is to lead Fidesz's campaign for the 2024 European Parliament elections and will become the ruling party's lead candidate. 

“The stakes are very high for the 2024 EP elections: a conservative turn in the European institutions is needed and I want to take an active role in this,” Varga told pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet. Before becoming justice minister Varga spent almost a decade in Brussels as an adviser to Fidesz MEPs.