Hungary calls for EU Commissioner Jourova to resign over ‘derogatory comments’

Hungary’s prime minister has called for the European Commission Vice-President Vera Jourova to resign over what he says are ‘derogatory comments’ about democracy in the country.

A letter from Orban to the European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen was tweeted by Orban’s spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs, in which he said that Jourova’s comments were ‘inappropriate and unacceptable’, and were a ‘blatant violation’ of the ‘sincere cooperation’ and that her resignation was therefore ‘indispensable’.

His comments came after Commission vice-president Jourova was interviewed by German magazine ‘Der Spiegel’ this week. Her comments translate as ‘Mr Orbán says often that he builds an illiberal democracy. I would say he builds a sick democracy.’

Orban’s government have repeatedly clashed with EU institutions in Brussels in recent years over the government’s policies to tighten their grip on the judiciary, media and academic institutions.

Hungary is currently subject to the Article 7 process, which was triggered by the European Parliament in 2018 over alleged abuses of core EU values. The process is still underway and could mean that Budapest’s voting rights are rescinded.

The EU is currently preparing a report on rule of law and is also looking at tying EU funding to respect of said values in the new trillion-euro coronavirus recovery package.

It is not the first time Hungary demands a Commissioner’s resignation. In 2017, Orban called for Commissioner Frans Timmermans to resign after saying the Hungarian leader’s comments about billionaire philanthropist George Soros were driven by anti-semitism.

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