Orbán demands resignation of EU Commissioner

Věra Jourová, the European Commission Vice-President responsible for Values and Transparency, has accused Hungarian Prime Minister Orbán of 'building a sick democracy' by restricting the rule of law and media freedom in Hungary. Orbán reacted with indignation to the 'derogatory comments' and called for the Czech politician's resignation. The incident is polarizing opinion in the home countries of the two protagonists.

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Mladá fronta dnes (CZ) /

Jourová as an ideological wrecking ball

Mladá fronta dnes sees neighbourly relations between the Czech Republic and Hungary in jeopardy:

“Exactly what was to be expected from the moment when the Czech EU Commissioner Věra Jourová agreed to take over the useless portfolio of Vice-President of the European Commission for Values and Transparency has now happened. Commissioners in this post don't have much to do. So she starts admonishing member states for their alleged democratic deficits. If Jourová destroys our relations with our neighbours in this way over the next five years, it may soon be time to consider rebuilding the border fortifications.”

Magyar Nemzet (HU) /

An insult to the Hungarian people

An EU Commission Vice-President cannot afford to make such statements, criticises the pro-government daily Magyar Nemzet:

“Since the Fidesz-KDNP [party alliance] came into power, Hungary has been scrutinised and criticised by EU bureaucrats on several occasions, and in most cases the Hungarian government has tried to cooperate with the Commission; if [the criticism] was justified, it has changed or withdrawn laws. ... But Jourová is a different case altogether. She has sunk to depths where an EU Commissioner has no business to be. Now she is vilifying not just the government but all Hungarians in the same dishonest and stupid way as many Hungarian left-wing politicians and pseudo-experts in recent years. In Jourová's opinion, Hungarians are sheep who are not even capable of forming their own opinion.”

Lidové noviny (CZ) /

It's her job to do this

Lidové noviny sympathises to some extent with the Czech Commissioner:

“You can take all kinds of different views of this case. For example, that Jourová's words were exaggerated. That she parroted prefabricated names for Hungary. Or that Hungary overreacted. But the fact remains that Jourová has assumed the mandate of a member of the EU Commission. This means that as a matter of principle she is not defending Czech interests, nor those of the Visegrád states, but the interests of the European Commission. And any statements she makes vis-à-vis Hungary or Poland are expected to be in accordance with this.”

Népszava (HU) /

We experience every day how sick Hungary is

The EU Commission is due to present its latest report on the state of the rule of law in its member states today. Orbán is trying to divert attention from the justified criticism it contains, Népszava believes:

“The Hungarian head of government says Jourová has insulted Hungarian citizens, but all she did was call Hungary a sick democracy. ... Unfortunately, not day goes by without us experiencing the truth of this statement. Clearly the timing of this angry outburst is no coincidence: the [protest] letter from the prime minister came just before the publication of Brussels' report on the rule of law. The Commission's opinion of Hungarian democracy is likely to be devastating. That is why the government is trying to discredit Jourová even before the document is published.”