Tuesday, 18 June 2019

Questions (73)

Niall Collins

Question:

73. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade the status of efforts being made by Ireland and the EU to ensure that the rule of law, space for civic society and democracy is not further curtailed in Hungary; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [25176/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

Fundamental values and the rule of law are a shared EU interest and call for a common approach. 

Rule of law issues in Hungary have been discussed at the General Affairs Councils on a number of occasions since last Autumn. These discussions have involved the Commission, Hungary and other Member States. Ireland has actively participated in these discussions to highlight the importance of respect for the rule of law.

The European Commission has ongoing values-related infringements proceedings against Hungary regarding the NGO law and the Higher Education Law and its impact on the operation of the Central European University as well as in relation to asylum procedures.

Our concerns about the space for civil society are shared by many of our European partners and we have expressed these concerns at Council meetings.

These issues have also been discussed on a bilateral basis with Hungary, most recently between the Minister for European Affairs, Helen McEntee T.D and the Hungarian Minister of State for EU Policies and Coordination, Szabolcs Takács, in Dublin on 4 April last.

At the General Affairs Council meeting on 21 May, the Commission presented its Communication on further strengthening of the rule of law within the Union. With this Communication, the Commission launched a reflection process and set out possible avenues for future action. I look forward to the outcome of this reflection process and any recommendations that emerge from this process.

Question No. 74 answered with Question No. 51.