Tuesday, 9 July 2019

Questions (135)

Niall Collins

Question:

135. Deputy Niall Collins asked the Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade his views on reports that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is suppressing academic freedom and independent institutions in Hungary; the steps he believes should be taken to address the issue; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [29408/19]

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Written answers (Question to Foreign)

The European Commission is taking a number of 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.

Rule of law issues in Hungary have been discussed at the General Affairs Councils on a number of occasions since Autumn 2018. Ireland has actively participated in these discussions, involving the European Commission, Hungary and other Member States, to highlight the importance of respect for the rule of law.

These issues have also been discussed on a bilateral basis, most recently between the Minister of State 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 a Communication on further strengthening of the rule of law within the Union. I look forward to the Commission's follow-up proposals which are due to be published later this month.