Thursday, 24 June 2021

Ceisteanna (104)

Cathal Berry

Ceist:

104. Deputy Cathal Berry asked the Minister for Foreign Affairs the status of the current political situation within Hungary; and the way in which this will affect its relationship with the EU. [33939/21]

Amharc ar fhreagra

Freagraí scríofa (Ceist ar Foreign)

The EU faces significant challenges concerning Hungary and respect for Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union foundational values. These challenges involve particularly rule of law but also more recently LGBTQI+ rights.

Ireland is a firm supporter of the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union.

As I said earlier, I am particularly concerned about recent changes to Hungary’s laws. The potential for the Bill recently passed by the Hungarian Assembly to harm the rights and freedoms of the LGBTQI+ community in Hungary, particularly young people, is extremely worrying. The Government has made known its clear views on these developments, including at the EU's General Affairs Council.  The Embassy of Ireland in Hungary has also actively supported statements made locally by like-minded partners and has registered deep concern about this law and its implications for equality and human rights

The Multiannual Financial Framework and Recovery Fund 2021-2027 package, finalised unanimously last December, requires Member States allocated funding from the EU budget to respect the rule of law. Although it is regrettable that Hungary and Poland have since felt that a legal challenge to this Regulation is necessary, they are within their rights to do so. However, Ireland strongly believe this Regulation is fair and proportionate and plans to intervene in support of the Council in these proceedings.

In 2020, the European Commission introduced a new Annual Rule of Law Report process that offers an impartial assessment of the rule of law situation in each Member State. The Hungary chapter of the 2020 Report highlighted a number of concerns regarding judicial independence and anti-corruption.

As part of the Article 7 process, there have been a number of hearings in relation to Hungary and EU values at the General Affairs Council.

Ireland will continue to urge Hungary to engage constructively with the Commission and Member States and to address the concerns raised by its EU partners.