Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has called for the resignation of European Commission Vice President Vera Jourova over what he described as her “derogatory public statements” about democracy in Hungary.
Orban, 57, has repeatedly clashed with other EU leaders over his moves to put the judiciary, media and academics under more state control.
Critics in the European Union say he defends the rights of nation states and ethnic majorities at the expense of the generally accepted rules of civic behaviour. Orban rejected those accusations in an interview with Reuters last week.
“According to the Vice President, in Hungary a ‘sick democracy’ is being built,” Orban wrote in a letter to Commission President Ursula von der Leyen published on Tuesday.
Reuters could not immediately verify Jourova’s comments cited by Orban.
Orban’s call for the ouster of Jourova, in charge of the Commission’s work on values and transparency and upholding the rule of law, comes as Hungary is headed for a slower-than-expected recovery from the coronavirus pandemic.
Orban has repeatedly used rousing speeches in the past to portray himself as a defender of Hungary’s national pride and sovereignty against foreign encroachment, including attacks from “Brussels bureaucrats”.