Hungary’s Orban backs Polish court ruling challenging EU law

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BUDAPEST (Reuters) – Hungary has called on European Union institutions “to respect member states’ sovereignty” after it backed a Polish court ruling that some EU law is incompatible with the Polish constitution.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban signed a Hungarian government decree on Saturday, his press chief told state news agency MTI, welcoming the ruling by Poland’s Constitutional Court which has plunged the EU into an existential crisis.

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, said she was “deeply concerned” by the ruling and that the Commission would do all in its power to ensure the primacy of EU law. [nL1N2R40LR

Right-wing populist governments in Poland and Hungary have been at odds with the Commission over issues ranging from media freedoms, migration, LGBT rights to judicial independence.

The two former communist states, which joined the EU in 2004, have been allies within the bloc, often voting in tandem, and supporting each other’s case.

Budapest said Thursday’s Polish court ruling had been triggered by a “bad practice of EU institutions” which tried to take away certain competences from member states that had never been conferred upon the EU.

“The primacy of EU law can only apply in those areas where the EU has powers, the framework for this had been set out in the EU’s treaties,” MTI cited the Hungarian decree as saying.

The EU’s institutions must respect member states’ national identity, it added.

Poland’s Constitutional Tribunal took on the case after Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki asked it whether EU institutions could stop Poland reorganising its judiciary.

Despite the disputes between Brussels and their respective governments, support for membership of the EU remains high in Poland and Hungary.Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Mike Harrison


Photo Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (R) and Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki (L) attend a press conference after their meeting in Budapest, Hungary, 26 November 2020. Polish PM Mateusz Morawiecki and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban issued a joint declaration in Budapest in which they say both their positions on the EU budget remain unchanged from that presented in 2018. The declaration says that the two countries have held a mutual position since the commencement of negotiations on the seven-year budget and that their common aim is prevent the emergence of a mechanism that will weaken the rule of law in the EU by leading to it becoming a political instrument. EPA-EFE/Andrzej Lange

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