The Vice-President of the European Commission, Vera Jurova, who is responsible for shared values and transparency, reproached Hungarian Prime Minister Orban for restricting the principles of the rule of law and media freedom and building a ‘sick democracy’. Orban responded with indignation to this ‘humiliation’ — and demanded the resignation of the Czech politician. The conflict led to a polarization of opinion in both Hungary and the Czech Republic.
Jurov’s faith as a weapon
Mlada Fronta Dnes believes that the good neighborly relations between the Czech Republic and Hungary are under threat:
“What happened was exactly what could be expected at the moment when the Czech European Commissioner Vera Jurova agreed to take over this useless portfolio and become vice-chairman of the commission for common values and transparency. There is not much serious work for such a commissioner in such a position. That is why she reproaches EU member states for their alleged shortcomings in their democratic system. If Yurova will ruin our relations with our neighbors in this way for five years, it might be a good time to think about strengthening our borders again.
Insulting the Hungarian people
The Vice-President of the European Commission has no right to allow himself such statements,” the pro-government newspaper Magyar Nemzet resents:
“Ever since the country was governed by the [coalition] of Fidesz-PPCD, Hungary has been repeatedly criticized and tested by European bureaucrats, and the Hungarian government has in most cases tried to establish cooperation with the European Commission. In cases where [criticism] was fair, the government changed — or revoked — the laws. But the Yurova case is a completely different story. Jurova plunged into such depths that members of the commission should not care about at all. And now she blames not only our government but Hungary as a whole, making it as deceitful and stupid as many local leftist politicians and imaginary experts had been doing before her for many years. According to Yurova, Hungarians are sheep, unable even to form their own opinion.
It’s just her job…
Lidove Noviny is sympathetic to the position of the Czech European Commissioner:
“It is possible to treat this case one way or another. For example, to think that Jurova is over the top. Or to think that she just repeated stereotypical statements about Hungary behind someone. Or, you may think that Hungary reacted too harshly. But the fact remains: Yurova accepted the mandate of one of the European Commission members. By doing so, she is not fundamentally defending the interests of the Czech Republic or the Visegrad Four, but those of the European Commission. Accordingly, one cannot expect her to remain silent about Hungary or Poland — whatever her statements about these countries may be.
Every day we feel how sick Hungary is
This Wednesday, the European Commission will present a fresh report on the situation with the rule of law in its member states. Against this background, Orban clearly intends to divert attention from fair criticism,” writes Nepszava:
“The head of the Hungarian government believes that Jurova insulted Hungarian citizens — she just called Hungary a sick democracy! … Unfortunately, not a day goes by when we are once again convinced of the correctness of this statement. Apparently, the time chosen for this outburst of rage is not accidental. The Prime Minister’s letter [with protest] was received just before Brussels published its report on the rule of law in the EU, in which the European Commission is likely to leave no stone unturned in its description of the state of democracy in Hungary. That is why the government intends to expose Yurova in this light so that there will be no questions about the inaccuracy of her comments, and all this before the publication of the document.