Future Czech EU Minister concerned about situation in Hungary

Budapest could lose Prague’s backing in its disputes with the EU over the rule of law. [Creative Commons]

With the change in the Czech government, Budapest could lose Prague’s backing in its disputes with the EU over the rule of law. Czechia’s likely next EU Affairs Minister, former university rector and member of the Czech Senate Mikuláš Bek (EPP) told Deník N in an interview.

“For years, I have been monitoring the situation in Hungary with growing concern. As a former rector, I was concerned about the way how Hungary was positioning itself to the autonomy of universities,” Bek emphasised.

Regarding the Polish Constitutional Court ruling against EU law supremacy, Bek noted that “the situation is really serious”.

Whether Czechia would agree with the possible triggering of a conditional mechanism that could suspend EU funding to Hungary or Poland is still unclear as the future government has no official position yet. However, Bek pointed out that the EU affairs committee in the Czech Senate, where he served as a chair, supported the conditionality mechanism.

Still, finding a consensus among the future coalition parties on the matter will be difficult. While the Pirates (Greens/EFA) are strong opponents of the current Hungarian and Polish governments, the conservative Civic democrats (ODS, ECR) have never spoken up against Viktor Orbán or Mateusz Morawiecki.

Designated Czech PM Petr Fiala (ODS) together with his Polish counterpart will be the only EU Member States leaders from the European Conservative and Reformist political group. “He (Fiala) is aware of that,” Bek noted.

“Although ODS is not in EPP, Petr Fiala has a good chance to have more correct relations with them, even closer than before,” Bek said. According to him, Fiala’s position will not be so different from the EPP’s.

(Aneta Zachová | EURACTIV.cz)

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