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Sovereignty protection office rejects ‘accusations’ of Venice Commission

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The sovereignty protection office on Thursday rejected the Venice Commission’s report on Hungary’s sovereignty protection law, calling the report “biased, riddled with errors and politically motivated”.

The advisory body to the Council of Europe visited Hungary on February 15-16. In a statement on the findings issued on March 18, it said that the legal basis of the office as the protector of constitutional identity was questionable.

While the delegation met the sovereignty protection office’s head, “it is not on public record what other players or factors had a bearing on the Commission’s stance, besides Hungarian state organisations and opposition politicians,” the office said in a statement.

The Venice Commission’s report “was drafted to be used by various organisations of the European Union, for instance in infringement procedures against Hungary, and as a basis for political attacks against the country,” the office said.

The report’s “gravest factual error” was that it said the office had the right to conduct investigations, the sovereignty protection office said. The Commission also voiced concerns about what they said was a lack of legal remedy against the sovereignty protection office, it said. However, as the office was not an authority, such remedy was unnecessary, it said.

The report is biased as it questions legal practices such as the procedure of presidential election in Hungary, against which it had raised no concerns earlier, the sovereignty protection office’s statement said. “The report also shows that the Commission is debating Hungary’s right to freely set up its institutions.”

“In calling for scrapping the sovereignty protection law, the Venice Commission is clearly seeking to strip Hungary of the tools to protect its national autonomy and to stand up against foreign attempts of influence,” the statement said.

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