On the 14th November, De Balie spoke to the Hungarian minister for justice about the rule of law in Hungary and the country’s relationship with the EU.
The European Commission and the European Parliament are concerned about controversial changes made by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (Fidesz party). Orban’s far-reaching changes in the media sector and controversial university law have led to concerns about press and academic freedoms in Hungary. Varga enters into conversation with member of the European Parliament for the Dutch D66 party Sophie in ‘t Veld and assistant professor in history and European Studies Ferenc Laczó.
In this discussion, the Hungarian justice minister, Judit Varga, joins the MEP, Sophie in ‘t Veld, and the historian, Ferenc Laczó, to talk to De Balie about the state of the rule of law in Hungary and the country’s position in the EU. Are European values debatable? And, can Hungary and the European Union reconcile their divergent political positions?
Sophie in 't Veld - MEP, D66
Sophie in ‘t Veld has been a member of the European Parliament for D66 (Democrats 66) since 2004 and is the leader of her party within the liberal ALDE group in the European Parliament.
Sophie was originally educated as a historian and has been working in Brussels since 1994, first as an employee of an MEP, from 1996, as a secretary of the European Liberal Democratic group to the Committee of the Regions and, then, as an MEP.
Ferenc Laczó - Assistant Professor of European History, Maastricht University
Ferenc Laczó is an assistant professor of history at the University of Maastricht, where he specialises in political and intellectual history, modern and contemporary European history with a special focus on Central and Eastern Europe.
He is also the academic secretary of Maastricht University's Politics and Culture in Europe research group and has studied and worked in Basel, Berlin, Bielefeld, Budapest, Jena, Utrecht, Vienna and Washington, .DC..
Judit Varga - Hungarian Justice Minister
Judit Varga is a lawyer and has been the Hungarian minister of justice since summer 2019.
Judit Varga started her career working in a law firm in Budapest. Later, she was employed at the district court of Pest, before becoming a political advisor for a number of Hungarian members of the European Parliament. In 2018, she was made the Hungarian secretary of state for relationships with the European Union and, in 2019, she became the Hungarian minister of justice, taking the portfolio for relationships with the European Union with her to her new ministry.
Yoeri Albrecht - Director, De Balie
Yoeri Albrecht is the director of the De Balie cultural centre in Amsterdam and a co-founder of the European Press Prize.
Albrecht studied politics, history and law at Leiden, Florence and Oxford universities before becoming a journalist and working as a political editor of Vrij Nederland for 11 years. He then took on a number of media, board and advisory roles before becoming the director of De Balie in 2010.
Yoeri Albrecht is also, amongst other roles, the chairman of the board at the media house Vereniging Veronica (owner of the ANP national news agency and NRC-Handelsblad), chairman of the editorial board of the Dutch Amnesty International magazine, Wordt Vervolgd, co-founder and board member of the European Press Prize, chairman of the board for the Open Society Initiative for Europe and a council member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.
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