Orbán seems confused on the Rule of Law
On the 27th of July, during an event held in Băile Tușnad (Romania), Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has delivered a speech in which he questioned Finland’s role in judging Hungary’s adherence to the Rule of Law. This statement is based on some features of Finland’s institutional system as reported by Orbán. In particular, the Hungarian Prime Minister criticizes Finland because in that country «there is no constitutional court», «the defence of the Constitution is delegated to a special parliamentary committee set up for that purpose» and «judges are appointed by the President of the Republic, on the recommendation of the Minister of Justice». According to Orbán, all these features would impair Finland’s credibility in assessing the situation of the Rule of Law in Hungary. But what is the Rule of Law? Is Orbán’s description of Finland’s legal system accurate? Are the elements mentioned by Orbán fundamental to the Rule of Law? Thanks to the TrulyMedia platform, Pagella Politica and Faktabaari – two fact-checking organizations that collaborate together via SOMA (the Observatory that the EU has enabled to fight disinformation) - have been able to work together to give an answer to all of these queries. What is the Rule of Law? Before starting to fact-check Orbán’s statement let’s take a look at what the Rule of Law is. According to the European Commission, the Rule of Law it’s the idea that all subjects (public and private) of a country are bound to the respect of the law, under the control of independent courts irrespective of political majorities. It represents one of the core values that international organizations such as the EU and the Council of Europe protect and enforce. Even if experts haven’t come up with a shared theoretical definition, both of the organizations mentioned above have identified five necessary principles that law systems need to comply with to uphold the Rule of Law. According to the Council of Europe and the EU these are: