Hungary postpones controversial judicial reform to stay in EPP

The Hungarian government has announced that it will postpone the introduction of the so-called administrative courts system for an undecided period, widely seen as an attempt to reinstate the ruling Fidesz party’s membership in the European People’s Party (EPP).

Speaking at his weekly press conference, the head of the prime minister’s office Gergely Gulyás said that the government’s decision had been made “in the centre of heated European and international debates”.

While Mr Gulyás explained that the decision had no connection with Fidesz’s suspended membership of the EPP, the largest political bloc in the EU parliament, he did say that Fidesz would not join the newly formed nationalist group of Italian deputy PM Matteo Salvini, leading to speculation that the government had toned down its plans to avoid a further backlash with the EPP and the next European Commission.

The Hungarian government’s plan to introduce a new court system has been strongly criticised internationally, fearing that it would endanger the rule of law, as government-appointed judges would decide in politically sensitive cases.