Diverse Europe – a diverse conference: The judiciary is celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hungary’s accession to the EU

dr. Handó Tünde

„Though unified in diversity, European community and integration are strengthened by the mutual trust between the member states, and the respect the European institutions demonstrate for the member states” – said Dr. Tünde Handó, President of the National Office for the Judiciary (NOJ) at the Conference celebrating the 15th anniversary of Hungary’s accession to the European Union, in the ceremonial hall of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences.

The President of the NOJ emphasized: the Hungarian judiciary had already started preparing for the duties arising from the membership, prior to the accession, along with harmonisation of law; and the application of European law has been helped by the European Law Advisors Network since 2013. According to the latest results of the European Justice Scoreboard, 130% of Hungarian judges are receiving continuous education in EU law, which is the second highest number among the 28 member states.

In his opening speech, state secretary Tamás Vargha (Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade) stated that not only Hungary benefitted from the accession, but the EU itself as well. Tamás Vargha emphasized: strengthening of the EU may only be successful by further expansion of the community, and Hungary must help and support the countries still ahead of the accession, by all the knowledge and experience acquired in the past one and a half decade.

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In his opening speech, Dr. András Osztovits, coordinator of the European Law Advisors Network elaborated: the conference gives answers on how Hungary took advantage of the opportunities in the past 15 years. The objective numbers demonstrate that the performance of Hungarian judges is exemplary – for example, the number of references for preliminary rulings by Hungarian judges is exceptionally high. These proceedings may provoke European legislation – he noted.

Hungary’s accession has been a historically determining, positive development – commenced his speech at the conference Endre Juhász. The judge at the Court of Justice of the European Union recalled the events of the 15 years prior to the accession; mentioning former dilemmas, difficulties, and the different ways to approach the expansion. Endre Juhász also presented how expectations were synchronized between the expanding European Union and the accessing Hungary.

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Ildikó Pelczné Gáll, Hungarian member of the European Court of Auditors gave a presentation about the role of the European Court of Auditors in the field of EU challenges. The organization performs its duties according to the law of the functioning of the European Union, their work contributes to the improvement of the financial management of the EU, and of the transparency of the functioning of the union. The European Court of Auditors publishes its reports for the sake of efficiency, their aim is accountability – she declared.

The three-day conference will continue with further presentations concerning the future of the EU, by judges at the General Court of the European Union, secretary of state responsible for the EU relations of the Cabinet Office of the Prime Minister, and secretary of state responsible for developing and coordinating European Union policies.