It should come as no surprise to Vera Jourová that she is being treated harshly by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. She has appeared in the European Commission for many years as a defender of the rule of law. It is therefore inevitable that the Czech woman regularly assumes the limitations of the judiciary or the lack of freedom of the press in Eastern European countries.
Recently, in an interview with “Spiegel”, Jourová accused the Hungarian government leader of building a “sick democracy” in view of the lack of media freedom. Orbán’s subsequent demand to resign Jourová coincided with the presentation of the rule of law reports in all 27 EU countries. The vice-head of the European Commission is responsible for this new type of constitutional TÜV.
The new instrument, which scrutinizes all European member states, aims to refute the accusation from Budapest and Warsaw that Brussels’s criticism of the state of democracy in individual countries always has an anti-Eastern European list.
However, the fact that the date for the presentation of the report in Brussels has been postponed several times shows that the Commission is quite nervous given the foreseeable objections of Poland and Hungary.
Jourova also stood out as a Facebook critic
Jourová knows the situation well in the EU Member States that have been members of the community since 2004. The 56-year-old grew up behind the Iron Curtain in the small town of Trebíc in what was then Czechoslovakia. Two decades after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she joined the ANO party, which classifies itself on the liberal spectrum, but is also often described as populist.
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The Czech government leader and multi-billionaire Andrej Babis owed his political rise to the ANO. Babis does not find it difficult to distribute decisively against the EU. At the same time, it regularly causes people in Brussels to sit up and notice that Babis’s former Agrofert group is profiting extensively from EU subsidies.
In addition to her commitment to the rule of law, Jourova also stood out as a Facebook critic on the committee. In March 2019 she called on civilians to leave the platform. “I wish others would follow my lead,” said the Czech at the time, referring to the increasing number of hateful slogans on stage.
The Czech wants to fight fake news
At the time, Jourova was the EU Justice Commissioner. After her rise as Deputy Head of the Commission in Brussels a year ago, she remains responsible for fake news.
In this position, she remains responsible for the rule of law and also for the fight against fake news. At the same time, their task is more than ever to counter disinformation and the increasing spread of fake news in the EU, especially in times of corona.
The Commission wants to make more than 25 million euros available in the coming years to counter the growing disinformation in times of corona.