Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Saturday that Budapest would defend Poland as the European Union threatens Warsaw with sanctions over the overhaul of the Supreme Court.
Orban has locked horns with the EU for years over what Brussels sees as disrespect for democratic freedoms and Orban sees as EU overreach.
“This is unfair, unjust, unprincipled, a typical representation of double standards. This is what Brussels is doing with the Polish today. That’s why an honourable person cannot accept something like that. And in these kinds of cases one should always stand by the side of the attacked. So I send my word to Mr. Schulz, we stand with Poland in solidarity,” he said.
On Saturday, senators of the right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) party approved a bill that would end all the terms of Supreme Court justices except those hand-picked by the justice minister.
Tens of thousands of protesters had gathered in Warsaw and cities across Poland for candle-lit vigils, chanting “Free Courts” and demanding that President Andrzej Duda, an ally of the PiS, veto the bill. More protests were planned during the day on Saturday. The government has said the changes will ensure state institutions serve all Poles, not just the “elites”, and were needed to make judges accountable.