The EC vice president used to believe in the principle that everyone is entitled to the presumption of innocence. Especially during her term as deputy secretary of state for regional development, when she was arrested in Prague in 2006 for allegedly accepting 2 million Czech crowns (about 70,000 euros) in bribes from EU funding earmarked for the renovation of the Budisov Castle. As the prosecutor’s office did not find enough evidence against her other than a secret audio recording, the lawyer-turned-politician decided to sue the Czech state. She initially claimed 8.5 million Czech crowns (about 300 thousand euros), citing her lost income during her detention, and she ended up receiving 3.5 million crowns (120 thousand euros).
Ms Jourova spent 33 days in pre-trial detention and was acquitted by the Czech prosecution in the summer of 2008 on the grounds that insufficient evidence had been found to support charges against her. The pre-trial detention took a heavy toll on Ms Jourova. Although the charges were dropped, her husband left her, so she must be fully aware of how easily someone’s life can be ruined by accusations.
All this, however, proved insufficient to prevent Ms Jourova, as EC vice-president and the “guardian of the values laid down in the Treaty”, from passing a verdict without a trial, on Hungary, the democratic choices of the Hungarian people and the Hungarian premier, like she did in a recent interview with the German Der Spiegel magazine.
In a public statement, Ms Jourova described Hungary as a “sick democracy” and she insulted EU citizens of Hungarian nationality by saying that “they are not in a position to form an independent opinion”. These statements are not only a direct political attack against the democratically elected government of Hungary, but also a humiliation to the Hungarian people.
Ms Jourova joined the European Commission in 2014 where she served as EU Commissioner for Justice, Consumers and Gender Equality in Jean-Claude Juncker’s cabinet. In December last year, she was appointed Commissioner for European Values and Transparency and Vice-President of the European Commission led by Ursula von der Leyen.