Democracy and fundamental rights are under threat in Hungary, say most MEPs, who urge the Commission and the Council to protect Hungarian citizens and rule of law.
In a debate on Thursdaya with EC Vice-President Vera Jourová and the Croatian Presidency of the EU, a majority of speakers underlined that the emergency measures taken by the Hungarian Government to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, including the declaration of an unlimited state of emergency, are not in line with EU rules and warned of the increasing risk to democracy.
Several MEPs called on the European Commission to finish scrutinising the legal changes and open infringement procedures. They specifically asked for payments to Hungary to be stopped, in the framework of the new financial perspectives and the recovery plan, unless rule of law is respected. They also criticised the passive attitude of the Council and insisted it moves on the Article 7 procedure initiated by the Parliament.
Some MEPs defended the decisions taken by a democratically elected Parliament in Hungary and compared the exceptional measures adopted in the country with those taken by other EU member states, such as France or Spain.
In its resolution of April 17, Parliament already stated that the decisions in Hungary to prolong the state of emergency indefinitely, to authorise the government to rule by decree, and to weaken the Parliament’s oversight, are “totally incompatible with European values”.
MEPs highlighted that all COVID-related measures “must be in line with the rule of law, strictly proportionate […], clearly related to the ongoing health crisis, limited in time and subjected to regular scrutiny.”