Wednesday, September 28

The European Parliament concludes that Hungary can no longer be considered a full democracy

Hungary can no longer be considered a full democracy. This is the conclusion of the European Parliament, which this Thursday approved a resolution condemning the Viktor Orbán regime, only with the vote against the extreme right groups, such as Vox, Fratelli d’Italia and Lega, these last two allies electoral of the popular –Forza Italia– in the Italian elections on September 25 that could put Giorgia Meloni at the head of the Italian Government.

The vote comes just days before the European Commission on Sunday recommends cutting Orban’s funding due to concerns about widespread corruption in Hungary, the first country subject to an investigation under the new conditionality mechanism, under which he cannot European money to go to a country that does not comply with the rule of law.

In the resolution, the European Parliament condemns the “deliberate and systemic efforts of the Hungarian government” to undermine common European values. In addition, he demands results in the procedure of the so-called Article 7, that is, the process opened against Hungary and voted in the European Parliament in September 2018 – at that time half of the Spanish PP voted with Orbán – due to the authoritarian drift of the country.

The lack of decisive action on the part of the EU has contributed, according to MEPs, to the emergence of a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”, that is, a constitutional system in which elections are held, but which does not respect the rules and democratic standards.

The report approved on Thursday, with 433 votes in favor, 123 against – basically from the extreme right – and 28 abstentions, uses as a basis the text adopted by the House in 2018 which involved the activation of the procedure under Article 7 to evaluate the evolution in the 12 areas of greatest concern to MEPs.

Thus, it demonstrates how the values ​​collected in the Article 2 of the Treatyincluding democracy and fundamental rights, have worsened in the last four years, due to the “deliberate and systemic efforts of the Hungarian government”, and the situation has been aggravated by the inaction of the EU.

Furthermore, the European Parliament regrets the inability of the Council of the EU – the governments – to stop the democratic backsliding. MEPs emphasize that the Article 7(1) it does not require unanimity among the Member States to identify a clear risk of serious violation of common values, nor does it entail issuing recommendations or deadlines.

The MEPs also point out that continuing to delay the adoption of additional steps in Article 7 to protect EU values ​​in Hungary would be a violation of the principle of the rule of law by the Council itself.

The plenary, therefore, urges the European Commission to use all the tools at its disposal and, in particular, the regulation on budget conditionalitysomething that the Community Executive has already launched and that may end with the withdrawal of European funds due to the country’s authoritarian and homophobic drift.

The European Parliament, likewise, asks the European Commission: failing to approve Hungary’s recovery plan until the country fully complies with all European Semester recommendations and implements all relevant judgments of the EU Court of Justice and the Court of Human Rights; exclude from funding cohesion programs that contribute to misuse of EU funds or breaches of the rule of law; and apply the Common Provisions Regulation and the Financial Regulation more rigorously to prevent misuse of Community funds for political reasons.

Four years after the report that launched the Article 7 procedure, MEPs remain concerned about numerous issues relating to democracy and fundamental rights in Hungary.

The main areas of concern include the functioning of the constitutional and electoral systems, the independence of the judiciary, corruption and conflicts of interest, and freedom of expression, including media pluralism.

Academic freedom, freedom of religion and association, the right to equal treatment, including the rights of LGBTIQ people, the rights of minorities, as well as those of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, are also problem areas.




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