The European Parliament today adopted a resolution on Hungary stating that the country can no longer be considered a full democracy. The EP condemns the “targeted and persistent efforts of the Hungarian government” to undermine European values and demands results in the process under Article 7 of the EU Treaty. The report was adopted with 433 votes “for”, 123 “against” and 28 abstentions.
The lack of decisive action by the EU has contributed to the emergence of a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”, i.e. a constitutional system in which elections are called, but democratic norms and standards are not respected, said the MEPs, quoted in a statement from the institution.
The EP initiated the procedure under Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Hungary in 2018. MEPs report on the development of 12 monitored areas in the country. The new text states that the values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaty, including democracy and fundamental rights in the country, have further deteriorated since 2018, with the situation exacerbated by EU inaction.
The EP deplores the inability of the EU Council to make significant progress in combating the retreat from democracy. MEPs emphasize that Article 7, paragraph 1 of the EU Treaty does not require unanimity between EU countries to establish a clear threat of a serious violation of European values, nor to make specific recommendations and deadlines. They point out that any further delay in acting under the rules of Article 7 of the EU Treaty to protect EU values in Hungary would be tantamount to a breach of the rule of law by the Council of the EU itself.
The MEPs urge the European Commission to make full use of all the possibilities at its disposal, especially the rules for binding with conditions for compliance with the principles of the rule of law when providing the EU budget. While EU values are particularly threatened by Russia’s war against Ukraine and its actions against the EU, the EP calls on the EC not to approve Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan until the country fully implements all relevant recommendations under the European Semester and all relevant Court rulings of the EU and the European Court of Human Rights; exclude from funding cohesion programs that contribute to misuse of EU funds or violations of the rule of law; and enforce the rules more strictly to tackle any misuse of EU funds for political reasons.
The EP expresses concern about the functioning of the constitutional and electoral system, the independence of the judiciary, corruption and conflicts of interest and freedom of expression, including media pluralism. MEPs are also concerned about academic freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of association, the right to equal treatment, including LGBTI+ rights, the rights of minorities and migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.