Article originally published on European parliament website, 24 March 2020 – accessible here

The Civil Liberties Committee highlights that any extraordinary measure adopted by the Hungarian government in response to the pandemic must respect the EU’s founding values.

Following developments in Hungary, where the government is trying to expand its executive authority in order to rule by decree while the country remains in a “state of danger”, Juan Fernando López Aguilar (S&D, ES), made the following statement, in his capacity as Chair of the Civil Liberties Committee.

“On behalf of the Civil Liberties Committee, I would like to express our concern about the Hungarian National Assembly’s intention to vote on extending the ‘state of danger’ in Hungary and the related changes to the Criminal Code. We are aware that member states have a responsibility to take protective measures in these difficult times, but these measures should always ensure that fundamental rights, rule of law and democratic principles are protected.

In this context, we would call on the Commission to assess if the proposed bill complies with the values enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on European Union and to remind member states of their responsibility to respect and protect these common values”.

Background

The Hungarian government tabled a bill on Monday 23 March, which would authorise the executive to rule by decree if adopted. Although the Hungarian legislature did not approve the proposal, the governing Fidesz-KDNP alliance can still push the bill through Parliament next Tuesday, leveraging its two-thirds majority