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HUNGARY: New state of danger declared, government gains excessive powers again

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Update (09/06/2022): On 8 June 2022, the governing majority in the Hungarian Parliament adopted Act VI of 2022 on Eliminating the Consequences in Hungary of an Armed Conflict and Humanitarian Disaster in a Neighbouring Country (the “Fourth Authorization Act”), which entered into force the same day. The Fourth Authorization Act completes the Hungarian Government’s efforts to keep its excessive regulatory powers acquired first with a view to the pandemic by using the war in Ukraine as a pretext, and to be able to rule by decree without any parliamentary oversight.

As a result of the Fourth Authorization Act, the legislative process loses the last remnants of inclusiveness and transparency, even the last formal and symbolic safeguards in terms of parliamentary oversight are removed, and – once again – all power is placed in the hands of the Government.

More details about the background and contents of the Fourth Authorization Act could be found in the latest Hungarian Helsinki Committee information note here.


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Information note by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, shared on 25/05/2022

On 24th May 2022, the governing majority in the Hungarian Parliament adopted the 10th Amendment to the Fundamental Law of Hungary, allowing the Government to use the war in Ukraine as a pretext to keep its excessive regulatory powers acquired first with a view to the pandemic.

The 10th Amendment (proposed by the Government) authorises the Government to declare a “state of danger” in the case of an “armed conflict, war or humanitarian disaster in a neighbouring country”, while accompanying legislation provides the Government with yet another carte blanche mandate to override Acts of Parliament via emergency decrees in such a state of danger. Emergency decrees may also suspend or restrict the exercise of fundamental rights (save certain rights) beyond the extent permissible in ordinary circumstances.

The Government made use of the possibility to declare this new type of state of danger instantly, and, as of 25th May, it declared a state of danger due to the “armed conflict and humanitarian disaster in the territory of Ukraine, and in order to eliminate the consequences of these in Hungary” (at the same time, it terminated the state of danger declared due to the pandemic as of 1 June).

In order to explain in more detail the context, content and consequences of the amendments and what the new kind of state of danger entails, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee prepared a short information note when the above laws were still draft Bills, which is available here: