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The Hungarian government must comply with the rule of law

On 31 May, MEPs will hold a plenary debate in the European Parliament on a resolution on the latest developments in Hungary regarding breaches of the rule of law and fundamental rights, which has resulted to EU funds being withheld. The debate takes place while there is an ongoing discussion on whether Hungary is fit to fulfill its duties as the Presidency of the Council of the European Union during the second semester of 2024.  

Despite having committed itself voluntarily to the EU values upon accession, the rule of law has continuously deteriorated in Hungary. Judicial independence, Hungary’s amendments to the Directive (EU) 2019/1937 on the protection of persons who report breaches of Union law posing risks to LGBTIQ+ rights, the national framework for social inclusion and poverty reduction, academic freedom and the right to asylum are expected to be raised during the debate in the European Parliament.  The adoption of a judicial reform package by the Hungarian National Assembly without public consultation, as well as a reported number of 1993 irregularities in relation to the European Structural and Investment Funds, are addressed in the resolution, too.  

Hungary’s insufficient remedial action led to the Council’s decision to suspend €6.3 billion in EU support in December 2022. The hearing held on the respect for the EU values during the General Affairs Council meeting on 30 May showed that Hungary did not implement any of the recommended safeguards for elections and that the independence of both media and judiciaries is still compromised. The European Union is founded on the principles of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, as clearly enshrined in Article 2 of the Treaty on the European Union (TEU). No government is above the law. Compliance with the rule of law is essential to protecting and fostering democracy in the European Union. 

Key texts 

European Parliament: Resolution on the breaches of the Rule of Law and fundamental rights in Hungary and frozen EU funds 

European Commission: Rule of law conditionality regulation 

Upcoming events 

6 June 2023: European Movement International’s Democracy Alive: The Brussels Summit 

21-22 June: Stockholm Symposium on Democracy and the Rule of Law 

27 June 2023: General Affairs Council (GAC) 

European Movement International’s Position 

The European Movement International has flagged issues related to the breaches of the Rule of Law and fundamental rights in Hungary in our policy position on the Rule of Law.  

We believe that the Commission, the European Parliament and the Council must continue to address developments on rule of law breaches in Hungary. No EU funds shall be granted to governments that undermine European values and do not respect the rule of law. EU support must remain reserved until the Hungarian government takes adequate and appropriate corrective measures against the continuous breaches to the rule of law. 

Weaker checks and balances risk deteriorating the rule of law and citizens’ fundamental rights. Hungary must ensure that its judiciary is independent and that the judicial systems apply EU law effectively. For this reason, we call for the full application of the rule of law conditionality to the Multiannual Financial Framework and retroactively to any violations of the rule of law or of judicial independence, which have occurred since its introduction on 1 January 2021. 

Additionally, the EU needs an independent and adequately equipped authority to monitor compliance with the EU’s fundamental values and the respect for the rule of law in all EU Member States. 



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