European Parliament flexes its muscle on Hungary’s breaches on democracy and rule of law

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In an unprecedented move, the European Parliament’s resolution of May 17 triggering theprocedure laid out in Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) opens the door to accountability and, potentially, sanctions for Hungary’s repeated breaches of the EU’s founding principles. The resolution sends a clear message to Hungary that a line has been crossed and the government must be held accountable when the rule of law and human rights are undermined.

It is the first time that the EP decides to launch the procedure, and a victory for FIDH which has documented the situation in Hungary over the past few years, advocating for concrete action to be taken by the European institutions and meeting with key EU actors. The FIDH report "Hungary: Democracy under Threat, Six Years of Attacks against the Rule of Law " was published in November 2016 following a fact-finding mission, and in April 2017, FIDH carried out another visit to Hungary, notably to gather information about recent developments regarding the National Higher Education Act and the Act ’on the Transparency of Organisations Receiving Foreign Funds’ (NGO law). Most recently, FIDH, jointly with other NGOs, published an open letter to all Members of the European Parliament calling on the EP to adopt such a resolution and trigger Article 7 TEU in response to a systematic deterioration of the rule of law and human rights in Hungary under Fidesz’s rule.

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