(Brussels, Paris) FIDH welcomes the adoption yesterday by the European Parliament (EP) of a resolution on the state of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary.
This resolution, the fifth adopted by the Parliament on Hungary in the past four years, echoes serious concerns voiced by other international organisations and civil society regarding constitutional, legal and political developments in the country.
The resolution calls on the European Commission and Council to prove their political will to react to threats to the European Union’s (EU) founding values by a member state. It also urges the Commission to activate the mechanisms at its disposal to address these threats. This includes the one provided for in Article 7 TEU for cases where there is a clear risk that EU values are seriously breached by a member state.
FIDH joins the Parliament in condemning the EU’s continued failure to respond to attacks against the rule of law and human rights in Hungary and in other member states where they could be undermined.
« It is time for the EU to show that attacks against democracy, the rule of law and human rights such as those happening in Hungary are no longer tolerated. Member states must be held to account by the EU"
FIDH urges the European Commission and Council to act promptly upon the EP’s recommendations and show courage in addressing situations that are incompatible with the EU and member states’ obligations under the treaties and with the EU’s founding values.
Article 7 TEU provides for a mechanism to be activated when there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a Member State of the values referred to in Article 2 TEU (Article 7 (1)). Once the existence of a serious and persistent breach is determined, and after inviting the Member State in question to submit its observations (Article 7 (2)), the Council may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the Treaties to the member state in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that Member State in the Council (Article 7 (3)). The Council may always decide to vary or revoke measures taken under paragraph 3 in response to changes in the situation which led to their being imposed (Article 7 (4)).
FIDH encourages the Parliament to show continued commitment to addressing concerns regarding the respect for human rights in member states and to trigger the Article 7 TEU mechanism in cases where these are violated.
It further urges the European Commission and Council to act promptly upon the EP’s recommendations and show courage in addressing situations that are incompatible with the EU and member states’ obligations under the treaties and with the EU’s founding values.
FIDH conducted in October 2015 a mission of investigation to Hungary, and observed a number of rule of law and human rights violations related to, inter alia, the functioning of the constitutional system, the independence of the judiciary and other institutions, media freedom, obstructions to the work of NGOs and blatant violations of the rights of asylum-seekers and refugees. A report will be published based on the mission’s findings in early 2016.