Hungarian NGOs contribute to European Commission’s first Rule of Law Report
In 2020, the European Commission will issue its first Rule of Law Report, covering all EU Member States. In the preparation of the report, the EC will rely on various sources, including input received from Member States. The EC also launched a stakeholder consultation, so that civil society organisations, academics, or journalists’ federations and judges’ associations could share their views on the state of the rule of law with the EU.
Eight Hungarian civil society organisations – Amnesty International Hungary, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Hungarian Helsinki Committee, K-Monitor, Mertek Media Monitor, Political Capital, Romaversitas Foundation and Transparency International Hungary – cooperated to send responses to the EC consultation questions with regard to Hungary.
The consultation and the NGO contributions covered the following topics:
justice system: independence of the judiciary, the prosecution and the bar, the quality and efficiency of the justice system;
anti-corruption framework: the institutional framework capacity to fight against corruption, the practice of prevention and repressive measures;
media pluralism: media regulatory authorities, transparency of media ownership and government interference, journalists’ protection, access to information;
- other institutional issues related to checks and balances: regime for constitutional review of laws, the process for preparing and enacting laws, independent authorities, the right to vote, the enabling framework for civil society.
The NGOs gave evidence about the devastating impact of the last decade’s governmental and legislative measures on the rule of law and how the adoption of the Authorization Act in March 2020, which introduced excessively wide powers for the Government without a sunset clause, exacerbated the deterioration of rule of law in Hungary.
The European Commission plans to publish its first annual Rule of Law Report in the fall. The eight Hungarian NGOs trust that in its report, the EC will make concrete, enforceable recommendations to EU Member States, including for Hungary, on how to advance rule of law in the EU .
The contributions of the eight Hungarian NGOs are available here in English:
Amnesty International Hungary, Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, Hungarian Helsinki Committee, K-Monitor, Mertek Media Monitor, Political Capital, Romaversitas Foundation, Transparency International Hungary
Advocate General of the CJEU: the Hungarian law that restricts financing of NGOs from abroad is not compatible with EU law
According to the Advocate General’s opinion, it violates the right to the protection of private life and the right to freedom of association that under the Hungarian “Lex NGO” civil society organisations shall register their foreign donors. This is not justified by the general interest objectives relied on by the government of Hungary. Based on the opinion published on 14 January, the Court of Justice of the European Union may reach a judgment that the Lex NGO is in breach of the EU law.
Joint report by Amnesty International Hungary and the Hungarian Helsinki Commitee with regard to the independence of the judiciary in Hungary.
As the General Affairs Council moves forward with the Article 7 proceeding regarding Hungary, NGOs have prepared a reaction paper to refute the most significant false or misleading statements of the updated Information Note published by the Hungarian government.
On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament voted to trigger proceedings against Hungary under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union on account of the systemic threat to the core values of the EU. A year later, the risk of a serious breach of the EU founding values has increased: Hungarian authorities have continued to silence dissent and run intimidation campaigns against individuals and organizations that want to hold the government accountable. This has been achieved through enacting or enforcing laws that curb fundamental freedoms and by further increasing government control over the media and the judiciary.