On 12 December 2022, the European Council adopted Hungary’s Recovery and Resilience Plan after the European Commission finally approved it. Compared to the original plan, the adopted version includes a new set of benchmarks on governance and public administration, totaling 38 measures with 111 milestones and targets. 27 of these milestones are ‘super milestones’; if not met, no payment under the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Facility (RRF) will be allowed. Four of the 27 super milestones concern the Hungarian judiciary.
One benchmark requires the Hungarian government to remove all obstacles to the preliminary reference procedure set out in Article 267 TFEU. This is Super Milestone 215.
As assessed by the Hungarian Helsinki Committee, Amnesty International Hungary, and the Eötvös Károly Institute, the judicial reform (Act X of 2023) adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 3 May 2023 is not fully compliant with Super Milestone 215 and only partially executes Judgment C-564/19 of the Court of Justice of the European Union (CJEU).
The aim of Super Milestone 215 is to fully restore the essential right of Hungarian judges to make preliminary references to the CJEU.
The total restoration of this right is an important step toward strengthening the independence of the Hungarian judiciary. When a Hungarian judge is not free to make use of this procedure because their request to the CJEU may be declared as unlawful by a higher domestic court, or because disciplinary proceedings may be brought against them, the application of EU law is impeded, and the independence of the judiciary is deeply wounded.
The three civil society organisations have prepared a Q&A explaining in detail:
- what changes were expected under Super Milestone 215
- how Super Milestone 215 is rooted in Judgment C-564/19 of the CJEU
- how Super Milestone 215 was implemented by Hungary
- what further steps must be taken to fully comply with Super Milestone 215 and execute Judgment C-564/19 of the CJEU
The Q&A on the implementation of Super Milestone 215 is available here.