The European Parliament has officially recognized the threat of retreat from Hungary the fundamental principles of the European Union. This is unprecedented in EU history, the move has dealt a blow to the reputation of the country and threatens sanctions Budapest
(Photo: Thierry Roge / Zuma / TASS)
Why the EU is in conflict with Hungary
Thursday, September 13, Poland and Lithuania stated that they will not support the decision to deprive Hungary’s voting rights in the Council of the European Union. The Ministers of foreign Affairs of the two countries Jacek Kapitovics and Linus Linkevicius said the next day after 448 of 751 member of the European Parliament endorsed the report’s findings on the deteriorating political situation in Hungary. By MEP Judith Sargentini of the European green party warned Parliament and the EU Council on the existence of a clear risk of a breach by the Hungarian government led by Viktor Orban of the fundamental values of the European Union. We are talking about the pressure of the official Budapest on non-governmental organizations (NGOs), academics and the media, and also about infringement of the rights of minorities and migrants.
Sargentini, cited several examples of the actions of Budapest, questioning its solidarity with the EU principles. She referred to the April report of the Committee on the human rights of the UN, which drew attention to the fact that Hungary is working to help migrants NGOs as an international conspiracy against the country. The Hungarian authorities have also prepared a draft law toughening the requirements to the work of NGOs to prevent to help refugees and minorities. Hungary is preparing to impose a tax of 25% on foreign donations to NGOs, he added, Sargentini. Experts believe such measures are unnecessary. They also expressed concerns about preparing the Hungarian law providing for criminal penalties against persons “promoting illegal migration”, said the MEP.
Speaking about the situation in Hungary, Sargentini mentioned the reduction of the powers of local constitutional court and drew attention to problems with press freedom in the country, which in April 2018 was announced by the representative on freedom of the media of the Organization for security and cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The OSCE is particularly troubled by the case when the conservative magazine Figyelő has published the names of 2 thousand people who allegedly plan to overthrow the government. The list included journalists.
Sargentini listed several international agreements that Hungary can disrupt their actions. First, that article 2 of the Lisbon Treaty of the EU. It States that the EU “was founded on values such as respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality before the law and respect for human rights, including minority rights”. Secondly, the actions of the Orban government are contrary to the list of fundamental rights of the EU and the UN adopted the universal Declaration of human rights. On this basis, Sargentini and supported the conclusions of the parliamentarians called for initiating proceedings against Budapest on the basis of paragraph 1 of article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty.
If the position of the Parliament will listen to the leaders of the EU, Hungary can be sanctioned until the withdrawal of its representatives voting in the EU Council, which includes leaders of States and governments of the Union countries.
The results of the vote in the European Parliament has damaged the reputation of Hungary, says associate Professor of European integration at MGIMO Alexander Tevdoy-Burmuli. The situation poses a serious challenge for the EU and calls into question the solidarity within the Union, says the candidate of political Sciences, expert on Central and Eastern Europe Ivan Preobrazhensky: “you Should pay attention that third of the deputies did not support the decision of the majority.”
As the EU struggles with infringers
Two-thirds of the representatives of the European Parliament, one — third of the countries members of the European Union or the European Commission can formally give effect to the procedure of article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty. This will entail the obligation of the EU Council, to discuss the risks of neglecting one of the countries of the Union’s fundamental values. Then the EU Council, after hearing the defense team must decide how justified such charges. If two — thirds of the member countries of the European Union decides that the charges are indeed serious, then the responsible state subject to sanctions, such as losing voting rights in the EU Council. However, the implementation of such measures requires a unanimous decision of all the EU leaders.
In December 2017, the European Commission gave effect to article 7 because of the judicial reforms in Poland, which in Brussels is considered a threat to the rule of law. This was the first time you run the article in the history of the Union.
That said, Budapest
The Hungarian authorities charges in the address deny. As stated by the Minister of foreign Affairs Peter Siyyarto, the report of Sargentini not voted by the required two-thirds of the parliamentarians, because of the lack of deputies. “The European Parliament’s nothing like revenge of Hungary from politicians standing on proimmigrant positions, said Szijjártó (quoted by Reuters). — The decision illegitimate and contrary to the rules, which were approved at the EU level”.
(Photo: Victor Dabkowski / Zuma / TASS)
Earlier in the week, the Hungarian government has published its own report which provided a response to the accusations of Sargentini. “The Hungarian government considers the level of analysis that was presented in the report are superficial, especially given that his data are the basis of the launch of the St. 7”, — stated in the document. In Budapest I think: insights, Sargentini based mostly on data from UN, OSCE and Council of Europe, not on its own analysis of the situation. In many cases, Sargentini did not even bother to bring data from the reports on Hungary, prepared the EU, complained to the Hungarian authorities.
What to expect next
In the future, the question of violations by Hungary of the fundamental values of the Union should be put on the agenda of the EU Council, which currently holds the presidency of Austria. The representative of the Austrian government Peter Loncke stated willingness of Vienna to deal with this issue, but did not name concrete dates of the summit of heads of state and government of the Union, reports EUobserver.
Prior to the adoption of Hungary drastic measures will not come, I am sure Tevdoy-Burmuli. “For the deprivation of the country the right to vote in the EU Council requires the support of all other 27 EU countries, but Poland, in particular, for it is certainly not agree”, — he explained. On Wednesday evening in Warsaw stated that “each country has the sovereign right to implement domestic reforms in the way in which it sees fit” and therefore will not support sanctions against Budapest. About it reports Reuters with reference to the official statement by the Polish foreign Ministry.
At the same time, the EU may use other methods of influence on Hungary, in particular to suspend the implementation of investment, says Tevdoy-Burmuli. “Hungary is still dependent on subsidies of the EU, so Brussels and the EU leaders Germany and France may attempt to influence the Orban that way,” he said. Spring in Brussels began to explore the possibility to tie subsidies from the EU budget by the regulations of the rule of law. To determine the exact criteria of the concept of “rule of law” was entrusted to the European Commissioner for justice Vera Yurova. In 2016 Hungary received from the EU more than €4.5 billion, or 4.19% of the country’s GDP, according to the European Commission.
Ultimately, neither Hungary nor the EU is likely not going to escalate soon, says Tevdoy-Burmuli. “Hungary depend on the EU economically, and Brussels wants to act long-term — they believe he can sit Orban, waiting until the pendulum of the internal policy of Hungary will swing the other way”, — said the analyst.
Viktor Orban first became Prime Minister of Hungary in 1998, but failed to be reelected to this position in 2002. He regained the post of Prime Minister in 2010 and then won the elections in 2014 and 2018.
The Hungarian leader of the opposition to their “illiberal democracy” model of democracy of the Western European Union, which, in his opinion, is eroding the traditional values of Europe, including the Christian religion.
Headed by Orban, Hungary has been able to achieve stable economic growth. In 2015, real GDP growth amounted to 3.4% in 2016 and 2.2%, in 2017 — 3.8%. According to forecasts of the European Commission, by 2018 the growth of Hungarian GDP will amount to 3.7%, in 2019 it will slow down to 3.1%. Unemployment in Hungary in 2017 fell below 5%. However, Budapest is one of the main recipients of EU subsidies.