How Hungary’s government is eroding democracy
The European Union (EU) is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. These values are common to all Member States and are an essential part of the EU.
The European Parliament has voted to determine that Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU’s founding values. This is a serious concern and the European Commission is now recommending the suspension of some of Hungary’s cohesion funds from the EU budget.
It is vital that the rule of law is upheld in all Member States of the EU. This means that all citizens must be treated equally before the law and have access to a fair and independent judiciary.
1. What is the European Commission recommending with regards to Hungary’s use of cohesion funds?
The European Parliament has labeled Hungary a hybrid “electoral autocracy” due to the nation’s recent crackdown on civil society and the press. The European Commission is now recommending that Hungary’s use of cohesion funds be conditioned on the country’s adherence to the rule of law and fundamental values.
Hungary has been one of the biggest recipients of European Union cohesion funds, which are designed to reduce socio-economic disparities across the EU. However, the country has been criticized for using the funds to further entrench its autocratic rule.
The European Parliament’s report on Hungary says that the country has “exhibited a clear pattern of backsliding” on democracy and the rule of law since 2014.
2. How much is Hungary’s share of the EU budget for 2021-27 worth?
The European Parliament has called Hungary a hybrid ‘electoral autocracy’ due to the country’s recent changes to its electoral laws. Hungary’s share of the EU budget for 2021-27 is worth €17.5 billion. These changes to the country’s electoral laws have been criticized by the European Parliament as they could potentially allow the ruling party to stay in power indefinitely. The changes to the laws include the introduction of a new ‘national consultation’ which would allow the ruling party to solicit opinions from the public on key issues, as well as the possibility of extending the terms of office for members of the European Parliament and the Hungarian Parliament.
3. What did the European Parliament conclude about Hungary in a symbolic vote?
The European Parliament has called Hungary a hybrid ‘electoral autocracy’ in a symbolic vote. This is because the Parliament believes that Hungary’s government is democratically elected, but does not respect the rule of law or civil liberties. The Parliament has also concluded that Hungary’s government is controlled by a small group of people, who use their power to benefit themselves rather than the people of Hungary.
The European Union is taking steps to protect democracy in its member nations, and the new financial punishment is one way that it is doing so. The move is in response to what the EU says is the undermining of democracy in Poland and Hungary. The European Union executive has recommended suspending 7.5 billion euros in funding for Hungary over corruption. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban dismissed the European Parliament’s resolution as “a joke.