Recent developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration in the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights which is testing the EU’s ability to defend its founding values.
Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union provides a mechanism to enforce EU values. Under Article 7(1), the Council may determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of EU values by a Member State and is intended to prevent an actual breach by addressing specific recommendations to the Member State in question. This can be triggered by one third of Member States, by Parliament or by the Commission. The Council has to adopt a decision by a four-fifths majority after having received Parliament's consent which also requires a two-thirds majority of the votes cast and an absolute majority of MEPs.