During its September session Parliament condemned the “deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government” to undermine European values and demands results in the Article 7 process. The lack of decisive EU action has contributed to the emergence of a “hybrid regime of electoral autocracy”, i.e. a constitutional system in which elections occur, but respect for democratic norms and standards is absent, MEPs say.
The adopted report builds on the one with which Parliament triggered the Article 7 procedure in 2018, to provide an overview of developments in Parliament’s 12 areas of concern. It thereby demonstrates how the values enshrined in Article 2 of the EU Treaties, including democracy and fundamental rights in the country have further deteriorated since 2018, through the “deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government”, and exacerbated by EU inaction.
The EC triggered the procedure under the Rule of law mechanism against Hungary, warning the country it can lose the EU funds.
In September 2018, the European Parliament asked EU member states to determine, in accordance with Treaty Article 7, whether Hungary is at risk of breaching the EU´s founding values. According to MEPs, the situation has deteriorated further in the years since.
In its 2021 Rule of Law report, the European Commission highlighted the worsening situation in the country. It noted, among other issues, that the risk to media pluralism, and the pressure faced by civil society organisations critical of the government. For the Commission, the transparency and quality of the Hungarian legislative process also remains a source of concern. A delegation of MEPs visited Hungary between 29 September and 1 October 2021 to assess the respect for press and academic freedom, the rights of minorities and the wider rule of law context.