Autocratic and undemocratic tendencies have no place in Europe

By Jana Bacheva

EFAy strongly condemns the latest autocratic and undemocratic tendencies displayed by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, leader of the right wing party Fidesz (Vice-President of the European People’s Party).
At the same time we support the latest law proceedings to be launched by the European Commission against the Hungarian Government in accusation of having impeded the independence of the judiciary system, the Central Bank and the data protection authority by adopting controversial laws establishing more Government control over these institutions. Moreover, we call the EU Member States and the European Parliament to take action against these tendencies in order to ensure that Hungary’s new Constitution is brought into line with EU human rights standards. In addition, the European People’s Party should urgently clarify its views on the breaches of the fundamental EU principles committed by its member party, Fidesz.
Looking at the broader picture, these laws come as a continuation of a tendency that raised many concerns among European politicians and human rights activists with the 2010 scandalous press laws, deemed threatening to media independence and pluralism. It is quite disappointing to see how the person who was once a prominent young democrat who opposed the former centralized, one-party communist regime has now turned into someone who stubbornly attempts to re-introduce more centralization and control.
Democracy in Hungary is going through a difficult period especially in terms of relations between the government and the civil society as well as the government and the opposition, freedom of religion and other fundamental liberties that are presently in serious danger.
If Mr. Orban refuses to implement the required necessary changes, the matter should be  transferred to the European Court of Justice, which has the power to penalize Hungary. According to Art.7 of the Treaty of the EU, Member States that seriously breach the democratic values of the Union can be sanctioned by the European Council by being stripped from their voting rights, as well as other rights deriving from the application of the Treaties.

Thus, the case of Hungary should serve as a warning to all other European countries finding themselves on the edge of undermining the union’s basic principles and values, that such non-democratic policies and behaviours have no place in Europe and they will not be tolerated.