POSTS BY Renáta Uitz

The Return of the Sovereign: A Look at the Rule of Law in Hungary – and in Europe

The Hungarian law makers have enacted a law that will make the operation of foreign-funded universities all but impossible, and aim to do the same to foreign-funded NGOs. These measures fail to meet even the most basic features of how legal rules are envisioned in a rule of law framework. The carefully crafted new Hungarian laws use the cloak of national security to stab the rule of law, as understood in Europe, in the heart.

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National Constitutional Identity in the European Constitutional Project: A Recipe for Exposing Cover Ups and Masquerades

On November 8, 2016 the Hungarian Parliament did not adopt the Seventh Amendment of the Fundamental Law seeking to protect Hungarian constitutional identity in the face of European imposition. The Seventh Amendment was meant to cover up the minor scratch on the Government’s pride caused by lack of popular support for its relentless fight against the EU. Although the Amendment did not pass, supporters of European constitutional projects cannot afford to sit back and relax.

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Poland, Hungary and Europe: Pre-Article 7 Hopes and Concerns

The European Commission’s opening of a rule of law dialogue with Poland in the new pre-Article 7 format developed last year is an important test of European constitutionalism both on the EU and on the Member State level. The mechanism is meant to address systemic violations of the rule of law in several steps, in the format of a structured dialogue. The new procedure does not preclude or prevent the launching of an infringement procedure by the Commission. The probe into Poland’s measures against the Constitutional Tribunal and its new media regulation is expected to test the viability of an EU constitutional enforcement mechanism against a Member State.

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Expelling dissent: On account of the ECtHR judgment in Baka v Hungary

The European courts have been rather active in finding Hungary in violation of European constitutional and human rights minimum standards in April and in May 2014. In the most recent judgment in this line of cases, Baka v Hungary, the ECtHR found that the last chief justice of the Hungarian Supreme Court, András Baka, had been removed from office through constitution-making before the end of his term due to his criticism of the government’s judicial reforms. The Baka case is symptomatic of a fundamental shortcoming of Hungary’s new constitutional reality: the suppression and expulsion of dissent from the domestic political sphere. Sadly, the timing of the ECtHR’s judgment is perfect, as it comes at a time when the government is taking intense legal steps and other measures silence dissenting voices even further.

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Expelling dissent: On account of the ECtHR judgment in Baka v Hungary

The European courts have been rather active in finding Hungary in violation of European constitutional and human rights minimum standards in April and in May 2014. In the most recent judgment in this line of cases, Baka v Hungary, the ECtHR found that the last chief justice of the Hungarian Supreme Court, András Baka, had been removed from office through constitution-making before the end of his term due to his criticism of the government’s judicial reforms. The Baka case is symptomatic of a fundamental shortcoming of Hungary’s new constitutional reality: the suppression and expulsion of dissent from the domestic political sphere. Sadly, the timing of the ECtHR’s judgment is perfect, as it comes at a time when the government is taking intense legal steps and other measures silence dissenting voices even further.

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Collective Constitutional Learning in Europe: European Courts Talk to Hungary (Again)

Both the CJEU and the ECtHR have handed down decisions against Hungary, on the same day and only two days after the Hungarian national elections in which the party of PM Viktor Orbán, FIDESz, won an overwhelming majority. While the CJEU judgment on the data protection ombudsman is spectacularly technical, the ECtHR judgment on the 2011 church law is much more comprehensive. Both judgments bring sobering and timely reminders to a freshly reelected Hungarian government on the shortcomings of Hungary’s reinvented constitutional framework. At the same time, the two judgments can be read as a timely reality check on some key aspects of the Commission’s newly envisioned EU Framework for strengthening the Rule of Law. Both the CJEU and the ECtHR have handed down decisions against Hungary, on the same day and only two days after the Hungarian national elections in which the party of PM Viktor Orbán, FIDESz, won an overwhelming majority. While the CJEU judgment on the data protection ombudsman is spectacularly technical, the ECtHR judgment on the 2011 church law is much more comprehensive. Both judgments bring sobering and timely reminders to a freshly reelected Hungarian government on the shortcomings of Hungary’s reinvented constitutional framework. At the same time, the two judgments can be read as a timely reality check on some key aspects of the Commission’s newly envisioned EU Framework for strengthening the Rule of Law.

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Hungarian Ban Of Totalitarian Symbols: The Constitutional Court Speaks Up Again

Although the Hungarian government promised not to strike back after the Constitutional Court’s finding the constitutional amendment on the voters’ registry unconstitutional, more recently it became clear that the Court will face a more comprehensive response than an occasional constitutional amendment overturning its recent decisions. The constitutional amendment tabled by the government in early February […]

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Hungarian Ban Of Totalitarian Symbols: The Constitutional Court Speaks Up Again

Although the Hungarian government promised not to strike back after the Constitutional Court’s finding the constitutional amendment on the voters’ registry unconstitutional, more recently it became clear that the Court will face a more comprehensive response than an occasional constitutional amendment overturning its recent decisions. The constitutional amendment tabled by the government in early February […]

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The Return of the Hungarian Constitutional Court

Hungary’s 2011 constitutional reform also brought along the reform of the election system as a whole. The new constitution (Fundamental Law) extended the right to vote to all Hungarian citizens, irrespective of their country of residency (Article XXIII), and corresponding legal rules were enacted to make the acquisition of citizenship easier for Hungarians living abroad. […]

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Rescue Package for Fundamental Rights: Comments by RENATA UITZ

In order to full appreciate the Heidelberg proposal, I believe it is important to read it not only as a reaction to the developments of the last year and a half in Hungary, but as a response to a deeper problem of the European Union, of which the Hungarian case is only a grave symptom. […]

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