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AUTHOR Tamas Molnar

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AUTHOR Lilla Nóra Kiss

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AUTHOR Anna Unger

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AUTHOR Nóra Chronowski

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31 October 2022

Hungary’s Shambolic Anticorruption Proposals

The Article Useless and Maybe Unconstitutional: Hungary’s Proposed Judicial Review of the Prosecutorial Decisions by Kim Lane Scheppele, Petra Bárd and Gábor Mészáros gives a detailed account of the proposed legislation on amending the Hungarian Criminal Procedure Code. The conclusions of the article are correct and most of the criticism is accurate. Yet the article misses some real weaknesses of the Hungarian government’s proposal. This article aims to point out these weaknesses from the viewpoint of a practicing Hungarian criminal lawyer.

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12 July 2022

Hungary, Poland and the “Community of Fate”

In February 2022, the ECJ delivered a ruling in cases brought by Hungary and Poland against the European Parliament and Council. Not only did the ruling uphold the regime of conditionality for the protection of the EU budget; it also entered into the domain of European constitutional identity. Instead of undermining the European commitment to the rule of law, Poland and Hungary may have inadvertently consolidated the place of rule of law in the heart of EU identity.

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08 April 2022

Hungary’s Lesson for Europe

There seems to be a disturbing discordance in the European Commission’s response to the Hungarian elections. On the one hand, the Commission triggers the rule of law mechanism. On the other, it refuses to comment on the fairness of the Hungarian elections. This contradicts the fact that, just like the rule of law, democracy is also part of  Europe’s constitutional identity. But what does democracy require from Member States? Hungary’s elections make clear that the value of democracy, as given expression in Article 10 TEU, should be justiciable.

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17 March 2016

Hungary’s Struggle: In a Permanent State of Exception

The Hungarian government has called for a referendum on EU relocation quota plan and declared a “nationwide migrant crisis”. The justification given by the government for these measures was the “massive immigration” which “endangers the jobs of Hungarians and redraws Hungary’s cultural and religious identity”. The argument went that, due to a “migrant crisis” the Hungarian government needed a greater room for maneuvre, not limited by constitutional constraints, in order to manage the crisis. This argument presupposes that, as a result of the migrant crisis, Hungary has ended up in a state of exception, when constitutional guarantees have to be limited or suspended; essential powers have to be concentrated in the hands of the prime minister, until the crisis is overcome.

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11 March 2021

Hungary and the Pandemic: A Pretext for Expanding Power

A year ago, the first lockdowns were introduced in Europe. Since then, European governments have been busy introducing COVID-19 containment measures, including social distancing rules and mask mandates. For two months, they have been vaccinating the people. Ostensibly, the EU countries have taken similar steps. This piece provides a sketch of how the Hungarian government has handled the pandemic.

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06 April 2020

Hungary’s Orbánistan: A Complete Arsenal of Emergency Powers

On 23 March 1933, an act was adopted in Nazi Germany in response to the “crisis” of the Reichstag fire to enable Hitler to issue decrees independently of the Reichstag and the presidency. Article 48 of the constitution of the Weimar Republic made this act possible. Eighty-seven years later, on 23 March 2020, the so-called 'Enabling Act' was put before the Hungarian Parliament. This was drafted under emergency constitutional provisions in Articles 48-54.

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13 March 2013

Hungary: Taking Action

The Hungarian Parliament has enacted a package of constitutional amendments […]

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08 December 2022

The Hungary Files

The battle over the rule of law in Hungary is coming to a head. Two separate but related dossiers landed on the EU Council’s agenda on Tuesday, 6 December: firstly, whether to suspend 7.5 billion Euros in funds under the EU’s cohesion policy under the new rule of law conditionality mechanism; and secondly, whether to approve the Hungarian national recovery and resilience plan. Both files are currently stuck in a political limbo as the member states cannot agree on a common course of action, complicated by the fact that Orbán is holding his veto over Brussel’s head on an aid package for Ukraine and a global corporate tax, both of which require unanimity in the Council. Now the question is: Who will move first, Orbán or the other member states?

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05 December 2022

Putting an End to Minority Voter Disenfranchising in Hungary

On 11 November, the European Court of Human Rights published its decision in a case initiated eight years ago, which found that the Hungarian parliamentary electoral system's regulations on the representation of national minorities in parliament violates the right to free elections (Article 3 of the 1st Protocol to the ECHR, Bakirdzi and E.C. v. Hungary). The plaintiffs claimed that the Electoral Act of 2011 was unlawful on three points: the secrecy of the vote, the real election and the preferential quota for minority representation. In its judgment, the Court found in favour of the applicants on all three points and ordered the Hungarian State to pay damages, putting an end to a decade-long violation of voting right. The following analysis is not primarily intended to provide a detailed description of the judgment itself, but to review the unlawful situation and the necessary actions resulting from the judgment.

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18 November 2022
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Trusting Hungary with Billions of Euros

It’s crunch time for the Conditionality Regulation at the European Commission. In its College meeting on 22 November, the Commission is scheduled to discuss whether Hungary has actually made the 17 changes it proposed in order to avoid cuts to its Cohesion Funds. What the Commission chooses to do will depend on whether it believes that Hungary’s anti-corruption program will in fact allow Hungary to be entrusted with billions of Euros without having a sizeable fraction of those Euros pocketed by cronies. We believe that Hungary’s reforms are designed to be ineffective and will not even begin to halt the massive corruption that is the hallmark of Hungary’s kleptocracy.

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14 November 2022
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Are Hungary’s EU Funds Being Cut (or Not)?

The news about whether Hungary will receive EU funds (or not) these days is confusing. One day, we hear that the European Commission is proposing to lower the boom on Hungary by cutting a large chunk of its Cohesion Funds under the general EU budget. The next day, we hear that the Commission is nearing an agreement to approve Hungary’s Recovery Plan in order to greenlight the release of funds. Is the Commission using or surrendering its financial leverage to require that the Hungarian government honor the rule of law? Will the Hungarian government negotiate its way out of funding cuts by really loosening its autocratic grip on power, or would any reform be illusory?

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07 November 2022
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