POSTS BY Renáta Uitz

Pandemic as Constitutional Moment

Viktor Orbán has finally created for himself a constitutional moment, one where he can use the tools of constitutional democracy to access unrestrained powers to save the nation. This move should be a major concern for friends of constitutional democracy around the globe: in the midst of a global pandemic and a looming global economic crisis, PM Orbán may well be on route to kick start a genuine constitutional pandemic.

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EU Rule of Law Dialogues: Risks – in Context

On January 16, 2020 the European Parliament passed a resolution about the state of the Article 7(1) TEU hearings with Hungary and Poland, noting with concern that “the reports and statements by the Commission and international bodies, such as the UN, OSCE and the Council of Europe, indicate that the situation in both Poland and Hungary has deteriorated since the triggering of Article 7(1) of the TEU”. The resolution is a plea for a structured and more meaningful process in which each EU institution would exercise its existing powers in a meaningful and cooperative manner. The resolution emphasizes that the Article 7(1) TEU preventive process is one of risk assessment and one that may have actual – including budgetary – consequences.

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What Does the Spring Bring for the Rule of Law in Europe?

The Hungarian minister of justice requested the opinion of the Venice Commission on two bills establishing a new administrative court system in November 2018. Yet, before the Venice Commission got to have its say, the twin laws were adopted in December 2018, with the new courts expected to commence their work in January 2020.

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An Advanced Course in Court Packing: Hungary’s New Law on Administrative Courts

The design and establishment of the new Hungarian administrative judiciary provides insight into a new style of engineering illiberal constitutional democracy through dialogue with European constitutional actors. It is not simply the case that Hungary is undertaking judicial reform while the Article 7 TEU process is on its way. Rather, a new phase of judicial reform is passed under European supervision despite the clear threat it presents for the rule of law.

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Europe’s Rule of Law Dialogues: Process With No End in Sight

The cause for concern is not that violators of the rule of law are strategic political actors or that they are disingenuous. Rather, the real problem is the unspoken premise on the basis of which defenders of the rule of law are more and more inclined to accept these developments as the very features of the EU’s rule of law safeguards. This acceptance is based on the flawed premise that so long as a procedure is in place one cannot really do more to defend the rule of law.

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What Being Left Behind by the Rule of Law Feels Like, Part II

By now it must be clear to all that the Hungarian and Polish governments do have a plan that is built on staying within the Union, and changing it from the inside, (ab)using its institutions, resources and weaknesses to their own benefit. Every round and every step where European institutions falter in preventing moves to this effect is an opportunity for the offending member states to pursue their strategies even further.

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What Being Left Behind by the Rule of Law Feels Like, Part I

On October 25, 2018 Central European University (CEU) made international news again. President and Rector Michael Ignatieff announced that CEU is moving to Vienna, unless the Hungarian government makes progress by December 1, 2018 on the international agreement it is meant to sign with the State of New York under Hungarian law. In the last few hours many readers of this blog, friends and colleagues, took to asking how I felt about this. Disappointed, frustrated – but most of all: betrayed.

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Academic Freedom in an Illiberal Democracy: From Rule of Law through Rule by Law to Rule by Men in Hungary

October 11, 2017, was supposed to be the day when the deadline for meeting the requirements of the notorious "Lex CEU" would expire. Two days afterwards, however, the Hungarian government announces to extend the deadline by a year – out of the blue. And that is not the only interesting thing that happened today.

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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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