Today, the European Parliament holds a debate on a report showing that human rights have deteriorated in Hungary since the EU Parliament triggered Article 7 procedures against the country for serious breaches of EU values. Responding to the debate, Eve Geddie, Director of Amnesty International’s EU office, said:
“The alarm bell rung by the European Parliament echoes Amnesty International’s longstanding concerns about the human rights crisis in Hungary. In the four years since Article 7 was triggered, Hungary’s human rights record has only continued to deteriorate. Authorities have attacked the independence of the judiciary, refused to ratify a treaty protecting women from violence, passed homophobic and transphobic laws, cracked down on refugees and asylum seekers and suppressed freedom of expression and association. All of this must immediately be reversed.
“The European Parliament’s report, which is up for adoption tomorrow, kicks the door wide open for the Council to stop years of foot-dragging over Hungary’s relentless attacks on human rights and the rule of law.
“The EU must continue to use all political, legal and financial means available to stop the human rights backsliding in Hungary. The EU and its member states must not fall for cosmetic measures introduced in a rush to secure EU funds. Real change is needed to guarantee true respect for human rights and the rule of law, in line with the founding values of the EU. “
On 12 September 2018, the European Parliament triggered Article 7, a mechanism to hold accountable governments whose actions threaten the European Union’s rule of law, human rights, and democratic principles.
The European Parliament’s report, expected to be adopted tomorrow, provides a concerning update on the human rights situation in Hungary and clear the way for the Council to take effective next steps. Such steps may include adopting specific, mandatory recommendations for the Hungarian authorities to implement by a set deadline and, absent any concrete steps toward compliance, work toward the required four-fifth vote to determine that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of the values protected by the EU treaty. Such a determination would open up the possibility to move towards sanctions such as the removal of voting rights, if the Council were to unanimously determine there is indeed a serious and persistent breach of these values.