New laws in Hungary: some outstanding issues but ‘special examination’ should end

Two years after concerns were raised about new laws in Hungary, PACE’s Political Affairs Committee has welcomed the measures taken so far by the Hungarian authorities and urged continued dialogue with the Council of Europe in order to resolve outstanding issues – but proposed to end the Assembly’s “special examination” of these matters.

In a draft resolution, based on a report by Robert Walter (United Kingdom, EC), the committee evaluated a series of new laws in Hungary, including on the status of churches, elections, the Constitutional Court, the judiciary and the media, to see whether they were in line with Council of Europe standards.

The committee said it “welcomes the measures taken by the Hungarian authorities and the on-going cooperation with the Secretary General of the Council of Europe and encourages the Hungarian authorities to continue further the open and constructive dialogue with the different Council of Europe interlocutors and other international organisations”.

The Assembly should ask the Hungarian authorities “to endeavour to solve the outstanding issues”, but special examination of these matters by the Parliamentary Assembly should now be concluded, the parliamentarians said.

The committee also welcomed the withdrawal of proposals concerning the death penalty, underlining that the prohibition on capital punishment was one of the Council of Europe’s “core values”.

The report is due to be debated by the plenary Assembly at its forthcoming summer session (22-26 June).