On 25 January 2011, a motion for a resolution on “Serious
setbacks in the fields of the rule of law and human rights in Hungary”
was tabled which contained a request to open a monitoring procedure
in respect of Hungary. In its draft resolution on this subject,
the Monitoring Committee outlines a number of worrisome developments with
regard to the constitutional reform process in Hungary that raise
serious questions with regard to the authorities’ compliance with
the fundamental principles of democracy, the protection of human
rights and respect for the rule of law.
The erosion of democratic checks and balances as a result
of the new constitutional framework in Hungary raises serious concerns.
This new framework has excessively concentrated powers, increased
discretion and reduced the accountability and legal oversight of
numerous government institutions and regulatory bodies in Hungary.
In addition, the committee expresses serious concerns about the
curtailing of the powers and competences of the Constitutional Court
and the willingness of the authorities to use the two-thirds majority
in the parliament to circumvent Constitutional Court decisions.
This also raises questions with regard to the respect for the principle
of the rule of law.
When acceding to the Council of Europe, Hungary voluntarily
committed itself to upholding the highest possible standards in
relation to the functioning of democratic institutions, the protection
of human rights and respect for the rule of law. Regrettably, the
developments outlined in the report raise serious and sustained
concerns about the extent to which the country is still complying
with these obligations. The Monitoring Committee therefore recommends
opening a monitoring procedure in respect of Hungary until such
time as the concerns mentioned, inter
alia, in the draft resolution and accompanying report,
have been satisfactorily addressed.