European Parliament slams Hungary as an ′electoral autocracy′ | News | DW | 15.09.2022

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European Parliament slams Hungary as an 'electoral autocracy'

The European Parliament has called on the European Commission to take urgent action, saying that Hungary could "no longer be considered a democracy."

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stood in front of EU flags

The EU has long cried foul over Hungary's democratic backsliding under Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) voted on Thursday to condemn Hungary's slide into authoritarianism, brandishing the state under right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orban as an "electoral autocracy."

A press release from the European Parliament stated that "Hungary can no longer be considered a full democracy."

MEPs voted overwhelmingly in favor of the report — 433 votes for versus 123 against — that said a lack of response from the EU has allowed Hungary to adopt a "hybrid regime of electoral autocracy."

The motion is not binding, but it called on the EU to take decisive steps to reverse the "deliberate and systematic efforts of the Hungarian government" to undermine democracy and fundamental rights.

What are the European lawmakers' demands?

In the face of an onslaught against what the EU considers its fundamental values, MEPs called on the Commission to use all tools at its disposal.

The report urged the Commission to withhold funds for Hungary's recovery plans until it has complied with EU recommendations and implemented judgments from the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) and the European Court of Justice (ECJ).

It insisted on the exclusion of Hungary from funding programs where EU money has been misused or directed to breaches of the rule of law.

It also called for a stricter application of regulations on the misuse of EU funds for political ends.

Democracies on the edge: What's behind the shift towards autocracy?

What are MEPs concerned about in Hungary?

The report voted on by the MEPs includes several key areas where actions by the Hungarian state have provoked serious concern.

These include the functioning of Hungary's constitutional and electoral system, independence of the judiciary, corruption and restriction of the media.

"Academic freedom, freedom of religion, freedom of association, the right to equal treatment, including LGBTIQ rights, the rights of minorities, as well as those of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees, are also problematic," the press release stated.

"The conclusions of this report are clear and irrevocable: Hungary is not a democracy," Greens MEP Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield was quoted as saying. "It was more urgent than ever for the Parliament to take this stance, considering the alarming rate at which rule of law is backsliding in Hungary."

"This should be a wake-up call for the [European] Council and Commission," she added.

"This is the first time an EU institution has plainly said that a member state is not a full-blown democracy. Now, the member states must act, "Daniela Schwarzer, Executive Director for Europe and Eurasia at the Open Society Foundations said.

"It is incumbent on member states to officially endorse the position of the European Parliament when the evidence is clear. They cannot go on simply 'hearing' the Hungarian government's views and giving it further opportunities for obfuscation," she added.


Edited by: Farah Bahgat

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