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Hungary: Lawmakers back anti-EU Parliament bill

July 19, 2022

Hungary's far-right ruling party has proposed weakening the European Parliament and the EU's political integration. The passed resolution said democracy in the bloc was at a "dead end."

Hungarian Prime Minister at an EU summit in Brussels
Prime Minister Orban is a vocal opponent of the EUImage: Nicolas Landemard/Le Pictorium/IMAGO

The lawmakers from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's far-right Fidesz party voted on Tuesday to pass a resolution calling for a redesign of the European Parliament and the removal of the goal of an "ever closer union" in the EU's treaties.

The Hungarian proposal would see the national parliaments of member states given the option of vetoing any legislation at the EU level, as well as allowing them to initiate legislative procedures.

It would also abolish the election of lawmakers in the European Parliament by EU citizens and instead see them appointed by the heads of state.

"European democracy must be led out of the dead end into which the European Parliament has steered it,'' the resolution reads. "The European Union must change, because it is unprepared for the challenges of our times."

Hungary in need of EU financial support

The EU is currently withholding recovery funds and credit from Hungary as the nationalist government fails to abide by EU standards on the rule of law and anti-corruption measures.

Hungary's floundering economy and skyrocketing inflation paired with a weak currency against the euro have pushed Budapest to seek a more conciliatory approach with Brussels in recent weeks in the hopes of getting hold of the much-needed financial support.

Tuesday's resolution, however, will likely only further antagonize the EU officials who could make a decision on the recovery funds.

Hungarians feel record-high inflation

Orban has frequently called Hungary an "illiberal democracy." His party recently won another election, but critics say that the chances for other parties have become impossible amid a crackdown on independent media.

Orban claims to be protecting European Christian values against the threat posed by the supposed cosmopolitan elite in Brussels. He has also not shied away from using antisemitic tropes, directed at Jewish Hungarian Holocaust survivor, financier and philanthropist George Soros, in his election campaigns.

The Hungarian proposal also called for "Christian roots and culture" to be codified as the basis of EU integration.

ab/nm (AP, dpa)