The European Commission launches procedures for violating sovereignty law in Hungary

The European Commission launches procedures for violating sovereignty law in Hungary

This article was originally published on English

On Wednesday, the European Commission began a procedure in violation of the so-called “sovereignty law” recently adopted by the Hungarian Parliament.

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This is another battle between the European Commission and Hungary. The EU Foundation launches an infringement procedure against Hungarian sovereignty law.

This legislationThe law, launched by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's ruling party and approved by Parliament in December, allows the state to investigate people and organizations suspected of undermining the country's sovereignty, with possible convictions of up to three years in prison.

The leader, who often describes his critics as agents paid by Western entities, says the law is necessary to protect Hungary from political interference.

Implementation of the text depends on the newly established Office for the Defense of Sovereignty. This institution may collect information about groups of individuals who receive foreign funds and who are perceived to influence political debate and electoral processes in the country. The Hungarian secret services are required to assist the Authority.

The provisions of the law, in particular its broad mandate and lack of judicial oversight, raise serious concerns among civil society and independent journalists who fear they will be targeted if they are found to be overly critical against Viktor Orbán. They will then be unable to appeal the decisions taken by the Office for the Defense of Sovereignty.

The European Commission echoes these considerations and said on Wednesday that the law violates a wide range of fundamental values, such as the principle of democracy, the right to privacy, protection of personal data, freedom of expression, information and association, and freedom of expression. The right to a fair trial, among others.

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Hungary has two months to respond to the Commission's objections. The formal notification letter is the first step in the infringement procedure, which can lead to legal action and daily fines before the Court of Justice of the European Union.

The United States had already done so He criticized the lawDenouncing “the harsh tools that can be used to intimidate and punish those whose views the ruling party does not share.”

This new clash between the Commission and Budapest comes after only a few days Summit where Viktor Orbán lifted his veto To allow the adoption of a special fund worth 50 billion euros for Ukraine, after intense pressure from its counterparts and the European Parliament.

As part of the negotiations leading up to the summit, the Hungarian Prime Minister demanded the immediate release of some €21 billion in recovery and cohesion funds withheld by the European Commission due to continuing shortcomings in the EU’s protection of the rule of law in Hungary. However, the foundation insists that no funds will be released until the country respects a series of “milestones” and conditions to address the situation.

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