Constitutional situation in Hungary:
- extracts from Council and Commission statements
EPRef93315 // European Parliament , Strasbourg, EP Plenary session, Hemicycle
Lieu: European Parliament , Strasbourg
End production: 17/04/2013 First transmission: 17/04/2013
the Council and the Commission presented to the EP their case on the constitutional situation in Hungary following the recent adoption of a set of controversial amendments to Hungary's Constitution by the Hungarian Parliament. The last amendment, the fourth one since the entry into force of the new Constitution in January 2012, was passed by the Hungarian Parliament on 11 March and affects areas such as the jurisdiction of the Constitutional Court, the independence of the judiciary, the recognition of religious groups and the legal status of homeless people.
The civil liberties committee is examining the fundamental rights situation in Hungary, as requested by the plenary in February 2012. MEP Rui Tavares (Greens/EFA, PT), is drafting a resolution for the committee assessing the legislative changes in Hungary and their compatibility with fundamental rights and values enshrined in the European treaties and the Charter of Fundamental Rights.
Only the original language version is authentic and it prevails in the event of its differing from the translated versions.
||Exterior view of the European Parliament, Strasbourg
||SOUNDBITE (English) Lucinda CREIGHTON, European Council presidency, "This is the matter in the first instance for the Commission which is charged with ensuring the application of the Treaties and is responsible for promoting the general interest of the Union."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Lucinda CREIGHTON, European Council presidency, "The quality, tolerance, respect for human rights and the rule of law are the values on which our Union is founded. I wish to mention that the Irish presidency in consultation with the Commission suggests that a mechanism to better support protection of fundamental rights and the rule f law in Member states might make a useful contribution."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING, European Commission, "Since 2011 the Commission has played an active role as guardian of the Treaties. It has assessed legislation to see if it in compliance with EU law, it has introduced infringement procedures, some were launched, others are pending, some had been brought to judgement by the Court of Justice where the commission's interpretation of the EU law has been confirmed ad we now expect the Hungarian authorities to fully comply with the judgement of the Court. "
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING , European Commission, "On the first analysis of our legal service , ¨President Barroso wrote to Prime Minister Orban on the 12th of April expressing serious concerns of the Commission about the conformity of the amendments with EU law."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING , European Commission, "A clause introduced by article 17 of the 4th amendment to the Hungarian fundamental law ; on the European Court of Justice judgements entailing payment obligations. The implementation of this provision would mean that Hungary would introduced a tax on Hungarian citizens should Hungary be fined for breach of EU law. The question is , is this really sensible to make citizens pay for a tax whenever the state would fail to be in compliance with EU law?"
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING , European Commission, "The broad powers given by Article 14 of the 4th amendment enabling the President of the National Office for the Judiciary to transfer cases from one Court to another. The Council of Europe and the Commission have already expressed concerns about this issue last year, but now there is a change which empowers an administrative office to transfer cases form one court to another if applied to a case concerning EU law. This could raise issue of incompatibility with the EU obligation to provide remedies sufficient to ensure effective legal protection and to the right to a fair trial."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING , European Commission, " The restriction introduced by article 5.1 of the 4th amendment to the publication of political advertisement.."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING, European Commission, "...According to this provision, political advertisement could only be published on Media public services. It should be noted that the audience share of private media whether the restriction would apply represents roughly 80% in Hungary."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING, European Commission, "The second case concerns the violation of the independence of the data protection authority and the termination of the mandate of the former Commission of date protection. This case is still pending in the Court of Justice. And last month the Commission reiterated its concerns to Hungary stressing that the independence of the data protection supervisory authority is a key requirement of EU law. The Commission regrets that in spite of the case pending in front of the Court Hungary has now even gone a step further by incorporating the premature termination at constitutional level through the 4th amendment."
||SOUNDBITE (English) Viviane REDING, European Commission, "We will continue for the legislation to be made compatible with EU law and for the rule of law to be respected. The Commission has urged and continues ton urge the Hungarian authorities to act in a responsible manner and in the best interest of Hungary and of the EU as a whole."
||Cutaways (3 shots)