Archive item

Title: Request for the opening of a monitoring procedure in respect of Hungary: Opinion
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Author:
Publisher: Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE)
Files: Monitoring_Committee_Opinion.pdf
Source: http://www.assembly.coe.int/Communication/amondoc08_2013.pdf
Abstract: On April 25, the Monitoring Committee of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) recommended opening a "monitoring procedure" on Hungary. The Committee adopted this 41-page written opinion, which cites "serious and sustained concerns" about the extent to which Hungary still complies with the fundamental principles of the Council of Europe. The Opinion decries "the erosion of democratic checks and balances" as a result of the new constitution and related cardinal laws, which "were adopted in a hasty and opaque manner that disrespected proper democratic procedure". The constitutional framework "has excessively concentrated powers, increased discretion and reduced accountability and legal oversight of numerous government institutions and regulatory bodies," the Opinion argues, highlighting an accumulation of measures aimed at "establishing political control of most key institutions". The Opinion calls for changes in five major laws, including the media as well as the freedom of religion, elections, the Constitutional Court and the judiciary. Regarding the media laws, the Opinion recommends abolishing registration requirements for print and online media; functionally and legally separating the Media Council from the Media Authority; and ensuring that all decisions of these bodies can be fully appealed. The Opinion's explanatory memorandum reviews the media laws adopted in 2010, summarizing previous analyses by international bodies, and the 2011 law on data protection and freedom of information. Currently, ten of the 47 countries in the Council of Europe are subject to the monitoring procedure, but this would be the first time one was opened against an EU member. First, however, the PACE would have to approve the request, which it is expected to debate in June. In response to the Opinion, the Hungarian government emphasized it was only adopted by the committee by 21 to 20 votes, and that one of the two rapporteurs, Jana Fischerová, deemed it biased and resigned rather than presenting it.
Publication/ adoption date: 2013-04-25
Keywords:
Language: English
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