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LYMEC backs European Parliament’s Joint Resolution on Hungary

On Thursday, 18 January 2024, the European Parliament approved a landmark joint resolution calling on the European Council and Member States to take action to investigate whether Hungary has committed a severe and persistent breach of the EU's fundamental values. The resolution passed overwhelmingly, with 345 in favour, 104 against and 29 MEPs abstaining.

This groundbreaking development follows MEP Petri Sarvamaa's (EPP - Finland) bold decision to trigger this procedure on Tuesday, 9 January 2024, a move which in the days following garnered the signatures of over 120 MEPs, thus forcing the vote.

Citing Articles 7.2 and 7.3 of the Treaty of the European Union (the provision on the existence of breach), the letter and subsequent joint resolution call on the EU "to take action… to protect the European way of life and democracy" and move to have the Council and Commission consider the possibility of removing Hungary's vote on the European Council if a breach is found.

After years of proven rule of law concerns in Hungary, LYMEC welcomes this latest development and show of accountability from the European Parliament. The truth is that Hungary’s Fidesz-controlled government has for far too long abused its Council veto to stall progress on meaningful reform. This is especially true in the context of the EU's response to Russia's war against Ukraine, where - under the leadership of Putin-friendly Viktor Orban - Hungary has repeatedly slowed the efforts of the Union to arm and secure Ukraine.

In contrast to the Commission, which recently decided to forgo its commitment to the treaties by controversially unfreezing €10.2 billion worth of EU cohesion funds to lift Hungary's veto on the decision to commence formal accession negotiations with Ukraine and Moldova, this move by the Parliament is a welcome step in re-establishing the supremacy of the EU’s treaty’s.

While the measure faces an uphill battle in the Council and the Commission, LYMEC is pleased to see this push-back from legislators, including a passage of the resolution which states that if the Commission fails to respond promptly, the European Parliament will move to sue them before the European Court of Justice.

With 2024 posing a serious threat to democracies worldwide, including much of Europe, LYMEC believes it is essential that democratic leaders unite and do everything in their power to uphold the rule of law against a rising tide of autocratic, nationalist and populist movements. Advancing with this investigation into whether Hungary has breached the treaty values is one of the numerous ways the EU can safeguard its principles.

Once again, this latest development serves as yet another reminder as to why - as LYMEC has advocated for several decades - the EU treaties should be reformed to allow for the current Council to move away from the veto and towards the more democratic Qualified Voting Majority (QMV) system. 

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