“While the European Union has equipped itself with all possible instruments to guarantee the respect of human rights and fundamental freedoms, a number of Member States seem to simply run amok.” said Guy Verhofstadt, ALDE President in the European Parliament during today’s debate with the President of the Commission, José Manuel Barroso, raising Liberals and Democrats concerns over the proposals for revising Hungary’s Constitution.

“The European Union is more than a common market, it is a political project to ensure that democracy, the rule of law and human rights are respected, protected, promoted and strengthened. Otherwise there would not be much difference between us and China! The Hungarian government’s new proposed Constitution contains provisions – such as voting rights for minors, bans on abortions and same-sex marriages, irredentism, curbing the independence of the Constitutional Court – which are contrary to all European constitutional principles enshrined in art.2 TEU”.

“Just as accession countries are obliged to modify their constitutions and national laws in line with the ‘acquis communautaire’ so we should remain vigilant where Member States, new or old, stray away from this acquis. I count on the Commission to stick by the commitment of President Barroso in Strasbourg today to actively examine the proposed changes to the Hungarian Constitution and indicate whether they are in conformity with the body of EU law,” he concluded

INTVELD_90.pngSophie In’t Veld (D66, Netherlands), ALDE vice-chair of the civil liberties committee added: “This situation shows the urgent need for legal instruments to enforce human rights and we call on the Commission to come forward with legislative proposals, like in the area of media freedom, whilst Member States must adopt and implement the antidiscrimination package that is already on the table.”

Note to editors:
A number of complaints and concerns have been raised by Hungarian NGOs and opposition movements about both the procedure and the substance of the proposals, such as irredentist references to “the ideal of a unified Hungarian nation” in relation to Hungarians living abroad; curbing of the powers of the Constitutional Court; marriage and family are defined to exclude single-parent families, cohabiting and same-sex couples; discrimination is prohibited “selectively” as it does not cover sexual orientation; the life of a foetus is “protected from the time of conception”; religious references are made to Christianity and its role in preserving nationhood; and the possibility to give additional votes to parents of minors.