Hungary's Constitution remains a thorn in side of EU Presidency

ALDE reiterated its serious concerns over the new fundamental law in Hungary, during today’s debate at the European Parliament. ALDE also expressed worries in relation to the Council and Commission statements. The Council declared that it is not empowered to deal with national constitutions; while the Commission claimed it would only have competence to analyse the compliance of the new Hungarian constitution with EU law when it is implemented in January 2012.

ALDE coordinator in the Civil Liberties Committee, Renate Weber (PNL, Romania) said: “Hungarian civil society and the Venice Commission have expressed serious concerns regarding the duration and the transparency of the process which was rushed through the Parliament after only one month of public consultations on a very controversial text for a new Constitution.”

“We are worried about government eroding civil liberties and democratic control, as well as about legislation turning a blind eye to diversity. We are also worried about democracy when a ruling party passes laws that cement its power well beyond the end of its term, thus limiting the relevance of future elections. Not least, we are worried about the spill over in other Member States.”

“European institutions must not be shy in such times. We need to strive to make all European citizens feel reassured that our values are at the core of our legislation and are there to stay.” she conclude

“It is untenable to say that the constitution of a Member State is a matter only for itself. The treaties make it crystal clear not only that the EU and Member States share certain values, but that the Commission has the duty to police respect for these values.” said ALDE MEP Sarah Ludford (Liberal Democrat, UK)

“I think it is very hypocritical for those of the same political family as the ruling Fidesz party to accuse critics of the Hungarian constitution as being politically inspired. Many of its provisions are very partisan, such as the omission of protection of gay people from discrimination.”

“Declaring the previous constitution invalid creates great legal uncertainty. It may even mean that the law whereby Hungary became an EU member are also invalid – something of great concern to the whole the EU!.”

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