In Hungary, the erosion of the constitutional state and the elevation of corruption to the status of a public policy tool are happening simultaneously, in close connection with each other, mostly hidden behind some alleged public interest objective. In the last two years, this alleged public interest objective has been to control the pandemic. K-Monitor and the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union have been documenting this process since the start of the pandemics. The summary and final report of this work covers the period from March 2020 to March 2022. In our report, we present the most significant changes in the last two years that have increased opacity and hampered the fight against corruption, budgetary irregularities, the outsourcing of public assets and measures that disproportionately affect opposition municipalities.
The devastating war in Ukraine is one of the key challenges of this time in Europe, and especially in Hungary that shares a border with the attacked country. Russia has been using state financed propaganda to disseminate disinformation worldwide. Despite the restrictive measures put in place by the European Union targeting Russia Today and Sputnik, Russian war propaganda has been continuously disseminated in Hungary. The Hungarian Civil Liberties Union and Political Capital filed a joint complaint to the European Commission.
The State Audit Office (SAO) is again in action: this year the Democratic Coalition (DK), Movement for a Better Hungary (Jobbik), Momentum and Parbeszed were put on the stand. It is dangerous and illegal what the SAO does. Prior to the EP Elections, the SAO again used procedures on opposition parties, during which the general public is not informed about the background of the cases and which do not provide legal remedies against the sanctions.
The government has submitted an amendment proposal that would exclude protests from the most important, symbolic public squares of Budapest during national holidays. Furthermore, it would empower local governments to remove further areas a no-protest zone.
The Government filed on 26 June a proposal that concerns the protection of private life according to its title. The proposal is odd, since it rarely has any new normative content. Therefore, it is questionable, what the legislator intends with it.
After the third two-thirds mandate won by the governing party Fidesz, the Hungarian government adopted amendments to various laws, including the Fundmental Law. The amendements – the government argues – intend to tackle illegal migration, while the real intention is making operations overly burdensome for those who don’t share the government’s opinion on migration. Besides the changes to the Fundamental Law and the Penal Code under the name “Stop Soros” (analysed here), the government also adopted a new specal tax, under the name immigration special tax. It is nothing but a severe restriction of the freedom of speech: those that are supporting immigration in a professional way (doing so in an organized framework, as a calling, while using money from supporters) can, from now on, only do so if paying a special, 25% tax. The new “Stop Soros” provision to the Penal Code threatens human rights’ defenders and lobbyists with prison, while this regulation creates an existential threat for organizations active on immigation. The reality is that the immigration special tax puts limitations on the freedom of speech and on the work of NGOs. The new legislation was adopted by the Parliament, signed by the President of Hungary and came into force on the 25th of August.
The seven-year-old Fundamental Law of Hungary has been amended for the seventh time. Any amendment of the Fundamental Law should theoretically be based on a broad political consensus because a constitution does not reflect the majority’s will, but instead provides a legal framework for a government gaining majority via any democratic election to implement their political commitments. An ideal constitution provides for the possibility to govern according to different ideologies and defines the clear limits of governance that shall not be transgressed.
On 13 February 2018, the Hungarian government introduced in Parliament the ‘Stop Soros’ package, a legislative proposal of three bills that target civil society organisations working on migration.
● Bill T/1976 on the licensing of organisations supporting migration;
● Bill T/19775 on the immigration financing duty;
● Bill T/19774 on the immigration restraint order.
On 13 June 2017, the Hungarian National Assembly (Parliament) adopted the Act LXXVI of 2017 on the Transparency of Organisations Supported from Abroad (hereinafter: the Law). It obliges associations and foundations that receives at least 7.2 million HUF annually from foreign source to register with the court as an organization receiving foreign funding, to annually report about their foreign funding, and to indicate the label “organization receiving foreign funding” on their website and publications. The list of foreign funded NGOs is also published on a government website.
With the use of the military inside the country and the reclassification of illegal border crossing from an offence to a crime, the government would put in force totalitarian practices before the change of the regime. Therefore, TASZ calls upon the parliamentarians to reject a law which ignores the basic requirements of constitutionality in light of the human rights crisis produced by the high number of refugees.
The Hungarian government has filled the Constitutional Court with loyal judges to create a judicial rubber stamp for government interests, according to a study by Hungarian NGOs of recent Constitutional Court decisions.