On 30th March, the Hungarian Parliament voted to pass the so-called "coronavirus law", enabling Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, to indefinitely rule Hungary by decree. Last week, EUJS condemned the proposal of such a bill describing the actions as a "deeply concerning" time for democracy. However, the passing of this law has transitioned Hungary into a dictatorship.
Orban's party, Fidesz, is a right-wing populist party with a history of anti-democratic actions that have sought to undermine the freedom of the press, freedom of the judiciary and the role of civil society - vital institutions within any democracy. It has campaigned on antisemitic and racist platforms. Fidesz is currently part of the largest group in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), and in light of the recent passing of the "coronavirus law", we strongly urge the EPP to uphold the European values to which it has signed up to, condemn the recent action from Fidesz and expel the Hungarian party from its European Parliamentary group.
The manipulation of the COVID-19 pandemic, by Viktor Orban and his party, as a pretext to this subversion of democracy is a very dangerous action, especially at a time when populist politics threaten democracies globally. Our European values of democracy and human rights, values which are central to, and guide the actions and words of EUJS, have been breached by this law, the dictatorial nature of which must be recognised. The ruling right-wing populist Fidesz party of Hungary has repeatedly overstepped the legal boundaries in its country, and this most recent action serves as a justification towards legal action being taken at an EU-level against Hungary.
EUJS calls upon the necessary EU institutions to move forward and act on the already triggered Article 7 of the treaty on EU. Article 7 is put in place to prevent actions which run counter to the stated values of the EU - human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights. The actions of the Hungarian government are a blatant breach of each one of these values and so it is imperative that the EU imposes sanctions on Hungary and acts in accordance with its stated socio-political and moral standards. Individual governments at a national level have a responsibility to act, too, and call out this flagrant violation of democracy and human rights.