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European citizen’s initiative against Hungary is no threat

December 2nd, 2015

A conservative legal analyst explains that the left-liberal initiative aimed at depriving Hungary of its voting rights within the European Union on account of its alleged undemocratic practices is unlikely to produce any tangible result.

On Mandiner, Bea Bakó recalls that before the latest initiative (see BudaPost, November 30) the institution of ‘citizen’s initiatives’ created by the Lisbon Treaty eight years ago has only been used three times, each time with absolutely no result. The initiators collected the necessary one million signatories in the required 7 member countries, but their demands (on the right to water, the rights of the foetus and the banning of animal tests respectively) were not heeded by the European Commission. Democracy is of course essential for the European Union, but what it means in practice is often debatable. For instance Hungary’s move towards a more majoritarian electoral system, which still keeps a strong element of proportional representation, is deemed anti-democratic by critics, while Britain’s ‘first past the post’ system is considered fully democratic by everyone. Thus, it is highly improbable that a two thirds majority can be gathered within the European Council behind accusations against Hungary, let alone full unanimity as required to pass actual sanctions against a member country. Faced with this prospect, the European Commission will hardly submit such a proposal to the European Council, even if the initiators succeed in collecting the necessary number of signatures, Bakó predicts.

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