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Calls for another EU infringement procedure against Hungary

April 4th, 2020

A pro-government commentator scorns Hungary’s critics in the European Parliament, who are proposing yet another EU infringement procedure in response to Hungary’s coronavirus emergency act. Two liberal columnists suspect meanwhile that the government risks political and economic ostracization.

Several floor leaders of the European Parliament have called on the European Commission to investigate whether the Hungarian emergency regulations (see BudaPost April 1) are in compliance with EU norms. If they are not, they call on the Commission to open a new infringement procedure against Hungary under Article 7. The European People’s Party has also criticized the Hungarian emergency bill, although it has not formally signed the petition demanding another infringement procedure against Hungary. At the same time, 13 parties within the European People’s Party have called on the EPP to expel Fidesz from its ranks.

In Pesti Srácok, Tamás Pilhál finds it peculiar that some EU politicians are concerned over democratic values in Hungary, while their homelands are being devastated by the coronavirus. The pro-government commentator vehemently rejects accusations that the Hungarian government’s emergency bill violates basic liberties or democratic rights. Pilhál quotes the first paragraph of the bill which stipulates that Parliament can at any time revoke the state of emergency. It is therefore absurd to claim that Hungary has become a dictatorship, Pilhál contends. He goes on to liken the EU leadership to a lunatic asylum, and suggests that once the coronavirus emergency is over, Hungary should ‘wake up from its EU nightmare’.

In Heti Világgazdaság, Viktória Serdült and Gábor Kovács think that the Hungarian emergency bill will have serious consequences. The liberal commentators believe that the Hungarian government risks becoming an outcast in Europe. Such ostraciziation will have a severe political and economic backlash, particularly if Hungary’s critics are joined by Germany, Serdült and Kovács suspect. If the Hungarian government becomes a moral outcast, it will have less leverage in the talks over the next EU budget, and investors may also be frightened away, the authors suggest.


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