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Viktor Orbán’s rampage to attract more far right voters

Gábor Halmai

The latest dangerous ideas of PM Orbán and his government to reintroduce the death penalty in Hungary, to legitimate the disclosure of immigrants through the foreseeable result of a ‘national consultation’, and to legalize the segregation of Roma in public education further undermine the democratic values of Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union. This new wave of anti-rule-of-law populism is a direct consequence of the continuous decline of the governing party’s popularity. Weiterlesen

78 Gábor Halmai

Does property protection entail a right to obtain social benefits under the ECHR?

Ingrid Leijten

It goes without saying that a supranational court’s engagement with national social policy is a sensitive endeavour. This is all the more so when the norms this court is protecting are of a ‘classic’, rather than of a socio-economic kind. In the recent case of Béláné Nagy v. Hungary the European Court of Human Rights seemingly recognises a right to obtain social security benefits under Article 1 of Protocol No. 1 to the European Convention on Human Rights, which contains the right to protection of property. The case was decided by a three to four vote and hence might be referred to the Grand Chamber. Yet it is especially the strong and diverging conclusions of the majority and the minority on a sensitive issue like the protection of social security qua property rights issue, that make this judgment worth elaborating upon. Weiterlesen

340 Ingrid Leijten

Hungarians outside Hungary – the twisted story of dual citizenship in Central and Eastern Europe

Mónika Ganczer

In 2010, Hungary amended its Citizenship Act to pave the way for a preferential naturalisation of Hungarians living abroad. This was met with great alarm among Hungary’s neighbours: As a consequence of the Trianon Peace Treaty in the aftermath of World War I, by which Hungary lost large swaths of its territory, a considerable part of the citizenship of Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, Ukraine and other states nowadays consists of ethnic Hungarians. Four years after, tensions between Hungary and its neighbours with respect to dual citizenship are still palpable, since the number of new Hungarian citizens increases continually and already exceeds half million. Weiterlesen

265 Mónika Ganczer

Von wegen Würde des Bundestages: Demo im Plenarsaal ist Meinungsfreiheit

Maximilian Steinbeis

Dass Bundestagspräsident Norbert Lammert ganz schnell den Humor verliert, wenn seine Abgeordneten drunten im Plenarsaal ihre politische Meinung auf andere Weise kundtun als durch Redenhalten und Zwischenrufen, ist bekannt: Mal fliegen Parlamentarier raus, weil sie bei der Debatte um das Afghanistan-Mandat Schilder mit den Namen der Kundus-Opfer hochhalten, mal, weil sie auf ihren T-Shirts ihren Protest gegen Stuttgart 21 anmelden. Alles, was wie eine organisierte Demo aussieht, wird als Angriff auf die "Würde des Hauses" gewertet und ohne viel Federlesens unter zustimmendem Nicken der veröffentlichten Meinung unterbunden. Damit hat Lammert damit womöglich gegen die Europäische Menschenrechtskonvention verstoßen. Das legt zumindest ein heute verkündetes Urteil des EGMR in Straßburg nahe. Weiterlesen

363 Maximilian Steinbeis

Illiberal Democracy and Beyond in Hungary

Gábor Halmai

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orbán describes his country as "illiberal state", citing as role models authoritarian regimes like Putin’s Russia and dictatorial governments like China. As with citizens in any other nation-state, Hungarians certainly have the right to oppose the development of a liberal political system, if they are willing to accept certain consequences such as parting from the European Union and the wider community of liberal democracies. However, this conclusion must be reached through a democratic process, unlike the constitution making that took place in 2011, when Hungary’s leaders neglected to consult the people on their opinions about the very nature of the constitution. Weiterlesen

78 Gábor Halmai

Macht sich die Deutsche Telekom zu Orbáns Handlanger beim Abbau der ungarischen Demokratie?

Maximilian Steinbeis

Offenbar findet kurz nach den Wahlen, die Viktor Orbán und der FIDESz-KDNP-Koalition erneut eine Zweidrittelmehrheit beschert haben, ein regelrechter Crackdown gegen die verbliebene unabhängige Presse statt. Und ausgerechnet unsere eigene Deutsche Telekom AG muss sich dabei einige unangenehme Fragen nach ihrer Rolle dabei gefallen lassen. Weiterlesen

363 Maximilian Steinbeis

Expelling dissent: On account of the ECtHR judgment in Baka v Hungary

Renáta Uitz

The European courts have been rather active in finding Hungary in violation of European constitutional and human rights minimum standards in April and in May 2014. In the most recent judgment in this line of cases, Baka v Hungary, the ECtHR found that the last chief justice of the Hungarian Supreme Court, András Baka, had been removed from office through constitution-making before the end of his term due to his criticism of the government’s judicial reforms. The Baka case is symptomatic of a fundamental shortcoming of Hungary’s new constitutional reality: the suppression and expulsion of dissent from the domestic political sphere. Sadly, the timing of the ECtHR’s judgment is perfect, as it comes at a time when the government is taking intense legal steps and other measures silence dissenting voices even further. Weiterlesen

41 Renáta Uitz

Legal but not Fair: Viktor Orbán’s New Supermajority

Kim Lane Scheppele

Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party coasted to a clear victory in last weekend’s Hungarian election, as expected. The governing party got 45% of the vote, but the new “rules of the game” turned this plurality vote into two thirds of the seats in the parliament. A continuing two-thirds parliamentary majority allows Orbán to govern without constraint because he can change the constitution at will. But this constitution-making majority hangs by a thread. Orbán’s mandate to govern is clear because his party got more votes than any other single political bloc. What is not legitimate, however, is his two-thirds supermajority. Orbán was certainly not supported by two-thirds of Hungarians – nowhere close. In fact, a majority gave their votes to other parties. Orbán’s two-thirds victory was achieved through legal smoke and mirrors. Legal. But smoke and mirrors. Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party coasted to a clear victory in last weekend’s Hungarian election, as expected. The governing party got 45% of the vote, but the new “rules of the game” turned this plurality vote into two thirds of the seats in the parliament. A continuing two-thirds parliamentary majority allows Orbán to govern without constraint because he can change the constitution at will. But this constitution-making majority hangs by a thread. Orbán’s mandate to govern is clear because his party got more votes than any other single political bloc. What is not legitimate, however, is his two-thirds supermajority. Orbán was certainly not supported by two-thirds of Hungarians – nowhere close. In fact, a majority gave their votes to other parties. Orbán’s two-thirds victory was achieved through legal smoke and mirrors. Legal. But smoke and mirrors. Weiterlesen

17 Kim Lane Scheppele
 Schwerpunkt  Ungarn - was tun? Folge 2: ein besonderes Vertragsverletzungsverfahren

How to turn Article 2 TEU into a down-to-Earth provision?

Dimitry Kochenov

Coming from such an established voice advocating the protection of rule of law at the national level, Kim Scheppele’s proposal definitely enjoys sufficient legitimacy to be taken very seriously. In what follows, I look at the “problem” of democracy (1.), the “problem” with bundling infringements (2.), the problem of determining the meaning of “values” (3.), and the problem with penalties (4.). I conclude that two problems are fictitious but two others are real. Weiterlesen

42 Dimitry Kochenov
 Schwerpunkt  Ungarn - was tun? Folge 2: ein besonderes Vertragsverletzungsverfahren

Systemic infringement action: an effective solution or rather part of the problem?

Paul Blokker

Kim Lane Scheppele suggests a comprehensive, holistic approach to deal with prominent challenges to the basic principles of the European Union. I very much sympathize with this idea, but believe a purely legal approach in itself is not sufficient (and might even be counter-productive). Weiterlesen

145 Paul Blokker