EU Watch

Hungary's 7-Year-Old Constitution Is Amended for the 7th Time

In addition to adopting the act known as Stop Soros, the Hungarian government has amended the Fundamental Law, the nation's Constitution.

by Hungarian Civil Liberties Union
(Image: György Soponyai)

The changes to the Fundamental Law include two new provisions. One says that "foreign populations cannot be settled" in the country, while a second compels state bodies must protect Christian culture.

Unfit for today's Europe

With votes from the far-right Jobbik party, the governing party has managed to amend the Fundamental Law, adopted in 2011, for the seventh time, introducing several provisions that are unacceptable for a modern-day European constitution.

The seventh amendment to the Fundamental Law includes the prohibition of homelessness with reference to the protection of the public use of public spaces. According to watchdog organization and Liberties member the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, banning habitual residence in public spaces is a serious offense against human dignity and the freedom of action.

"The Fundamental Law has been strongly criticized for containing, besides the most important rules, bombast and pathetic provisions without legal substance. In prescribing the protection of Christian culture in the Fundamental Law, the governing party has, in fact, introduced its direct political goals in the highest legal rule," the HCLU said in a statement, referring specifically to the provision specifying that "all state bodies are obliged to protect Hungary's identity and its Christian culture."

Amendments to the Fundamental Law also concern the restriction of the freedom of assembly, adding to the provision that "practicing the right to assembly cannot involve the violation of others' private and family life or home."

New threats to judicial independence

Under this law, organizing demonstrations in front of the private homes of politicians can be banned in the future. Furthermore, administrative courts will be established to "deliberate in legal controversies related to public administration and other cases established in the law."

According to the HCLU, this also means that it will not be the Curia, the country's Supreme Court, that will have the final word in certain administrative disputes, which raises serious concerns about the future independence of the judiciary in matters that are embarrassing for the government.

The amendments to the Fundamental Law were adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on the same day it passed the legislation widely known as Stop Soros, which threatens civil activists with imprisonment. You can read more on this act here.


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