MEPs demand more action on ‘deterioration of common values’ in Hungary and Poland

MEPs demand more action on ‘deterioration of common values’ in Hungary and Poland
EU flag on Budapest Parliament building. Credit: Marek Ślusarczyk

Members of the European Parliament are calling for both the European Council and the European Commission to take more action to address the deterioration of EU values in Hungary and Poland.

In a resolution adopted with 426 votes to 133 and 37 abstentions, MEPs say more “genuine commitment” and “meaningful progress” must be made when it comes to protecting European values.

Specifically, they’re asking for a rejection of national plans under the Recovery and Resilience Facility until progress is made, and point out that “unanimity is not required to identify risks of a serious breach of EU values.”

Hungary and Poland have come under fire for their anti-LGBTQ legislation and continued breaches of EU law, often accompanied by scathing attacks on the European institutions while still benefitting from EU funding.

The row with the EU goes back to 2018 when the governments in both countries' lurched to the far-right on a variety of issues related to human rights and greatly weakened democratic principles and accountability.

Hearings and investigations, but little progress or transparency

On Thursday, MEPs stated that despite the deteriorating democratic and legal situation in both Hungary and Poland, Member States have avoided voting to determine whether there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of the EU’s common values.

While Article 7 procedures were initiated in 2018 against both countries and the process is still ongoing, very little progress has been made so far.

MEPs “insist that Hungary and Poland’s failure to implement the numerous judgements made by the European Court of Justice and the European Court of Human Rights is unacceptable; all member states have to respect EU law.”

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The text they adopted calls for the hearings to be conducted with a more consistent, transparent and firm approach.

“The hearings should be organised in a regular, structured and open manner and must entail concrete follow-up, swift adoption of recommendations, with clear deadlines, to the member states in question,” MEPs said in a statement.

“[We] once again demand that the Council keep Parliament promptly and fully informed at every stage, which has not been the case so far. There is an imminent need for a comprehensive EU mechanism for EU values.”

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