2011. július 05. 16:28

EP criticises Hungary's constitution

The European Parliament on Tuesday adopted a resolution which criticises the way Hungary's new constitution was approved, as well as several of its components.

Based on a report by the Venice Commission, the resolution, which has no legal force, was approved with 331 votes in favour, 274 against and 54 abstentions, with support from left-wing, liberal and green MEPs, while the European People's Party (EPP) rejected it.

It says Hungary's Constitution fails to explicitly protect several basic rights and should be amended. The EP calls on Hungary to explicitly protect all basic rights in line with Hungary's international obligations, ban the death penalty and life imprisonment without parole, and prohibit discrimination on the ground of sexual orientation.

Orban said before the vote that regardless of whether the resolution was approved or not, "this will not influence the work of Hungarian lawmakers in the least," adding that the constitution was protected under European law, and every nation had a right to its own basic law.

He said that Hungary's new constitution was a modern European basic law which focused on life, family, the nation and human dignity, and "we are therefore proud of it."

The EP called on the European Commission to conduct a thorough review of the constitution and the cardinal laws to be adopted to make sure that they are consistent with the letter and spirit of the EU treaties and the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights.

Concerning the fact that the constitution assumes responsibility for ethnic Hungarians living abroad, the resolution calls on Hungary to respect the territorial integrity of other countries.

The EP calls for the full rights of the Constitutional Court to review budget-related legislation and to revise the provision on the lower mandatory retirement age for judges to be restored.

The document declares that the cardinal laws should be drafted based on as large a public consensus as possible. According to the resolution, the tax and pensions laws and family policy should not be regulated by cardinal laws requiring a two-thirds majority, which limit the scope of future governments.

Commenting on the resolution in a statement, the Hungarian EPP group said that the document contained many half-truths and factual mistakes, for instance the interpretation of the concepts of family and foetus protection.

"It is a sign of double standards applied against Hungary that the resolution criticises provisions about institutions, for instance the Constitutional Court and the ombudsman, that do not exist in some member states or have weaker powers than in Hungary," it said.

Csaba Tabajdi, head of the Hungarian Socialist delegation to the European Union, said, "the resolution severely censuring the Orban government truly shows that Hungary's government has lost its international credibility and has become isolated."