Brussels, 12 April 2013
The European Commission reiterates its serious concerns over the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution of Hungary
In a letter sent to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán today, President Barroso, while noting Prime Minister Orbán's reassurances on Hungary's and the Hungarian government's willingness and commitment to fully respect European Union values and law, confirms that, based on a first legal analysis, the Commission has serious concerns over the compatibility of the Fourth Amendment to the Hungarian Fundamental Law with EU legislation and with the principle of the rule of law.
President Barroso indicates that, once the on-going legal analysis carried out by the Commission's services has been finalised, the Commission will have to take the necessary steps in order to start infringement procedures where relevant. "I strongly appeal to you and to your government to address these concerns and to tackle them in a determined and unambiguous way. This is without doubts in the best interest of Hungary and of the EU as a whole" – President Barroso says in the letter.
The letter in particular refers to Commission concerns about the conformity with EU law of the new articles of the Hungarian Constitution on the clause on European Court of Justice judgements entailing payment obligations, the powers given to the President of the National Office for the judiciary to transfer cases and, subject to a more detailed analysis, the restrictions on the publication of political advertisements.
President Barroso also in his letter refers to the on-going assessment of the recent amendments to the Hungarian Constitution conducted by the Venice Commission, which will prepare an opinion on 15-16 June. President Barroso underscores the close cooperation of the European Commission on this matter with the Council of Europe and the Venice Commission. The President expects that the Hungarian authorities will take due account of this opinion and address it in full accordance with both European Union and Council of Europe principles, rules and values.
Moreover, President Barroso asks the Hungarian authorities to engage in a political dialogue with the European Parliament which will adopt in June a political resolution on "the situation of Fundamental Rights in Hungary: standards and practices".