March 6th, 2013

Fidesz says international media misrepresenting constitutional amendments

Hungary’s planned constitutional amendments have been misinterpreted by the international press but the ruling Fidesz party and the government are ready to help to clarify the situation, Fidesz communication director Mate Kocsis said on Wednesday.

Kocsis cited an online article by the Financial Times which argued that if Hungarian parliament approves a new package of amendment proposals, then Hungary should lose its voting rights in the European Union and all EU support should be suspended.

Kocsis said Hungary would “resolutely and honourably defend itself on this issue, once again.”

The “hair-raising views” published by the international press distort the real situation in Hungary, he said. The planned constitutional amendment “is intended to be a good amendment to the constitution” and is in keeping with the Constitutional Court’s past rulings in every paragraph.

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  • Bowen

    Kocsis said Hungary would “resolutely and honourably defend itself on this issue, once again.”

    Translation: Fidesz will lie and cheat, divert attention, and spend billions of taxpayer’s money on ‘informing’ the public that “We won’t let the EU tell us what to do!”.

  • Paul

    “Mr Orbán insists the measures are not of his government’s doing. But most of his own reforms have been introduced through private member’s bills which allow laws to be passed at accelerated speed.
    This is a poor camouflage for a government that has become increasingly authoritarian and intolerant of checks and balances.”

    Getting more and more hilarious! (if possible)

    It looks that this: “Fidesz says international media
    misrepresenting constitutional amendments”…is not going to work
    at all anymore. On the contrary!

    “Brussels should not hesitate to threaten a withdrawal of
    structural subsidies, for example, if Mr Orbán does not
    call on his party to drop any amendments that violate EU
    membership”.
    Slowly we are getting somewhere!

  • Aloof

    “Hungary’s planned constitutional amendments have been misinterpreted by the international press”… there’s that “misunderstanding BS” again which is the absolute bedrock of Fidesz foreign policy. These assholes actually think the rest of the world buys any of their BS. Hungarians should be ashamed to have a government like this representing them. God know it’s certainly going to cost them big time…

  • Democrat

    The final text of the amendment (all 15 pages) will probably be sent out about 4.55pm on Friday with the vote scheduled for 11am on Monday. Outsiders will not be entitled to comment on it because they will not have received the “official” mistranslation of it. And of course, just for good measure, there will be a few last minute tweaks on Monday morning.

    Much of the EC’s work of last year is being undone. Brussels…..WAKE UP

  • http://www.crsc.uqam.ca/ Stevan Harnad

    GROWING INTERNATIONAL REACTION TO CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS IN HUNGARY

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constitution_of_Hungary#Reactions_to_the_4th_amendment

    On the 1st of March 2013, Princeton University international constitutional law scholar and Hungary specialist Kim Lane Scheppele wrote[45]:

    “[T]the government is… introducing… many constitutional… amendments which were introduced before and nullified by the Constitutional Court or changed at the insistence of European bodies. The new constitutional amendment (again) kills off the independence of the judiciary, brings universities under (even more) governmental control, opens the door to political prosecutions, criminalizes homelessness, makes the recognition of religious groups dependent on their cooperation with the government and weakens human rights guarantees across the board. Moreover, the constitution will now buffer the government from further financial sanctions by permitting it to take all fines for noncompliance with the constitution or with European law and pass them on to the Hungarian population as special taxes, not payable by the normal state budget…. It annuls all of the decisions made by the Court before 1 January 2012 so that they have no legal effect. Now, no one in the country – not the Constitutional Court, not the ordinary courts, not human rights groups or ordinary citizens – can rely any longer on the Court’s proud string of rights-protecting decisions.”

    On the 5th of March 2013, Michael Link, undersecretary in the German Foreign Ministry, in “Hungary must remain a country of the law,” [46]called on Hungary “to demonstrate that the country has an effective separation of power between the legislative and the judicial.”

    On the 6th of March 2013, Europe’s main human rights watchdog, Council of Europe President Thorbjorn Jagland, said that the amendments set to be voted on next week by Hungarian lawmakers may be incompatible with European legal principles and asked Hungary to postpone the approval of a series of constitutional amendments so legal experts can review the changes. [47]

    On the 8th of March, 2013. the government of the USA raised its concerns both about the content of the proposed amendments “as they could threaten the principles of institutional independence and checks and balances that are the hallmark of democratic governance” and about the process by which they were to be accepted: “[The USA] “urges the Government of Hungary and the Parliament to ensure that the process of considering amendments to the constitution demonstrates respect for the rule of law and judicial review, openness to the views of other stakeholders across Hungarian society, and continuing receptiveness to the expertise of the Council of Europe’s Venice Commission.” [48]

    On the 8th of March 2013, in a letter to the European commission, Guido Westerwelle, the German foreign minister, and counterparts in Denmark, the Netherlands and Finland called for the European Union to be given new powers allowing it to freeze EU budget funds to a member state in breach of Europe’s “fundamental values.”[49]

    45 Kim Lane Scheppele, New York Times, March 1, 2013http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/01/guest-post-constitutional-revenge/ Constitutional Revenge

    46 http://www.auswaertiges-amt.de/DE/Infoservice/Presse/Interviews/2013/130305-StM_L_FAZ.html

    47 http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/europe/european-rights-watchdog-urges-hungary-to-postpone-vote-on-disputed-amendments-to-constitution/2013/03/06/87ac1526-867b-11e2-a80b-3edc779b676f_story.html

    48 http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2013/03/205838.htm

    49 http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2013/mar/08/hungarian-prime-minister-warned-power

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