Our European Union is built on values, democratic standards and legal certainties. Unfortunately, these are all under threat in today’s Europe. Autocrats, oligarchs and the far-right are seeking to undermine the pillars of democracy, the rule of law and the freedoms we cherish. That is why it is essential that European leaders stand firm on the rule of law.
Last week, the Commission presented its assessment of the measures proposed by the Hungarian government in response to the Rule of Law Conditionality Mechanism. The Commission did their job as guardian of the Treaties and maintained the Mechanism process. The Council should do the same.
The measures proposed by the Hungarian government will not go far enough to rectify the damage done by the government of Viktor Orbán to Hungarian democracy and the rule of law over more than a decade. These measures are inadequate to protect the financial interests of the Union. The level of political influence on the judiciary in Hungary means that we cannot trust that any new anti-corruption measures will be effective.
The Conditionality Mechanism serves to protect the Union’s budget. For too long EU funds have been syphoned off in Hungary and elsewhere to the benefit of those close to power. However, the existing institutions and agencies in Hungary that are tasked with protecting the EU’s financial interests cannot be considered independent from the influence of the governing parties. We must say it loud and clear: The loss and or suspension of financial resources from the EU budget is the sole political responsibility of Viktor Orbán.
We call upon the Commission to urgently find ways to distribute EU funds to local governments and NGOs if the Hungarian government does not cooperate around deficiencies in the rule of law. Direct EU funding to local governments, businesses and civil society in Hungary should be pursued as a way of supporting Hungarian society outside of government-controlled structures.
This is not just about the rule of law in Hungary. Europe is at a juncture. The rule of law crisis has gone on for far too long and is hampering our ability to come to collective decisions. If we allow autocracy to flourish without recourse then we risk undermining the entire European project. We cannot stand by and allow European values to be left to the wayside.
If the rule of law is undermined in one country, it undermines the whole Union. We Greens stand together in defence of the rule of law. We call on European leaders to support the current ongoing EU processes on the rule of law, and to vote in favour of the Council Implementing Decision on measures for the protection of the Union budget against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary, as proposed by the Commission on 18th September 2022.
Mélanie Vogel and Thomas Waitz Co-Chairs, European Green Party
Terry Reintke and Philippe Lamberts, Co-Presidents, Greens/EFA Group, European Parliament
Stefan Kaineder, Deputy-Chair and Michel Reimon, Member of Parliament, Die Grünen, Austria
Nadia Naji, Co-Chair, Groen, Belgium
Vladislav Panev, MP, Deputy Parliamentary Group Leader, Co-Chair and Dobromira Kostova, Co-Chair, Zeleno dvizhenie, Bulgaria
Zorislav Antun Petrović, Chairperson, Zelena alternativa, ORaH, Croatia
Charalambos Theopemptou, President, Kinima Oikologon-Synergasia Politon, Cyprus
Michal Berg and Magdalena Davis, Co-Chairs, Strana zelených, Czech Republic
Jesper Svendsen, International Secretary, Socialistisk Folkeparti, Denmark
Johanna Maria Tõugu and Marko Kaasik, Co-Chairs, Erakond Eestimaa Rohelised, Estonia
Charlotte Soulary, International Secretary, EELV, France
Pegah Edalatian, Vice-President/European Secretary and Emily Büning, Secretary General, BÜNDNIS 90/DIE GRÜNEN, Germany
Katerina Andrikopoulou Sakorafa, Co-Chair, Oikologoi Prasinoi, Greece
Erzsébet Schmuck, Co-Chair and Örs Tetlák, Deputy Mayor of Érd, Board Member, LMP - Magyarország Zöld Pártja, Hungary
Rebeka Szabó, MP, Co-Chair, Párbeszéd, Hungary
Pauline O’Reilly, Senator, Chairperson, Green Party Ireland
Angelo Bonelli, MP, Co-Spokesperson, Europa Verde, Italy
Felix von Wohlgemuth, Co-Spokesperson, Verdi Grüne Vërc, Italy
Antoņina Ņenaševa and Atis Švinka, MPs, Co-Chairs, Progresīvie, Latvia
Lukas Savickas, MP, parliamentary group leader, Vice Chairperson, Demokratų sąjunga „Vardan Lietuvos“; Lithuania
Tomas Tomilinas, MP, Vice Chairperson, Demokratų sąjunga „Vardan Lietuvos“; Lithuania
Laima Nagienė, MP, Demokratų sąjunga „Vardan Lietuvos“, Lithuania
Meris Šehović and Djuna Bernard, Co-Chairs, Déi Gréng, Luxembourg
Carmel Cacopardo, Chair, ADPD, Malta
Jesse Klaver, Party leader and Gebke van Gaal, International Secretary, GroenLinks, The Netherlands
Przemysław Słowik, Co-Chair and Małgorzata Tracz, MP, Zieloni, Poland
Rafael Pinto, Member of the Executive Board, PAN, Portugal
Rui Tavares, MP, Co-Spokesperson of LIVRE, Portugal
Lavinia Cosma, and Marius Lazăr, Co-Chairs, Partidul Verde, Romania
Adrian Dohotaru, Executive President, Partidul Verde, Romania
Adela Maghear and Bogdan Barbu, Co-Chairs, Partidul ACUM, Romania
Urša Zgojznik, Co-Chair, Vesna zelena stranka, Slovenia
Florent Marcellesi, Co-Spokesperson, Verdes EQUO, Spain
Ernest Urtasun, MEP, Catalunya en Comú, Spain
Märta Stenevi, Spokeswomen of the Green Party of Sweden