The European Union of Jewish Students (EUJS) is deeply concerned by the proposed bill from the governing Fidesz party in Hungary. The bill which is due to be discussed today in the Hungarian parliament, with a view to being voted on tomorrow, would give Viktor Orban’s right-wing populist government special powers, enabling him to effectively rule by decree for an indefinite period of time. The passing of such legislation would destroy the role of the opposition in the Hungarian parliamentary system, effectively handing unlimited power to Orban and his government.
The COVID-19 pandemic has rightly dominated headlines across Europe in recent weeks, however, we must also continue to highlight human rights abuses and concerns that are ongoing globally too. It should be emphasised that even during this unprecedented time, no government has the right to have unlimited power for an indefinite period of time. As such, it is greatly worrying that the Orban-led Hungarian government should consider manipulating and taking advantage of the coronavirus situation, in an attempt to further their own political ambitions. EUJS views the proposed bill from the Hungarian government as an attempt to incapacite civil society in Hungary, minimising the checks that are placed on the government, serving as another example of Orban seeking to govern outside the legal boundaries. History shows us that power does not tend to be ceded willingly following the introduction of emergency legislation, and this is a lesson that we cannot afford to ignore.
Our European values of democracy and human rights, values which are central to, and guide the actions and words of EUJS, are being threatened by this proposed bill, the anti-democratic nature of which must be recognised. When such values of democracy, human rights and tolerance, founding principles of the European Union, are sought to be breached by a member state, the issue, thus, becomes a significant cause for concern, and EUJS finds the silence from the EU on this topic to be deafening. Therefore, we call on the Hungarian government to immediately withdraw the proposed bill. Similarly, we call on the European Union to act in upholding our European values and urge national governments across Europe to condemn the proposed steps to be taken by the Hungarian government.