Hungary is again under fire from the European Parliament (EP) for a variety of reasons. The accusations, which are stated but never fully argued, range from being “highly misleading and biased” in the ‘Stop Brussels’ campaign, to the Hungarian government not “guaranteeing the future operations of the Central European University” sponsored by George Soros, to rejecting “91,54 % of asylum applications in 2016.”
Because of this, the EP is now activating Article 7(1) of the Treaty of the European Union (TEU), which is “intended to prevent an actual breach by addressing specific recommendations to the Member State in question” in case the Council determines “that there is a clear risk of a serious breach of EU values by a Member State.”
But whereas the the EP mentions Article 2 of the TEU and its values as a reason for moral judgement of Hungary, it nowhere mentions Article 3 of the same Treaty.
So when the EP mentions Case of Ilias and Ahmed v. Hungary before the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) which criticises Hungary’s decision to severely limit migrants’ abilities to travel into the EU, it projects a vision of itself as upholding a very broad swath of very loosely defined high moral principles. But it nowhere even considers that it needs to balance those high ideals with the equally valid obligations it takes upon itself by article 3 in the TEU, which mentions as the Union’s aim:
“to promote peace, its values and the well-being of its peoples. (…) The Union shall offer its citizens an area of freedom, security and justice without internal frontiers, in which the free movement of persons is ensured in conjunction with appropriate measures with respect to external border controls, asylum, immigration and the prevention and combating of crime. (…) It shall promote economic, social and territorial cohesion, and solidarity among Member States. It shall respect its rich cultural and linguistic diversity, and shall ensure that Europe’s cultural heritage is safeguarded and enhanced.“
Ignoring these aims, these obligations that the EU, and thereby by extension, the EP, has taken up, in the face of very, very real threats and acts of violence, without offering any alternative policies, amounts to nothing more than contravening the principles of democracy, subsidiarity and proportionality that the EU also claims to be based on.
The EP going after Hungary yet again, for a so-called lack of democracy, by pointing out judicial rulings but failing to do so with bigger Member States, notably Austria (which has build a fence between itself and fellow Schengen member Slovenia) and Germany, with EU Commissioners making unfounded accusations at its prime-minister.
In view of Merkel’s remark that “we need to protect our external borders because we want to keep Schengen,” the EP would be better of by suggesting ways to stop immigration flows that dó adhere to its 1950’s rules.
And if it can’t – and there is a fair chance that it won’t be able to – it should work on amending the relevant treaties into documents that áre workable in today’s world.