Daniel Freund

6. October 2020 Democracy

CEU ruling: ECJ rulings alone cannot stop the erosion of the rule of law and democracy in Hungary

Hungary’s higher education law violates EU law. This was established by the European Court of Justice in today’s ruling. The Fidesz government had deliberately aimed at expelling the Central European University from Hungary in 2017 with this law. In 2018, the university had then announced its move to Vienna. The judges in Luxembourg criticized among other things the incompatibility of the Hungarian law with the principle of academic freedom.

Daniel Freund, negotiator for the Greens on the rule of law mechanism in the Committee on Budgetary Control, comments:

“It is shocking that the ECJ has to deal again and again with the dismantling of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary. Of course it is good to see that the judges are sending a clear signal here and upholding European values. However: They cannot stop the development in Hungary. With the expulsion of the Central European University, Viktor Orbán has created facts. It may well be that despite the verdict, this damage will remain.”

“Viktor Orbán not only kicks universities out of the country but also harasses journalists, NGOs and opposition members. We cannot leave it to the judges alone to defend democracy and the rule of law in Hungary. This requires political will and political instruments. This is exactly what we are negotiating in Brussels. Anyone who violates fundamental values should have their EU funds cut off. Unfortunately, the German Council Presidency is not pulling in the same direction as the Parliament. The current ruling shows once again how important such a sanctions mechanism is.”