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Renata Uitz on Hungary’s New Legislation to “Defend National Sovereignty”

Hungarians got tyranny for Christmas, our Senior Research Fellow Renata Uitz wrote in an op-ed in Hungarian weekly Magyar Narancs on December 19, 2023, referring to the new Hungarian legislation on the “defense of national sovereignty.”

In the article, Renata Uitz explains that with the recently adopted “Law to Defend Sovereignty,” the government switched from the language of veiled threats to open deterrence. By extending, in unforeseeable ways and to an unforeseen extent, the current ban on the foreign funding of political parties, the new law is a severe threat to opposition politicians in Hungary, she argues.

As for the newly established Office “to Defend Sovereignty,” she explains its eminent status, writing that the government “has founded an elite institution for deterrence.” With a stated goal of the prevention of risks and threats against sovereignty, the Office will be able to investigate any organization that tries to influence the Hungarian electorate, that is, any organization participating in public life.

She further explains that a curious provision was also adopted in an omnibus bill in December that creates a novel preliminary ruling procedure for the Court of Justice of the EU before the Hungarian Constitutional Court. This turns the usual procedure on its head; it is national courts of member states that seek a preliminary opinion from the EU Court, not the other way around. The main goal of the provision seems to be allowing attacks on the EU’s legal order.

Read the article here (in Hungarian).

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