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Venice Commission opinion critical of Hungary’s constitutional changes, but welcomes government readiness to make certain revisions

14/06/2013

Venice Commission opinion critical of Hungary’s constitutional changes, but welcomes government readiness to make certain revisions
Venice Commission 

The European Commission for Democracy Through Law – the Council of Europe’s constitutional experts known as the “Venice Commission” – today issued an opinion that was critical of Hungary’s Fourth Amendment to its Fundamental Law, but welcomed the announcement of the Hungarian government to make certain revisions.

 

Requested in March this year by Secretary General Thorbjorn Jagland and by the Hungarian government, the opinion concludes that "the Fourth Amendement perpetuates the problematic position of the President of the National Judicial Office, seriously undermines the possibilities of constitutional review in Hungary and endangers the constitutional system of checks and balances."

 

"Together with the en bloc use of cardinal laws to perpetuate choices made by the present majority," according to the opinion issued today, "the Fourth Amendment is the result of an instrumental view of the Constitution as a political means of the governmental majority and is a sign of the abolition of the essential difference between constitution-making and ordinary politics."

 

The Venice Commission however "warmly welcomed" the reply of the Hungarian Government to the draft opinion, announcing its intention to completely remove the system of "transfer of cases", which had been strongly criticised by the Commission as violating the right to a lawful judge. Removing this system will no longer allow for the transfer of cases from Budapest to courts outside the capital. The Hungarian Parliament is expected to vote on this removal in September.

 

The Venice Commission Opinion

 

See also: Hungary and the Council of Europe

 
 
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