This thesis enters the debate on Hungary’s constitutional and legal changes since 2010. Since 2010, the Fidesz-led government has introduced, among others, a new act on the media and a new constitution. The act on the media and especially the new constitution questions Hungary’s compliance with human rights, democracy and rule of law, which creates the foundation of the common values of the EU. Since 2004, Hungary has been a member of the EU and is therefore bound to these values which are outlined in article 2 of the Lisbon treaty and protected by article 7. Article 7 enables the EU to determine if there is a risk of a serious breach by a member state of the values, or to determine if there is a serious breach. If the latter is determined, the country’s voting rights in the Council may be suspended until changes have been made. Up until now, the EU has not activated article 7 against Hungary. The research question of the thesis is: which historical and political factors underlies Hungary’s new stance on the liberal democracy, human rights and rule of law, which puts pressure on the values of article 2 in the Lisbon treaty? And why has the EU not activated article 7 against Hungary when the criterion for doing so seems to have been met? The thesis argues that there are three prime historical factors: 1) the state apparatus in the inter-war period and in the beginning of World War Two, 2) the relationship between Hungary and Western Europe from 1920 to the 1970s and 3) the level of welfare before the end of communism. The thesis argues that the political factors are: 1) the corruption scandal in 2006, 2) the economic situation and 3) the EU-accession, as the accession led to an Europeanised state apparatus but not a consolidated liberal democracy as the process was made by politicians wanting to gain membership of the EU. The process led to a misguided conception of Hungary being a consolidated liberal democracy, when it was in fact still in a consolidating phase. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the reason for why the EU has not activated article 7 against Hungary is multifold. Firstly, it argues that there is a general fear of creating scope for increasing nationalism and EU-skepticism in Hungary if the article in activated. Secondly, it argues that values are a matter of national interest, which affects the way the states react to the situation. Thirdly, there is a chance that the former Central- and Eastern European countries will not vote against each other due to historical ties with Hungary. Finally, there is a problem with the fact that EU is consisting of 27 (28 with Croatia) member states, with different understandings of what it takes to breach the values. In order to being able to conclude on the first part of the thesis question, I will firstly look at Hungary’s history and transition to democracy through the work of Jørgen Møller and Svend Erik-Skaaning. They set up a range of historical factors which affect the transition to and consolidation of democracy in the former Central- and Eastern European communist countries. Secondly, I will look at Hungary’s Europeanisation process, first as a non-EU-member country and afterwards as an EU-member country. Finally, I will discuss the findings from the previous chapters in the light of the theories by Jørgen Møller and Svend-Erik Skaaning on democratisation and Milada Anna Vachudova on Europeanisation and democratisation. I will include the results of an attitude survey on the Hungarian citizens’ attitude towards their new society conducted by Pew Research Center. In order to being able to conclude on the second part of the thesis question, I will firstly describe the development of the values of the EU. Secondly, I will describe the Austrian Haider-case from 2000, as this case was the reason why the EU included paragraph 1 in article 7, which makes it possible to act before a serious breach. The Haider-case is furthermore the only case where sanctions have been initiated on a member country, due to fear of violation of the values. Thirdly, I will describe how the EU has responded to the situation in Hungary. Finally, I will discuss the findings by comparing the Hungary-case with the Haider-case. I will include the results of an attitude survey on the Hungarian citizens’ attitude to the EU, conducted by a Hungarian public opinion poll firm, but translated to English be the European Commission’s EU-representation in Hungary.
|Educations||MA in International Business Communication (Intercultural Marketing), (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis|
|Number of pages||92|