Center for Fundamental Rights

Refutation of the top 10 erroneous statements of the Tavares Report

The Hungarian, Budapest-based Center for Fundamental Rights (Alapjogokért Központ) – engaged in the legal analysis and protection of fundamental rights – has examined the so-called ‘Tavares Report’, submitted by the Portuguese Green Party MEP, Ruí Tavares. The European Parliament adopted the document, which has contained criticism of recent Hungarian legislation in many respects. Even though the report expresses a number of severe criticisms and proposes specific recommendations for Hungarian and European legislators with regard to prevailing Hungarian laws and regulations, based on the Center’s examination, it may be concluded that the document contains numerous factual errors and internal logical contradictions. Center legal analysts compiled the ten most grievous, erroneous statements, the majority of which are directly textually contradicted by current Hungarian laws, regulations and legal practice. In this analysis, laws, regulations and relevant facts will be presented providing the clear refutation of the Tavares Report’s statements.

Consequently, contrary to certain points of the Tavares Report, it may be concluded that:

1. The Constitutional Court itself has called for the abolition of ‘actio popularis’
2. The Constitutional Court can continue to utilize and cite its prior decisions
3. The Fiscal Council is in fact strengthening the system of checks and balances
4. The Constitutional Court did not have an opportunity to substantively review constitutional (Fundamental Law) amendments previously, either
5. the Fundamental Law includes the independence of law enforcement and of the courts
6. Parliament has not overwritten the Constitutional Court’s decision concerning organized churches; pursuant to the Constitutional Court, the Parliament may legislate the recognition of churches by law
7. The substantive elements of the rules relating to the election of the members of the National Electoral Commission have not changed as compared to the previous regulation; in fact, elected members are even more independent
8. Definitions of ‘family’ and ‘marriage’ set forth in the Fundamental Law are in line with the applicable practice of the Constitutional Court and do not violate any international legal norms
9. The Fundamental Law sufficiently guarantees the protection of human dignity
10. In accordance with the recommendation of the Council of Europe, the appointment process of the chairman and members of the media authority and of the Media Council has substantively changed.

The above list does not cover all responses which could have been given to each of the incorrect statements of the Tavares Report, this list is only illustrative. Due to content constraints and for the sake of clarity, those points of the Tavares report that were based on erroneous assumptions were not included in this analysis, such as – contrary to the actual situation – concern the excessive number of two-thirds majority laws or the or to the narrowing of the scope of the Constitutional Court’s jurisdiction regarding budgetary laws.

The goal of the Center for Fundamental Rights, founded in 2013, is scientific research and analysis in connection with the rule of law and the protection of fundamental rights. In accordance with the foregoing, the methodology of the study took into consideration exclusively legal aspects, not engaging in political evaluations.

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