EU values in Hungary and Poland: MEPs deplore lack of progress in Council, worry about setback 

Press Releases 

MEPs condemned the absence of national governments and the German Presidency, criticised the lack of progress in the Council and expressed concerns on the state of fundamental rights.

In a joint debate that took place on Monday evening, the Civil Liberties Committee took stock of developments on the rule of law in light of the Article 7(1) TEU procedures, and the state of LGBTI rights, in Poland and Hungary.

During the first part of the debate with Commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders, MEPs almost unanimously regretted the decision by both national governments, as well as the German Presidency of the Council, not to attend the meeting. They also reiterated their support for the budgetary conditionality mechanism, which Hungary and Poland refuse, insisting that it is of utmost importance for the EU to maintain its resolve. Many speakers urged the Council to move forward the ongoing Article 7 procedures, while MEPs representing a majority asked the Commission to take more decisive action.

The second part of the debate, with Commissioner for Equality Helena Dalli, revolved around the state of LGBTI rights in the two countries. MEPs welcomed the Commission’s recent publication of the first LGBTIQ strategy. Most said the situation in Hungary and Poland has to be assessed jointly with other challenges relating to EU values, such as corruption or attacks on the separation of powers and judicial independence. Some speakers pointed out that even in those countries a majority (including many civil society organisations, who need to be supported by the EU) is in favour of protecting fundamental rights and EU values as a whole.

You can catch up with the recorded debate online.


Parliament has recently adopted a series of relevant reports:

Under Article 7, the Council may decide, by a majority of four fifths and after obtaining the consent of the European Parliament, that a country is at risk of breaching the EU’s founding values, including the rule of law. At a later stage, EU member states may decide, by unanimity and after receiving EP’s consent, that a serious and persistent breach of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights is taking place. This process may eventually lead to sanctions, such as the suspension of voting rights in the Council.