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Event Invitation | Systemic Backsliding of the Rule of Law in Hungary: What (more) can the EU do? | Press Club Brussels

06 April 2022

Join the conversation on April 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m. CET  at  ‘Press Club Brussels‘, Froissart street 95, 1000 Brussels.

To register for the event in Brussels please email us at

Rule of law backsliding in Hungary has been firmly on the EU’s agenda for several years.  From starting Article 7 proceedings against Hungary for breach of “core European values” in 2018, to the ruling of the European Court of Justice confirming the need and right to protect those values by withholding EU funds when Member States violate principles of the rule of law, and the most recent election victory by Viktor Orban’s ruling Fidesz party – it is safe to say that the clash between the European Union and Hungary is here to stay.

The extent to which the Hungarian government has chipped away at the EU values endangering  citizens’ rights, autonomies and freedoms has become increasingly problematic. This has turned Hungary into a hybrid regime based on rule by law up to rule without law – rather than rule of law. Described as a method of ‘abusive constitutionalism’, it means that those rules and laws that are meant to limit executive powers and protect democracy are in fact altered or (ab)used to unilaterally execute the ruling party’s agenda, silencing regime critics and suffocate civil society.

Ignoring this reality has (had) dire consequences for both the well-being and fundamental rights of Hungarians, as well as of all European citizens. The war in Ukraine now is not only having us witness some of the gravest atrocities in recent history, but also provides a tragic reminder of what could be the worst case scenario when democracy, human rights and the rule of law are not protected and ordinary citizens no longer control their own democracy. This makes the threat to these values  in Hungary even more concerning.  The democratic quality and legitimacy of the entire European project is at stake.

Within this context, the Netherlands Helsinki Committee[1] is proud to invite you to the official launch of a series of seven academic papers written by a group of Hungarian academics[2]. Their research  presents an in-depth mapping of the methods and tactics used in the systemic backsliding of the rule of law in Hungary, and the effects on the European project as a whole.

Moderator: Antanina Maslyka
Panelists: Petra Bárd, Zoltán Fleck, Zsolt Körtvélyesi, Anita Koncsik

9.30       Doors open
9.45       Word of Welcome by Antanina Maslyka, The Netherlands Helsinki Committee
9.50       Hungary in light of the EU rule of law toolkit, fake compliance and room for maneuver, Petra Bárd
10.05    Abusive constitutional identity: backsliding rule of law in Hungary, Zoltán Fleck
10.20    Capturing the judiciary and its jurisprudence, Anita Koncsik
10.35    Attacks on parliamentarism, media, academia and society, Zsolt Körtvélyesi
10.50    Panel discussion & Q&A
11.25    Wrap up

Join the conversation on April 19, 9:30-11:30 a.m. CET  at  ‘Press Club Brussels‘, Froissart street 95, 1000 Brussels.

To register for the event in Brussels please email us at
If you cannot join us in person, follow the event online here

[1] Please note that the NHC has supported the academics to make this research possible and has provided a platform to launch their findings, while in no way intervening in the selection of topics, substance, nor conclusions drawn from the studies.
[2] Petra Bárd, Nóra Chronowski, Zoltán Fleck, Anita Koncsik, Ágnes Kovács, Zsolt Körtvélyesi, Gábor Mészáros, and Péter Sólyom.