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Illiberal Highlights of 2020

In 2020, the Hungarian government has continued to build its “illiberal state”, and has continued to erode the rule of law in Hungary in almost every area covered by the Article 7 procedure. Our paper presents the “illiberal highlights” that took place in Hungary in 2020.

The last hearing by the General Affairs Council of the European Union in the Article 7(1) procedure against Hungary was held on 10 December 2019, almost a year ago. Ahead of that hearing, a wide coalition of NGOs, the Hungarian Helsinki Committee among them, prepared a reaction paper to the Hungarian Government’s information note. This Information Note was prepared by the Government as a response to the European Parliament’s resolution that triggered the procedure under Article 7(1) TEU against Hungary, i.e. the “Sargentini report”. In our reaction paper, we not only collated and rebutted the most significant false or misleading statements of the Government’s information note, but also covered the most important new developments in the area of rule of law and human rights in Hungary since the adoption of the EP resolution.

Now, a year later, we have new developments to cover, and these are not positive ones. In 2020, the Hungarian Government and the governing majority have continued to build their “illiberal state”, and have continued to erode the rule of law in Hungary in almost every area the EP resolution and, consequently, the Article 7 procedure cover. This happened amidst the country also suffering from the global pandemic caused by COVID-19, and oftentimes under the cover of the COVID-19 response.

This paper presents the “illiberal highlights” that took place Hungary in 2020. It should not be considered a full account of the rule of law and human rights developments of this year. Instead, it follows the structure of the EP resolution, and focuses on the issues highlighted therein. Our aim is to show that the Hungarian Government has not halted its efforts to dismantle the rule of law, and continuing the Article 7(1) procedure against Hungary is more important than ever.

The paper covers the following areas:

  • functioning of the constitutional and electoral system;
  • independence of the judiciary and of other institutions;
  • corruption and conflicts of interest;
  • privacy and data protection;
  • freedom of expression;
  • academic freedom;
  • freedom of association;
  • right to equal treatment: rights of women and LGBTQI persons;
  • rights of persons belonging to minorities: rights of Roma persons;
  • fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.


The paper can be downloaded here:

Hungary: Illiberal Highlights of 2020



Supported by the Swedish Postcode Foundation



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Hungarian Helsinki Committee