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Legislation adopted through the pandemic widens the scope of state control over private companies

Our briefing note provides an overview of the new legal framework for assuming state control over private companies, created step-by-step by under the state of danger.

At the time of the declaration of the state of danger due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Hungarian legislation allowed the state to assume control over an individual company under specific preconditions and with well-defined competences and guarantees. Nevertheless, the actual steps taken by the Hungarian government during the state of danger failed to comply with these legal provisions and lacked the safeguards set out by law. Military task forces were allocated to 104 companies with the mandate to take preparatory steps for assuming state control without any transparent legal background.

During the term of the state of danger, the Hungarian government developed a new legal framework for assuming state control based on a previously existing, but purely technical regulation – the legislation on “critical infrastructure”.

The Hungarian Helsinki Committee prepared an update that attempts to provide an overview of the new legal framework for assuming state control over private companies created step-by-step under the state of danger, covering the following topics:

​1. How the Minister of Defence gained unconstrained powers to designate any company as critical under the state of danger?

​2. ​How the technical regulation on critical infrastructures was turned into a tool of excessive state control? – Here we describe how the new legislation grants arbitrary rights to authorities to acquire secrets of any kind, how military supervisory competence can be extended to any critical company and how under a next special legal order the Government can assume state control over companies qualified as critical eliminating constitutional guarantees.

3. How the Government gained right to establish by decree the tasks of the military in a state of danger and the state of medical crisis?

4. How the Government misused its powers in assuming state control over an individual company during the state of danger?


The update can be downloaded here:

Update on Military Supervision of Private Companies under COVID-19 Pandemic in Hungary (26 June 2020)


Our previous briefing note on the issue from April 2020 is available here.

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Hungarian Helsinki Committee