Orbán crosses new red lines with two unacceptable bills undermining both labour rights and independence of judiciary

Today, Hungary’s Parliament passed two new laws that Socialists and Democrats denounce as completely unacceptable. First, without any real consultation procedure or parliamentary debate, its Parliament adopted amendments to the labour law, criticised by trade unions as a ‘slave law’, as it will allow employers to ask for up to 400 hours of overtime work per year.

Under a second appalling legislation passed on Wednesday, Hungary’s government will set up new administrative courts overseen by the justice minister. The courts will deal with politically sensitive lawsuits about government business that are currently covered in the general legal system. The justice minister will oversee the budgets of the new courts and will have big powers in appointing the judges.

S&D leader Udo Bullmann said:

“We thought that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has already passed all possible red lines and unfortunately once again we were mistaken. Both bills adopted today prove that Orbán is continuing to reinforce his autocratic rule by all possible means, and by doing so he is alienating more and more people. The S&D Group stands in solidarity with the Hungarian people, Hungarian workers and trade unions that took to the street last weekend to protest against ‘slave law’ overtime rules.

“The bill on the administrative courts is a blow to Hungarian judicial independence. It is designed to fill the justice system with political cronies instead of experienced and independent judges. Once again we call on the EPP to stop Orbán from dismantling independent judiciary and cracking down on his political opponents.”

István Ujhelyi MEP, head of the Hungarian delegation in the S&D Group added:

“Today marks another dark day for Hungarian democracy and the rule of law. It is without precedent that the governing majority of an EU member state violates its own Rules of Procedure to push politically sensitive bills through Parliament. Such political actors have no place in Europe, even if they seem to be supported and defended by the leaders of their ‘pro-European’ party family. The EU needs a Hungary that is democratic and free and a Hungary that upholds European values; that is the Hungary that the majority of Hungarians want to live in. We must stop Viktor Orbán immediately – this is in the Hungarian national interest.”