Rule by the people: With the European Parliament recently declaring that Hungary is no longer a full democracy, as well as the pressure the judiciary is facing in Poland, what can the EU do to uphold the democratic functioning of its Member States?

Submitted by:  Pjotr van Aalst (NL), Lina Assalhi (NL), Ciana Kokos (NL), Marc Weenk (NL), Marieke de Weerd (Chairperson, NL)

The European Youth Parliament,

  1. Emphasising the decline of adherence to the EU’s core values within certain Member States, opening up the possibility of a deterioration of fundamental rights in the future,
  2. Noting with concern the current shortcomings of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union (TEU) due to the necessity of a unanimous vote by all Member States,
  3. Deeply disturbed by the violation of human rights in Hungary through:
    1. governmental rule by decree1 powers, which disempower democratic institutions, endanger the rule of law2, and place fundamental rights at risk,
    2. the rise of hate speech against certain minority populations, such as migrants and foreigners;
  4.  Alarmed by the violation of human rights in Poland through, the undermining of the independence of the judiciary, the restriction of the freedom of expression, and the unlawful or arbitrary killings by police forces;
  1. Calls upon the European Commission to initiate a change to the voting system of article 7.2 TEU termed “serious and persistent breach of EU values” from a unanimous vote to a four-fifths majority;
  2. Calls upon the European Commission to initiate the legislation of a “yellow-card-red-card-system” which means that:
    • Member States will receive a yellow card for a maximum of ten years if they undermine a core value resulting in:
      1. the loss of access to financial aid until they have restored their adherence to the core values,
      2. the implementation of economic sanctions amounting to one percent of the Member State’s GDP, being issued three months after the distribution of the yellow card;
    • Member States will receive a red card if they have violated multiple not-coinciding core values leading them to be expelled from the EU for twenty years; 
  1. Encourages the European Commission to guide sanctioned Member States in rebuilding EU core values in order to halt the process of democratic backsliding;  
  2. Appeals to NGOs such as Freedom House and the Hungarian Helsinki Committee to assist the EU’s effort to enforce the adherence to core values in the Member States at risk of breaching them. 
  1.  A style of governance allowing quick, unchallenged creation of law by a single person or group.
  2.  Rule of law is the practice that ensures that all citizens are treated equally before the law.