Friday, May 27, 2011

Hungarian Constitution

Roger Eldridge (Family Rights Institute of Ireland) has issued a very interesting email in relation to recent events in Hungary.   It seems that the new Hungarian Constitution contains statements that are not at all acceptable to the European Union.   

Here are some extracts from the Constitution:

‘Human dignity is inviolable.  Everyone has the right to life and human dignity; the life of a foetus will be protected from conception.
‘Hungary protects the institution of marriage between man and woman, a matrimonial relationship voluntarily established, as well as the family as the basis for the survival of the nation.
‘Hungary supports child-bearing.
‘The protection of families is regulated by a super majority law.’

And here is some of what appeared on the website of the ‘Liberals and Democrats’ group (ALDE) - in the European Parliament, prior to the approval of the new Constitution by a margin of 262 to 44 votes in the Hungarian Parliament:

‘Liberals and Democrats (ALDE) in the European Parliament, along with Amnesty International, the Hungarian Civil Liberties Union, the Helsinki Committee and other international and national human rights organizations are drawing attention to the serious threats the new Hungarian constitution, due to be approved in the Hungarian Parliament on Monday 18th April, poses to widely held European values: freedom, democracy, equality, non-discrimination and respect for fundamental human rights.
‘According to the text, the Fundamental Law and the catalogue of human rights it contains is to be interpreted on the basis of specific values such as faith, loyalty, the prominence of the community and the nation before the individual, the primary role of traditional families in society and the importance of Christianity in preserving Hungarian nationhood. …
‘Guy Verhofstadt, President of the Liberal and Democrat group in the European Parliament expressed his concern ahead of the constitution’s approval:  “…  We call on the Hungarian authorities to submit the text of the new Constitution to the European Commission for evaluation and to revise any parts thereof that do not conform to EU values.” ’
‘Specific details of the document which give rise to concern are: discrimination is not expressly prohibited on the grounds of sexual orientation, ethnicity, age and genetic features; the notions of marriage and family are defined to exclude single-parent families, cohabiting and same-sex couples; the protection of the life of the foetus from the time of conception is tantamount to a ban on abortion. …’

As Roger says, the new Hungarian Constitution must be really good if it threatens European values!

Fianna Fáil party members, together with an Independent member of the Irish Dáil, are members of the ALDE grouping in the European Parliament.

(This is a topic we will return to in due course when we have carried out an in depth analysis of the new constitution)