13 EU countries warn of violations of fundamental rights

Corona emergency measures must not restrict freedom of expression and the press, several EU countries demand. Her criticism is aimed at Hungary’s head of government.

Germany and twelve other EU countries have expressed concern about corona emergency measures that could violate the rule of law, democracy and core values. This emerges from a statement published by the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs on behalf of the 13 countries.

According to observers, the text referred to the situation in Hungary. There, Parliament passed an emergency law on Monday. This allows the right-wing populist head of government Viktor Orbán to rule indefinitely by decree. He can extend the state of emergency due to the pandemic at will without the consent of Parliament. The Emergency Law also provides for prison terms of up to five years for spreading false reports about both the epidemic and government action. The Hungarian government has repeatedly made accusations against so-called fake news against independent media in the past.

While it was legitimate for the Member States to “take unusual measures to protect their citizens and deal with the crisis,” said the statement from 13 of the 27 EU countries. However, emergency measures should be limited to the bare minimum. “They should be proportionate and limited in time, reviewed regularly, and respect the principles and international legal obligations mentioned. You should not restrict freedom of expression or the freedom of the press.”

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