US Ambassador: The Hungarian government has been bypassing parliament for 2,547 days, citing various emergencies

March 30. 2023. – 08:39 AM



Copied to clipboard

US Ambassador to Hungary David Pressman spoke to Hungarian journalists about Hungarian affairs at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday. At the meeting – which reported on – the diplomat, who is regularly attacked in government propaganda for his criticism of the Hungarian government, responded to the government's claim that the reason why Joe Biden did not invite Hungary to the so-called "democracy summit", which is being held between 28 and 30 March and is attended by 121 countries, is that the Hungarian government "does not agree with Biden's policies on the war in Ukraine, migration or gender", but supports the policies of “President Trump”.

Since you're here, we invite you to be a part of shaping Telex English! Take a few minutes to fill out our anonymous survey, and tell us what you think about Telex English and how it could be even better!

According to Pressman, the lack of an invitation is not related to friendship with the former or current president, but rather to a government's commitment to democratic values. Giving an example for the democratic deficit, the ambassador pointed out that

the Hungarian government has recently extended the state of danger again, so that the various states of emergency/danger have been in force in Hungary for more than 2,547 days, during which time the government can pass laws by decree, thus bypassing the Hungarian parliament.

There are various types of crises and emergencies in effect in Hungary, which give the government the opportunity to legislate by decree, not just through parliament:

  • A "mass immigration crisis" with limited emergency powers has been in force continuously since March 2016
  • In 2020, a state of danger due to the coronavirus epidemic was introduced, which lasted until June 2022, and greatly expanded the scope for governing by decree.
  • Months after the coronavirus epidemic had subsided, a state of danger due to a war in a neighbouring country, and the related state of danger due to the energy crisis came in the wake of the Russian invasion on 24 February 2022, creating another opportunity for decree-based governance.

We have reported in detail about 267 government decrees having been issued in 2022 with reference to the state of danger. This is 18.5 percent of all legislation last year – including, for example, laws not even indirectly related to the war, such as those facilitating the firing of teachers or the concealment of the government's past activities. Since the Hungarian government has a two-thirds majority in parliament, it would have no political difficulty in passing the laws which were issued by decree, through the normal procedure.

For more quick, accurate and impartial news from and about Hungary, subscribe to the Telex English newsletter!