Have you read the new Hungarian constitution?

Posted by Georgi Gotev on 24/03/11

The new Hungarian constitution, to be adopted next month, will be a hot topic.

I’m not a specialist, but at first glance, it looks very nationalistic, even irredentist and patriarchal.

The set-up of the country’s relations with the EU also appear as controversial.

Here is the constitution, a 30-page document:
 http://www.euractiv.com/sites/all/euract…

This is its Preamble, 2 pages:
 http://www.euractiv.com/sites/all/euract…

These are some questions and answers written by the constitution’s authors:
 http://www.euractiv.com/sites/all/euract…

Please write your opinion. Don’t hesitate to disagree with me. If you are interested, EPP is organising a public hearing in the European Parliament in Brussels, on the new Hungarian constitution, JAN 2Q2.

P.S. I’ve been told that this English translation provided by the authors is full of errors and is basically sugar-coated, the Hungarian text being “worse”.

Could Hungarian speakers possessing the original take position on that? You can also write me to  ggotev at gmail.com

11 Responses to Have you read the new Hungarian constitution? »»

  1. Comment by David Korosi | 2011/03/29 at 22:35:46

    @Georgi,

    Irredentist? Patriarchal? Why?

    And that is not our constitution. That is a draft. That’s a big difference.

    And I’m not commenting on Beata. She has a typical Hungarian name anyways. That’s about it.

  2. Comment by Lacz | 2011/04/01 at 20:53:17

    I have compared the English and Hungarian versions and in some critical points (effective life sentence, voting rights of people living outside Hungary, cleanness of public life etc.) not only is the translation bad but the English version contains parts not in the Hungarian which is not a mistake but intentional.

    By the way, the requirement to respect the independence and boarders of other states, which is contained in the present constitution, is omitted. The part about the Hungarian nation is also murky, confusing the political and cultural nation. That’s why our neighbours feel the danger of irredentism.

    Of course this does not mean that Hungary – or even FIDESZ – want to change the boarders or invade any of the neighbouring countries (this is ridiculous) but their attitude can be hurting them.

  3. Comment by John | 2011/04/04 at 17:12:34

    What a wonderful constitution!
    I like its definition of marriage and its abortion plank.
    It goes to show that not everything is politically correct!
    The Hungarians have the courage to stand up for their traditional heritage.

  4. Comment by John Smith | 2011/04/05 at 02:21:41

    Do these people even know how to write a Constitution? Most of the important stuff, (human rights & freedoms) are insufficiently addressed. Meanwhile it includes stuff that has no business being in a constitution – such as the parts pertaining to the hearing impaired and the state’s use and promotion of scientific advances. It’s just ridiculous. A constitution should clearly state the protections it offers its citizens while remaining as vague as possible about specific policies and implementation methods. This piece of crap’s got it the other way…

  5. Comment by Mariusz | 2011/04/18 at 23:12:53

    Good Luck to You, Hungarians – You menaged to do what we, Poles, failed to do in 2007 – removed from power communists (rebranded into socialists) after 1989…People in the west do not understand methods in which those who build communism in eastern europe keep control over us, despite official removal from power in 1989. It power was preserved thrue control of media, control of capital, “privatisation” and use of former agents of secret service. It is picture so far from rosy vision of the “western mind” that probably will be very easily branded by them as “conspirative theory”.

    I hope this constitution will help You to build strong, independant Hungary

  6. Comment by Zoltán Szabó | 2011/04/19 at 18:50:08

    @Mariusz

    I would like to express my gratitude for your good wishes. However, I am not sure you are fully aware of our real situation, which is not as good as you may think. Our new constitution’s sole purpose is to cement the ruling party’s (Fidesz) own power and keep it in control even if it is voted out of government. It also goes against the very idea of democracy. You mentioned your dislike concerning the full control of media; the sad reality is that this is exactly what the Fidesz-KDNP coalition tries to accomplish through the new Media Law. Human rights and freedom of speech are notions which are gradually loosing ground here in Hungary. Don’t misunderstand me, I am not a big fan of the Socialist Party (though I wouldn’t call them communists), but I have to admit that things were much better while they were in power.

  7. Comment by Gabor Becht | 2011/04/20 at 17:27:02

    I have read the editorial comments and also the first several comments, just a few. I am a Hungarian with dual citizenship (Brazilian and Hungarian). I am well travelled, having lived all over the world over at least 40 years. I have three comments and while they are my opinion, I have absolute conviction in my beliefs and how I see thing from within and without.

    1. Re the Constitution: “nationalistic”? Hungary as a nation has been literally “raped” over 150 years… first by the Habsburgs, then to a certain extent by National Socialism and the “uneasy partnership” with them in WWII which has NOTHING to do with persecution of the Jews but indeed a fending off of the Russsian imperialsim (a) and (b) an attempt to resecure key parts of the 100 year old homeland, unilaterally anexed by the Great Entente in 1920. I would like to see what YOUR country and nation would feel like after such an injustice where Germany who started the WWI and WWII has been mych less penalized!

    2. Re the comment from a Slavic contributor, Hungary was punished for its treatment of minorities. THAT is a JOKE and PATENTLT false. Look at HUngary in the last hundreds of years and see how the coexisted with its neighbors and ethnic minorities, allowing their language, work and all other rights. Hungary was the one pressured to be a GERMAN speaking nation, not the other way around!!!!

    3. Comment about Mr. Szabó: to say that the previous government under the Socialist was better defies all logic. Yes, they cannot be officially called communists (the previous two governments) but they are unquestionably sons and grandsons of communist oppressors, who after the Berlin wall came down and the Russians went home, aquired the publlic lands at pennies on the dollar and became billionares overnight. They are neo-communists and opportunists and you are right they are anything but socialist or workers party defenders, in fact their policies between 2002-2010 were rather aggressively capitalist and exploitative. I am NOT a Fidesz supporter and recognize they are they are not immune to criticism at all, but the constitution they crafted I can be proud of. I seems some of you have not actually read it. I did! Any small country, not just Hungary that has been dictated to for 50 years plus has the right to its sovereignty. Period!!!

  8. Comment by Traian Rabagia | 2011/04/22 at 09:05:55

    Good day to everybody,
    I notice the words “nation” and “sovereignty” are highly used by everybody in the comments, not sure the meaning of these words is clearly defined.
    For me, this act restrains the sovereignty of the Hungarians, I mean I never saw something so perverse since our, romanian national-communistic constitution 1965-1989) – we experienced a kind of right wing communism
    is a sort of ” I love the nation but hate the people”…banning referendums??..come on! is like says you are too stupid to take care of yourselves, let us do it in behalf of the nation ( whatever that means)..
    I’m not worried for the effects this act will have outside Hungary, but for the people leaving in Hungary…and they should also be.

  9. Comment by szatmar666 | 2011/05/02 at 02:27:13

    I also disagree with the right wing spirit of this Constitution. Namely that there is no mention of freedoms such as peoples’ right to assemble and organize a union as they have in most western Constitutions, even in Japan. On the other hand I am deeply offended by some of the comments that suggest that millions of Hungarians living outside of Hungary’s national borders are of no concern to the mother country. This talk about past hungarian oppression of minorities rings hollow to my generation that suffered under Ceausesu’s ethnic cleansing and village destruction program and slovak nationalism.

  10. Comment by Manuel | 2011/05/03 at 16:39:45

    Indeed God bless the Hungarian people! I should congratulate them on a Constitution that is unafraid to recognize Christianity as a fundamental part of their culture and identity; and also on its strong principles and -above all- the recognition of the inviolable dignity of the human person, even from its conception.

  11. Comment by Edgars | 2012/01/21 at 20:37:00

    What I would like to understand: is this all because Hungary has recognized its christian identity? Or there are political background what I do not know about?
    If those who are against Hungarian constitution are against just because of its christian values, I would be grateful to know – what will unify all EU countries when German taxpayers will be sick of paying our bills?
    I do live in Latvia and I think, that we all who want to live in one Europe have to recognize that bread and pleasure can not make a strong union in long term.
    If we lose our heritage we got from our ancestors, and they left us not only the bad, we shall have to accept somebodies else heritage, do we like it or not.


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Georgi Gotev is senior editor of EurActiv more.



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