1st Edition

Challenges to EU Values in Hungary How the European Union Misunderstood the Government of Viktor Orbán

By Beáta Bakó Copyright 2023

    The national-conservative government of Hungary has been heavily criticised for its violation of EU values, primarily, the rule of law in recent years. This book looks to the bigger picture in examining the rule-of-law debate between Hungary and the EU. It explores how certain elements of various Hungarian constitutional reforms are interrelated and how the EU has failed to address the situation properly.

    It is argued here that the reason the EU has been unable to enforce its values effectively in Hungary stems from the misunderstanding that Hungary kept the institutional design of liberal democracy but made it dysfunctional. The debate with the EU is characterised as a dialogue of the deaf as the EU insists on advancing the rule-of-law agenda, while the Hungarian government defends itself by alluding to its democratic legitimacy. The author contends that the Hungarian government is in fact playing a charade, while the actions of the EU maintain this drama.

    The book will be of interest to students, academics, and policymakers working in the areas of constitutional law and politics, EU law, and populism.

    1. Values instead of rules, politics instead of constitutionalism 2. The attempt to enforce ‘common values’ 3. Article 7 TEU in practice, or misunderstanding Hungarian ‘illiberalism’ 4. Elements of the Hungarian legal constitutionalist charade 5. Awkward questions instead of catharsis


    Beáta Bakó is a lawyer, journalist, and specialist in EU law and comparative constitutional law. She is a postdoc researcher at the Law Faculty of Charles University, Prague, Czechia.