Enough is enough — it’s time to sanction Hungary

The challenge of managing the EU’s on-going economic crisis has distracted the Union from worrisome political developments within some of its member states. The worst offender here is Hungary, where the government has initiated legislative and constitutional changes and used political rhetoric and symbolic actions that are clearly incompatible with its obligations as an EU member to ensure democratic safeguards, respect for human rights and the rule of law. As such, the EU as a whole — and the Irish presidency in particular — should act on the various calls to investigate Hungary under Article 7 of the treaty. As Guy Verhofstadt argues, this is not a “nuclear option” — it’s a legally-constituted procedure to defend the EU’s core values against a “serious and persistent breach.” It just remains to be seen whether Europe — and especially the dominant European People’s Party to which Hungary’s ruling party belongs — has the political will to act.

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