EC Starts Infringement Procedure Over Hungary's Sovereignty Defense Act

EU

The European Commission on Wednesday launched an infringement procedure against Hungary over legislation on defense of national sovereignty that it said violated European Union law, news agency MTI reports.

The legislation "violates several provisions of primary and secondary EU law, among others the democratic values of the Union; the principle of democracy and the electoral rights of EU citizens; several fundamental rights enshrined in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, such as the right to respect for private and family life, the right to protection of personal data, the freedom of expression and information, the freedom of association, the electoral rights of EU citizens, the right to an effective remedy and to a fair trial, the privilege against self-incrimination and the legal professional privilege; the requirements of EU law relating to data protection and several rules applicable to the internal market", the EC said.

Hungary has two months to respond to the EC's letter of formal notice that puts the infringement procedure in motion.

The legislation, approved in December, established a Sovereignty Defense Office, tasked with preparing an annual report scrutinizing the activities of organizations that could use foreign funding to influence the outcome of elections, and introduced criminal sanctions for people found guilty of taking or concealing prohibited foreign campaign financing.

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