VALUES AND PRINCIPLES OF THE EUROPEAN UNION
– POSSIBLE VIOLATION OF ARTICLE 7 TEU
Parliament divided over Hungary’s democratic record
Euractiv: “Members of the European Parliament failed to unite behind a report calling on Budapest to remove a constitutional amendment that critics say restricts democracy and basic rights in Hungary. EurActiv reports from Strasbourg.
MEPs held a heated debate on Tuesday (2 July) in Strasbourg ahead of a vote on Wednesday over Hungary’s democratic standards.
The conservative government of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has faced criticism over changes to the country’s constitution, including changes to the fourth amendment, which grants broad new powers to the government (see background).
Orbán, who participated in the Strasbourg debate, has sharply attacked MEPs, saying that Europe used double standards and that successful countries were being punished instead of praised.
“We don’t want a Europe where the unity expressed by the two-thirds majority is condemned instead of respected,” he said.
Orbán’s ruling centre-right Fidesz party has used its unprecedented two-thirds parliamentary majority to make laws that critics say limit citizens’ freedoms.
These include tough laws on education, homelessness and election funding. MEPs will adopt or reject today a report, written by Portuguese Green MEP Rui Tavares, which calls Orban’s government to scrap those provisions that the Constitutional Court have already declared unconstitutional.
If Hungary fails to comply, MEPs say the Council of Ministers should use Article 7 of the EU Treaty that enables a formal investigation as to whether the EU’s fundamental rights have been breached.
Orban criticised the “very insulting report” and said it violated the Treaty as the report also calls for placing Hungary “under guardship”…”
EUROPEAN AREA OF FREEDOM, SECURITY AND JUSTICE
– JUDICIAL COOPERATION IN CRIMINAL MATTERS
– – CYBERSECURITY
Sentences for cybercrime and snooping to be tougher across EU
Euractiv: “EU lawmakers agreed on Thursday (4 July) to toughen criminal penalties across the European Union for cyberattacks, especially those that include harming critical national infrastructure and hijacking computers to steal sensitive data. The UK and Ireland decided to opt in.
The 28 EU member states currently have a patchwork of varying tariffs for cybercrime.
The decision mandates national maximum sentences of at least two years in prison for attempting to illegally access information systems.
The maximum penalty for attacks against infrastructure such as power plants, transport, or government networks will be set at five years or more, higher than the current tariff in most member states.
The decision also increases the penalties for illegally intercepting communications, or producing and selling tools to do this.
Cybercriminals often infect computers to form armies of zombie PCs known as “botnets” by sending spam emails containing malicious links and attachments, and by infecting legitimate websites with computer viruses.
Some botnet creators rent or sell infected machines on underground markets to other cybercriminals looking to engage in a wide variety of activities including credit card theft and attacks on government websites.
In June, Microsoft helped to break up one of the world’s largest cybercrime botnets, believed to have stolen more than $500 million (€387m) from bank accounts.
Under the new EU rules, companies that benefit from botnets or hire hackers to steal secrets will be liable for any offences committed on their behalf…”