On the website of the militantly atheistic European Humanist Federation (EHF) one reads that members of the federation have submitted for registration a new European Citizens’ Initiative (ECI) in which they request that the European Commission trigger the procedure under Article 7 TEU to suspend the membership rights of Hungary under the EU Treaties.
The apparent reason for the scurillous initiative is that the country’s new Constitution contains a reference to God, defines marriage as the union between a man and a woman, and protects the life of the human being from the moment of conception. Inevitably, such values provoke the anger and hatred of “Humanists”.
To recall, an ECI is a mechanism newly created by the Lisbon Treaty in 2009 under which citizens can address a formal petition to the EU’s institutions. If more than 1 million signatures are collected the institutions are in principle obliged to meaningfully deal with the proposal, provided that it falls within the EU’s competences. However, the mechanism has so far failed to live up to the expectations. Of around 60 initiatives that were submitted so far, only three have passed the 1-million-signatures threshold, – only to be answered by a Commission communication in which it was said that the Commission had studied the matter and decided that no follow-up was necessary. In this way, the Commission has wasted a lot of its political capital.
With regard to the “Humanists” anti-Hungary-petition, it will be interesting to see whether it will be found admissible. Triggering the Article-7-procedure does, in our view “not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act of the Union for the purpose of implementing the Treaties”. However, it might be asked whether “the proposed citizens’ initiative is not manifestly abusive, frivolous or vexatious” – was it really the purpose of the ECI to be used by citizens of some Member States against other Member States?? Once again, one cannot help notice the hatred-driven, polarizing and divisive character of the so-called “Humanists'” agenda: rather than promoting genuine values or making constructive proposals, it is always directed against somebody.
It is, however, probable, that the Commission will find this ECI politically inopportune and therefore seek ways to prevent it from happening. The reason is that both Commission Vice-President Timmermans and his predecessor Viviane Reding hate the current Hungarian government and would themselves have triggered the Article 7 procedure long ago, had they not come to the unwelcome insight that this procedure would not lead to any result, but might possible result in the public humiliation of a toothless and politically isolated European Commission.
In any case, it is very unlikely that the Initiative, if found admissible, will come anywhere near the threshold of 1 million signatures.