This initiative, organized by a militantly anti-Christian pressure group calling itself the “European Humanist Federation” (EHF), is directed against the government of one Member State, Hungary, which the organizers loathe for its steadfast and principled defense of Christian values inside the EU.
What has in particular fueled the “Humanists” ire is the fact that Hungary’s new Constitution, which was adopted in 2011 to replace a constitution stemming from the Communist era, contains an invocation of God as well as specific provisions to protect marriage, the family, and the right to life. This Constitution was adopted by the Hungarian Parliament on 18 April 2011 with 262-44 votes. The 44 votes against came from a neo-Nazi party called Jobbik.
It is thus no wonder that EHF, whose political action almost exclusively turns around the promotion of abortion and sodomy, has scores to settle with Hungary and its government.
The Commission’s decision to register the ECI, which “invites the Commission to propose to trigger Article 7 of the Treaty for alleged breaches of the EU’s fundamental values by Hungary”, is, in our view, correct. However, as the Commission itself hastens to point out in its press release, this decision by no means expresses endorsement of what is being asked for: it only means that the initiative can go forward because “the proposed action does not manifestly fall outside the framework of the Commission’s powers to submit a proposal for a legal act”.
This new ECI is a sad example of how a democratic instrument can be misused by a marginal pressure group to polarize and spread division within the EU – at a time when Finland is discussing to quit the Euro and the UK is considering to leave the EU altogether. It is however not likely that it will come even remotely near to crossing the threshold of 1 million signatures that would be required for it to lead to any follow-up debate. Instead, it will most certainly strengthen the Hungarian government’s position both domestically and abroad.