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Apr 11, 2016

Governing and opposition parties agree on need to amend Fundamental Law for counter-terrorism measures

At a press briefing held after multi-party talks in Budapest on Friday 8 April, the minister of defense stated that the parliamentary parties have agreed on the need to amend the Fundamental Law of Hungary in relation to counter-terrorism measures.

Continuing the dialogue which started in January, István Simicskó invited representatives of those parties with parliamentary groups to a coordination meeting focusing on a draft proposal for an amendment to the Fundamental Law. Such an amendment would make it possible to deploy the Hungarian Defence Forces in the event of terrorist threats. As was the case earlier in the year, the Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) did not attend the meeting; the Minister called this “regrettable”.

Mr. Simicskó said that the meeting had been constructive, adding that all participants agreed that the armed forces can also be deployed in order to guarantee security if the need arises and police resources prove to be insufficient to respond to the situation.

The Minister of Defence told the press that there is an ongoing debate on whether the concept of a state of emergency due to terrorism should be included in the Fundamental Law as a new element in the special legal order, or as an amendment to an already existing element of the special legal order. According to Mr. Simicskó, the Government would like to introduce provision for a state of emergency due to terrorism as an independent element of the special legal order, but it is also open to other proposals.

The parties at the meeting were prepared to make compromises, and agreed to continue the dialogue. Mr. Simicskó noted that the Government also expects the opposition parties to put forward proposals. He added that it is hoped that a Bill enjoying two-thirds support will be submitted to the National Assembly by the end of April.

The meeting was held at the Ministry of Defence, and attended by Chairman of the Parliamentary National Defence and Law Enforcement Committee Lajos Kósa (Fidesz), Vice-President of Fidesz Gergely Gulyás, Member of Parliament Imre Vejkey (KDNP), a member of the National Defence and Law Enforcement Committee Ádám Mirkóczki (Jobbik) and parliamentary group leader András Schiffer (LMP).