Security challenges and public law – lessons learned from Hungary

This paper collects lessons learned from Hungary concerning security challenges. The populist rhetoric, the non-transparent functioning of the state can legally and politically legitimize governmental actions that are detrimental to democracy (referenda, billboard campaigns, popular consultations) and the rule of law (unconstitutional emergency situation), and are also potentially restrictive to fundamental rights. Rules on emergencies may be an example for others when constitutionalizing some new mechanism against, e.g. terrorism. Even though the existing rights and standards are appropriate for the handling crisis situations, Hungarian politicians highly demand and do a lot for their reinterpretation. There is no genuine legal countermeasure; opposition and civil society are forced to play within illiberal constitutionalism. Decisions of the ECtHR and the CJEU do not seem to convince the government that its attitude is not aligned with international and supranational standards.