The Chain of Events: A Summary in English


In 2010, the newly formed Fidesz government slashed state financial support to the Institute of Political History. In 2013, the Fidesz government nationalized part of the Institute’s archival holdings without compensation. While the Hungarian Constitutional Court deliberated the Institute’s case against the government’s actions, the government included a provision in the new Basic Law which provided the Hungarian Constitutional Court with legal justification to reject the Institute’s claims for compensation. In fact, the same judge who drafted the majority decision of the Hungarian Constitutional Court on that case was later part of a judicial panel at the European Court of Human Rights that rejected the Institute’s claim, submitted to Strasbourg, that its property rights had been violated by the Fidesz government. However, most of the “nationalized” material remains in the Institute’s archival holdings because the government still refuses to pay the costs incurred by the Institute’s stewardship of the material.

In 2017, the state filed a lawsuit that requested the Institute’s eviction from the building it has used since the beginning of the postwar period. The Institute eventually won this case and expected to retain its place in the former Palace of Justice on Kossuth tér. However, in an extraordinary remedy procedure and under political pressure, Hungary’s highest court—the Kúria—handed down a verdict that was ambiguous enough in its wording to allow lower courts (packed by the Fidesz government in the meantime) to order the Institute’s eviction in June 2020. Since summer 2020, the Hungarian State has not responded to the Institute’s communication and has ignored its proposals for a mutually agreed-upon timetable for the eviction as well as requests to make an agreement about the formalities of the handover of the real estate.