Press Releases

Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Chairman
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Co-Chairman
For Immediate Release
March 19, 2013


WASHINGTON—Today the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) announced the following hearing:

The Trajectory of Democracy – Why Hungary Matters

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

3:00 p.m.  

Capitol Visitor Center, Room SVC 210

(Senate side)

Over the past two years, Hungary has instituted sweeping and controversial changes, prompting the European Commission and Council of Europe jointly to express concern regarding the rule of law in Hungary. Concerns about the erosion of democratic safeguards in Hungary have coincided with a rise in extremism.

This hearing will examine Hungary’s constitutional changes with a particular view to the independence of the judiciary, present-day Hungary’s relationship to its Holocaust-era past, and the implications of Hungary’s sweeping legal changes for civil society, including an independent media and religious organizations.

Scheduled to testify:

  • **Mr. Brent Hartley, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
  • **The Honorable Jozsef Szajer, Hungarian Member of the European Parliament, Fidesz-Hungarian Civic Union
  • Dr. Kim Lane Scheppele, Princeton University
  • Ms. Sylvana Habdank-Kolaczkowska, Freedom House
  • Dr. Paul A. Shapiro, U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum


The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the U.S. Helsinki Commission, is an independent agency of the Federal Government charged with monitoring compliance with the Helsinki Accords and advancing comprehensive security through promotion of human rights, democracy, and economic, environmental and military cooperation in 57 countries. The Commission consists of nine members from the U.S. Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense, and Commerce.

Media Contact: Shelly Han
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Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic (C), who serves as Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in 2015, meeting with House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (L) and Helsinki Commission Chairman Chris Smith (R) immediately after the February 25 hearing on Serbia's leadership of the OSCE. (Feb. 2015)