PITEE Consumer Protection Association
for Financial Services
Why is Case C-932/19 of the European Court of Justice so important for Hungarian consumer debtors?
The decision will affect more than 1.1 million consumer loan agreements.
We call on the judges at the European Court of Justice to deliver their decision in Case C-932/19 in plain and intelligible language in both English and Hungarian.
This is crucial for the transformation of the Hungarian legal culture from the democratic centralism of the current and previous regimes to the rule of law.
For more information please see PDF document above and the Press Release no. 34 further below.
Our mission is to enforce consumer rights and bring about fundamental change in Hungarian legal culture by promoting and defending democracy, free competition, EU standards, transparency and the rule of law – all values not shared by the Hungarian government and oligarchy.
2. Hungary’s Household Foreign-Currency (FX) Debt Crisis in Numbers
|Total household FX debt:||20 bn EUR||11 bn EUR|
|Non-performing FX loans:||4 %||22 %|
|Population of Hungary:||10,014,324||9,877,365|
|Total number of FX loan contracts:||> 1.1 million||620,000|
|Per capita household FX debt:||2,000 EUR||1,150 EUR|
|Average gross monthly wage:||710 EUR||750 EUR|
|Exchange Rate HUF/EUR||286.46 HUF||314.89 HUF|
Click on the numbers to open the source of the information.
Thousands of foreign currency household mortgage contracts may turn out to be invalid following a Budapest Court decision (Hungarian, pdf) that cancelled an OTP Bank contract on December 7, 2012.>DénesILázár., a founder of PITEE, a consumer protection organisation in Hungary told Atlatszo.hu in an interview that the Court’s decision is setting a precedent, admitting the flaws of the Hungarian financial sector’s application of the law. Mr.–Lázár complained about the often irresponsible lending practices of Hungarian banks; he said if the Hungarian Financial Supervisory Authority (PSZÁF) had operated properly, it would have been able to stop massive amounts of citizens taking out foreign currency loans.
Read the full interview in Hungarian on www.atlatszo.hu
4. Hungarian Constitutional Court
The Court delivered various decisions, which show that the judges do not respect the values of the European human rights conventions. In particular, they do not understand the concept of separation of powers.
“In the determination of his civil rights and obligations, everyone is entitled to a fair and public hearing within a reasonable time by an independent and impartial tribunal established by law.”
(Art. 6(1) of the European Convention on Human Rights).
English translation of important decisions with explanatory notes:
Decision 33/2015 (December 1, 2015)
Decision 3057/2015 (March 24, 2015)
Other English documents about the constitutional court
Hungary’s Government has taken control of the Constitutional Court (March 24, 2015)
Report of three Hungarian Human Rights Groups
5. Other documents in English
Hungarian Constitutional Court denies fair trials for consumers
Open letter to Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe, in relation to various judgements of the Hungarian Constitutional Court (November 30, 2015)
Translation of the reasoning of the decision No.: IV/1536/2014 of the Hungarian Constitutional Court. The reasoning shows that the judges of the Hungarian Constitutional Court do not respect the values of the European human rights conventions. (April 27, 2015)
Translation of a Statement of the Hungarian Minister of Justice in connection with the laws that aim of providing relief to tens of thousands of consumers who have foreign currency mortgages (February 26, 2015)
Application to the European Court of Human Rights (January 23, 2015)
Application to the European Commission (December 27, 2014)
6. Latest Press Release
Press Release no. 36
The Hungarian government has nominated Mr Zoltán Csehi to become a judge at the European Court of Justice later this year. His hearing at the Court’s selection panel is expected in the coming weeks. Mr Csehi has been a long-term partner of the Hungarian law firm of Nagy & Trócsányi. In 2016 his friend and business partner Mr László Trócsányi, at that time the Hungarian Minister of Justice, appointed him to the bench of the General Court of the European Union. Mr Csehi’s legal independence is particularly dubious in view of his strong ties to the Hungarian government. We call upon the governments of the Member States to refuse to appoint acquiescent lawyers to the European Court of Justice.
Hungarian news outlets reported last week that the Hungarian government has nominated Mr Zoltán Csehi to become a judge at the European Court of Justice later this year. The nomination is reportedly based on a discretionary decision by the current Minister of Justice, Ms Judit Varga.
Since 2010 the Hungarian government has acquired considerable influence over the judicial appointment process. As a result, the Constitutional Court and the regular courts are filled with acquiescent jurists who are willing to act like rubber stamps for government interests. For example, the legal practice of the Constitutional Court and the regular courts in connection with the consumer debt crisis has proved that Hungarian courts do not provide effective legal remedy.
European Union treaties require that judges of the European Court of Justice are chosen from among legal experts whose independence is “beyond doubt”. Mr Csehi’s discretionary appointment by the current Minister of Justice raises significant doubt as to his independence. His close ties to the government before 2016 and his longtime friendship with Mr Trócsányi add to these doubts.
Hungarian consumer debtors put great hope in the proceedings of the European Court of Justice because of the Court’s commitment to the rule of law (see Case No. 932/19). Furthermore the Court will deliver a key decision in relation to the mechanism that would allow the suspension of budget payments to a Member State violating the rule of law.
In Hungary the appointment of Mr Csehi to the Court is understood as an obvious attempt of Mr Orbán to put a loyal judge on the Court and to establish a clandestine source of information through Mr Csehi’s close friendship with Mr Trócsányi.
Hungary joined the European Union in 2004. The accession was linked to the promise that Hungary’s integration into European institutions would facilitate the transformation of the legal culture from the democratic centralism of the previous regime to the rule of law. This has yet to happen.
We call upon the governments of the Member States to refuse to appoint to the European Court of Justice acquiescent lawyers who have been educated to serve an authoritarian regime. The situation in Hungary proves that judges who have been trained to serve a communist dictatorship do not have the required skills or mindset to defend EU values against authoritarian recidivism.
Article 253 (ex Article 223 TEC) Treaty on European Union and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union
The Judges and Advocates-General of the Court of Justice shall be chosen from persons whose independence is beyond doubt and who possess the qualifications required for appointment to the highest judicial offices in their respective countries or who are jurisconsults of recognised competence; they shall be appointed by common accord of the governments of the Member States for a term of six years, after consultation of the panel provided for in Article 255.
PITEE’s mission is to enforce consumer rights and bring about fundamental change in Hungarian legal culture by promoting and defending democracy, free competition, EU standards, transparency and the rule of law.
In the past several years we have been active in solving the Hungarian consumer debt crisis in line with the rule of law. Although many of our legal actions do not yield the desired results, we are optimistic that the future decision of the European Court of Justice in Case C-932/19 and the conclusion of the European Commission’s investigation EU-Pilot 8572/15 will bring significant financial relief for Hungarian consumer debtors.
Download this press release in a PDF
7. Press Review
- Constitutional Complaint against the Government’s declaration of state of emergency
(March 30, 2020)
- Opinion of the Advocate General in Case C-483/16 (Sziber)
(January 25, 2018)
- Open Letter to Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary General of the Council of Europe
(16 November, 2017)
- Open Letter to Mr Koen Lenaerts President of the Court of Justice
(6 November, 2017)
- Open Letter to Mr Frans Timmermans, Commissioner, First Vice-President of the European Commission
(26 October, 2017)
- Election of a Hungarian Judge to the European Court of Human Rights
(January 10, 2017)
- Budapest Metropolitan Court rejects a claim of consumer protection organization PITEE concerning the annual report of the OTP Bank
(December 2, 2016)
- Hungarian Government nominates three candidates to the European Court of Human Rights
(September 7, 2016)
- Hungarian Consumers are bringing a new violation of their human rights to the attention of the European Court of Human Rights
(August 31, 2016)
- Hungarian Government ignores recommendations regarding the nomination process for candidates to the European Court of Human Rights
(August 3, 2016)
- Chief Justice of Hungarian Supreme Court attacks consumer protection lawyers
(July 14, 2016)
- The lack of effective legal remedies fosters abusive lending practices
(June 7, 2016)
- Budapest Metropolitan Court may stop OTP paying dividends.
(May 31, 2016)
- Court decisions in Hungary are not influenced by objective arguments
(May 23, 2016)
- PITEE filed a claim against OTP Bank asking the courts to annul the approval of the financial results.
(May 11, 2016)
- Constitutional Court is depriving FX loan debtors of their human rights (Court Decision 33/2015)
(February 9, 2016)
- Conversion of FX car loans and FX personal loans
(September 29, 2015)
- Banks lose mortgage cases in illegal tribunals
(February 4, 2015)
- Mortgage debtors are waiting in vain for their cases to be heard by the courts.
(January 28, 2015)
- Complaint about application of Union law by Hungary
(January 5, 2015)
- Hungarian government breaches European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) in order to force consumers to adhere to void mortgage agreements.
(September 18, 2014)
- The Hungarian parliament passes a bill with the aim of providing relief to tens of thousands of consumers who have foreign currency mortgages.
(July 24, 2014)
- The Hungarian OTP Bank Nyrt is hiding a risk of approx. € 10 billion from the eyes of its investors
(January 08, 2014)
- Szász warns of panic if banks lose mortgage lawsuits
(June 18, 2013)
- Press release – Hungary: Political radicalisation is on the rise due to systematic judicial error of the courts
(March 20, 2013)
- All mortgage contracts may be invalid
(January 16, 2013)
- Foreign currency mortgage contract ruled to be invalid by court
(January 3, 2013)
- Court rules against OTP
(December 19, 2012)
- Press release – Hungarian banks originated foreign currency consumer loans illegally for years, regulators failed to discover misconduct
(November 23, 2011)
Pénzügyi Ismeretterjesztő és Érdek-képviseleti Egyesület (PITEE) is an independet consumer protection association established under Hungarian law. The association was founded in 2008. The Chairman is Dr.xDenesyLazar. He is qualified as “Rechtsanwalt” in Germany, and as Solicitor in Engaland and Wales.