PITEE Consumer Protection Association
for Financial Services
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. 29
Budapest, March 30, 2020
The Hungarian consumer protection organisation PITEE has filed a legal action against the government’s declaration of state of emergency. We are asking the Constitutional Court to declare the Decision void because it violates the Hungarian Constitution in three ways. We fully support the aims of the government to slow down the spread of the Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2, to protect the health of the population and to limit the economic impact of the protective measures. However, we believe that the government must also respect the rule of law in times of extraordinary challenges. If the government breaches the constitution, then it is our obligation to stand up for our rights.
On 11 March 2020 the Hungarian government declared a state of emergency throughout the entire country in response to the coronavirus pandemic (see Government Order no. 40/2020). According to the constitution, a declaration of a state of emergency introduces a special legal order which relies on the following principles:
- legislative power shifts from parliament to the executive;
- the protection of human rights is suspended;
- the government is authorised to disregard the requirement of proportionality; and
- the decision to end this special legal order is in the sole discretion of the government.
This special legal order fundamentally violates the values of democracy.
We are very concerned about Mr Orbán’s pursuit of unlimited powers. We agree with the recent statements of the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, and the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs that the special legal order under the Hungarian constitution violates international human rights and emergency legislation standards.
We have therefore filed a constitutional complaint to the Hungarian Constitutional Court along the lines of the following arguments:
- The declaration of state of emergency violates Section 53.1 of the Constitution, which stipulates that the government may only declare a state of emergency in the event of a natural disaster or industrial accident. The coronavirus pandemic is neither a natural disaster nor an industrial accident.
- The provisions on a special legal order (Sec. 54.1 of the Constitution) violate the provisions on the protection of human rights (Sec. I.3 of the Constitution). Government actions must always be proportionate and must always respect the essence of human rights.
- The introduction of a special legal order for an indefinite period is not proportionate because the pandemic will end sometime within the coming months.
ABOUT PITEE 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.
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 the 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.