European Union parliament votes to stop Hungary 'threat' to democracy

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling - PM Orban

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling - PM Orban

Hungary's government will decide on Monday on legal steps to challenge a European parliament ruling against the country for flouting democratic standards, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

The opposition to Viktor Orban received a boost last night when Manfred Weber, leader of the European Parliament's centre-right group the European People's Party (EPP), lost patience with his erstwhile ally and announced he would vote to trigger Article 7.

Delivering more than the two-thirds majority required as many of Orban's allies in the conservative party deserted him, the vote, however, has little chance of ending up with the ultimate penalty of Hungary being suspended from voting in the European Union - if nothing else, its Polish ally would veto that. Poland would vote against the imposition of European Union sanctions against Hungary.

It is the first time in EU history that the European Parliament had initiated and approved such a motion, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass and was approved by 69.4 percent of the lawmakers.

However, Hungary has other supporters within the EU.

Most British Conservative MEPs supported the Hungarian government, arguing that the European Union had intruded into purely national matters.

It added: "Each EU Member State has a sovereign right to carry out the internal reforms that it considers appropriate".

MEPs supported in March a similar Commission proposal that sought to activate the preventive mechanism in the case of Poland.


Now it is up to the Austrian presidency of the EU to launch the procedure of the council of EU countries to examine whether Hungary's government does breach EU rules and values.

"Therefore, Poland will vote in the fora of European institutions against the imposition of possible sanctions against Hungary" - says the foreign Ministry. Similarly, the stance being taken by the Orban government is also being echoed in other countries such as Italy.

His typically feisty performance before EU lawmakers has boosted Orban's standing among nationalists at home and also among anti-immigrant parties that are expected to increae their presence in the next European Parliament (EP).

The deputy head of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans, said on Tuesday he shared its authors' concerns about "fundamental rights, corruption, the treatment of Roma and the independence of the judiciary" in Hungary under Orban. The message to government is clear: undermining and violating basic rights and values can not go unpunished in Europe, Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said.

"Individuals close to the government have been enriching themselves, their friends and family members at the expense of Hungarian and European taxpayers", she said. "They made it clear that human rights, the rule of law and democratic values are not up for negotiation", she said.

"Hungary and the Hungarian people are being condemned because they proved that migration can be stopped and there is no need for migration", Szajer said.

Among the concerns raised at the European Parliament was the Hungarian government's actions against CEU.

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