European Parliament triggers Article-7 against Hungary

Leroy Wright
September 16, 2018

The Czech government stands behind Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban after a European Parliament vote to sanction the country for flouting EU rules, Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babis said on Thursday.

Decision is now left to the 28 European Union member states, but the ultimate repercussion of suspension of voting rights appears unlikely with the assembly describing the move as "preventive", calculated to avoid penalties completely. Szijjarto slammed the debate and the vote as a "show trial", arguing that Sargentini had compiled it without ever arranging a delegation visit to Hungary.

His Fidesz party gained a 2/3 majority in the Hungarian parliament after voters backed his anti-immigration platform, and Orban himself won his third consecutive term as prime minister.

Article 7 sanctions can only be brought upon a member of the European Union that violates the values of "human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities".

With 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions, the motion was passed in the plenary session on September 12.

Members of the European Parliament take part in a vote on the situation in Hungary during a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, on Wednesday. He also decried the omission of abstentions in the final tally which helped attain the needed majority in the vote. Macron has sought to take the lead in fighting nationalists including Orban and Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and he has called himself the "main opponent" of the two politicians.

"You think that you know the needs of the Hungarian people better than the Hungarian people themselves".

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

"This decision condemning Hungary and the Hungarian people was made because we Hungarians have demonstrated that migration in not a necessary process and that migration can be stopped", Szijjarto told reporters in Budapest on Wednesday.

"It is a type of procedure at the end of which there is no sanction, there is no danger", he said, pointing to the example of a 2013 report adopted by the European Parliament which condemned controversial changes to Hungary's constitution.

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.

Mr Orban has also expressed his desire to remain within the EPP, which he said was "deeply divided" on the issue of migration.

"It is very concerning that the Conservative Party MEPs chose to defend Hungary's appalling track record, rather than supporting this motion to protect the rule of law".

In a brief speech to parliament on Tuesday, Orban vowed that Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance, which he charged was the motive behind the vote.

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