New Democracy to vote against Hungary in European Parliament

Evarado Alatorre
Setiembre 14, 2018

MEP Jozsef Szajer also said the decision was "a petty revenge by pro-migration politicians..."

Since sweeping to power in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has pressured courts, media and non-governmental groups, as well as refusing to take in asylum seekers arriving in Europe.

If the so-called Article 7 procedure passes, it would set in motion a process that could lead to sanctions such as a suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the EU.

The vote represents a particular challenge for EPP head Manfred Weber, a German, since he announced his bid for the presidency of the EU's executive Commission next year.

'This is unacceptable for a union that is built on democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights'.

It voices concerns about the Hungarian judiciary's independence, corruption, freedom of expression, academic freedom, religious freedom, and the rights of minorities and refugees.

Even EPP leader Mandred Weber, who earlier was supportive of Orban and is seeking to become the European Commission president next year, said he had voted for triggering Article 7.

"Poland is very anxious by the decision taken by Parliament today", Joanna Kopcinska, spokeswoman for Poland's right-wing Law and Justice (PiS) government told AFP via email.

With Britain scheduled to leave the bloc altogether in March and Europeans voting in European Parliament elections in May, the rows over Hungary and Poland highlight tensions between nationalist and federalist camps.

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"Hungary shall continue to defend its borders, stop illegal immigration and defend its rights - against you, too, if necessary", he said, drawing applause from the eurosceptic, far-right lawmakers in the assembly.

Asked about his expectations about the result of Wednesday's vote on the report, Orban said he was sure it would gather the two-thirds support needed for approval and then attempts would be made to expel Fidesz from the EPP.

The Commission, headed by Jean-Claude Juncker, an EPP member, has repeatedly clashed with Orban's government, especially since Budapest refused to admit asylum seekers under an European Union scheme launched at the height of the migration crisis in 2015.

The 12 chapters of the report condemn the disintegration of the rule-governed state and the Socialists agree with its findings concerning the administration of justice, constitutionality, and social affairs, the faction leader of the party told Hungarian media.

Juncker, who is not a parliament member, told Belgian daily Le Soir he would have voted for the motion.

"I say so from personal knowledge of how such procedures are being applied in the case of my country, Malta, where the methods and approaches being followed by members of this Parliament to examine governance issues, are crassly biased".

Also on Tuesday night Orban also faced the prospect of his party being kicked out of the right-wing party group in the European parliament.

The EU's move received praise from human rights groups, including Amnesty International. "Don't try to deflect the attention from criticism of the actions of your government by saying that those who criticize your government attack your nation or your people". "They made it clear that human rights, the rule of law and democratic values are not up for negotiation", said Berber Biala-Hettinga, an expert on human rights in the European Union, in a statement from the group.

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