Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

EP triggers sanctions procedure, Hungary calls 'fraud'

"All my solidarity. No to sanctions and to trials of freely elected governments", read the post by Salvini, who is also Italy's Deputy Prime Minister.

Wednesday's vote is the first time the European Parliament has voted to take such action against a member state under EU rules.

It would be the first time the European Parliament votes to take steps under article seven of European Union treaties, which could ultimately deny Hungary its EU voting rights.

"The decision was made in a fraudulent way, and contrary to relevant rules in European treaties".

Rapporteur Judith Sargentini reacts after the vote on the situation in Hungary during a voting session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg.

In his address, Timmermans added that the Commission "will not hesitate to take further action if necessary" should Orban refuse to comply with the Parliament's eventual ruling onceSargentini's report is reviewed by the MEPs.

The experts called on Hungary to "refrain from engaging in practices that are threatening fundamental civic freedoms, in particular, the right to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, association, as well as the principle of non-refoulement and the ban on incitement to hatred and discrimination", and encourages European institutions to continue applying pressure on the Hungarian government.

The report under consideration criticises his government's restrictions on the freedom of the media, academics and NGOs, its ill treatment of minority groups, refugees and asylum seekers, and its meddling with the judicial and electoral systems.

The 448-197 vote opens the door to sanctions against Hungary and a potential loss of Orban's European Union voting rights for Orban.

Before the vote, Prime Minister Viktor Orban called the proceedings on the Article 7 an "insult" to his nation, accusing the "pro-migrant majority" of targeting Hungary for its reluctance to become a "country of migrants".

Szijjarto said Hungary was considering legal options to appeal the result because of the way the vote was tallied.

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The European Parliament is discussing whether to activate the so-called Article 7 that could lead to sanctions against Hungary.

Past year the European Commission, the EU's executive arm, launched similar steps under article seven against Poland over its alleged threat to the independence of the courts. "The Hungarian people deserve better".

Dutch anti-Islam campaigner and MP Geert Wilders described the vote on Twitter as "a bloody shame".

In France, where President Emmanuel Macron is campaigning for next year's European elections in direct opposition to Orban, an Elysee source said the vote "was a good signal".

"Be responsible for corruption should the Hungarian government and not the Hungarian people".

They form the biggest faction in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), where lawmakers with German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sit.

Their decision was made even more contentious when members of the EPP, the centre-right political group of Orban's Fidesz party, announced Tuesday that they would support the report.

He claimed that Hungary was facing "unfair accusations and lies".

The group may now consider whether to suspend Orban's Fidesz party.

"We are fighting for an EP, European Commission and EPP in which anti-migration politicians are in the majority", Szijjarto said.

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