Published: Fri, September 14, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

EU Parliament votes for action against Hungary on the Article 7 procedure

EU Parliament votes for action against Hungary on the Article 7 procedure

But Hungary's case is the first time that the EU parliament is considering calling for the launch of the sanctions process for a member state because of a perceived threat to European values.

"She believes this could really be backed when it's voted tomorrow in parliament, even by some members of the European People's Party", said Méabh McMahon, Euronews Correspondent in Brussels.

The vote was based on a report that voiced concerns about judicial independence, corruption, freedom of expression, academic freedom, religious freedom, and the rights of minorities and refugees under eight years of Orban rule.

"The European Parliament vote should serve as a wake-up call to EU institutions and national governments that press freedom is a fundamental democratic value that needs to be vigorously defended and promoted throughout the 28 member states, starting with Hungary".

"Hungary is going to be condemned because the Hungarian people have decided that this country is not going to be a country of migrants", Orban said, before launching a searing attack on the European Union and the report.

The report was approved with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.

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

Sargentini said she expected to be invited by the council to present her report and wants European parliament president Antonio Tajani to help her with that.

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Erdogan urged the worldwide community to take action or face "security risks for Turkey, the rest of Europe and beyond". The regime has twice been targeted by United States air and missile strikes after previous alleged chemical attacks.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban reacts during a speech at the plenary session at the European Parliament.

"To say that criticizing laws, criticizing the government would amount to criticizing a nation or a people, frankly speaking Mr. Orban, that's the coward's way out", Timmermans said near the end of the debate. The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017.

"Democracy in our member states and in our European Union can not exist without the rule of law", Timmermans said, and went on to list concerns about fundamental rights, corruption in Hungary and the treatment of migrants.

Before the vote, EPP leader Manfred Weber, who has announced his candidacy for the Commission's top job and has been a staunch defender of Orban until now, indicated that his patience for his Hungarian party colleagues was coming to an end. "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.

All the applause for the Hungarian leader on Tuesday came from the far right of the chamber, notably among supporters of France's Marine Le Pen and the UK Independence Party.

Liberal MEP Radu Ungureanu, as well as Hungarian minority MEPs Iuliu Winkler and Csaba Sogor, also voted against the measure. Orban might have lost some key allies as EPP lawmakers said their caucus meeting showed many would vote in favor of Article 7.

"Orban is a hero and deserves the Nobel Prize. He protects his citizens against terror and defends the identity of his country", he said.

The clash was over a damning EU report that has triggered a vote - due Wednesday - over whether to suspend Hungary's voting rights in the union until it has changed direction.

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