Published: Sat, September 15, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Is there an Appetite for Democracy in Hungary?

Is there an Appetite for Democracy in Hungary?

Hungary called the action fraudulent and vowed to challenge it.

MEPs have voted to trigger the European Union's most serious disciplinary procedure against Hungary, but stop short of suspending the country's voting rights within the union.

If launched by the European Council, these procedures will put in place a series of mechanisms created to protect against the breach in terms agreed to by the member state when they joined the European Union.

For years, Orban had been able to deflect much of the global condemnation aimed at him.

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.

Peter Szijjarto, Hungarian Foreign Minister said that the European Parliament's decision is a "petty revenge" against Hungary by pro-immigration politicians. If the abstentions were counted into the final tally, there would have been a total 693 votes, so the 448 in favor wouldn't have reached two-thirds.

"This is an invalid report, that has no legal effect", Szajer said.

Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini led the process and received a standing ovation after the result was announced.

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"I have always been in favour of building bridges and I want to continue to do so but yesterday I didn't see any readiness from the Hungarian PM to make a move towards his European Union partners and address our concerns", he said on Twitter. "They deserve freedom of speech, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice and equality, all of which are enshrined in the European treaties".

She had urged colleagues not to let Hungary off the hook, declaring that Orban's rule "violates the values on which this union was built". We'll speak with Mounk about the parliament's decision and how right-wing coalitions are shaping Europe. "MEPs across the political spectrum have taken a historic stand in defending the EU's democratic values and the rights of its citizens".

Hungary has constantly been on the warpath with Brussels with its populist Prime Minister, Victor Orban, a staunch opponent of migrant policies adopted by the Union. Soros has repeatedly denied the allegations.

The EP condemned the systematic endangerment of EU values in Hungary and called on the EU to react by launching the procedure under Article 7, which is the most radical measure for a country that does not abide by European rules, global media have reported.

The EPP's leader, Manfred Weber, said he would vote in favour of the motion targeting Orban's government, whose Fidesz party belongs to his grouping.

Sargentini praised support for her motion from much of Orban's European People's Party in the chamber - the EPP includes German Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats - and she called on governments in the EU's Council to now take the unprecedented step of sanctioning a fellow member.

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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