Published: Thu, September 20, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Around 1,000 Hungarians protest against Orban at pro-EU rally

Around 1,000 Hungarians protest against Orban at pro-EU rally

Dutch Greens MEP Judith Sargentini, who spearheaded the vote, smiled broadly and breathed a sigh of relief before embracing her supporters in parliament in the French city of Strasbourg.

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.

Other EU governments could halt any further action, however, and Poland has warned it would do so.

Though defiant, he was resigned to the outcome, saying the parliament seemed to have already made up its mind.

With European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker proposing last week the addition of 10,000 border guards by 2020 to Frontex, the EU's border and coast guard agency, Orban said it was right for the EU to "finally turn its view toward border protection".

Several of the demoralised opposition parties, derided by some for opting to take up their seats in the new parliament, have organised a pro-EU demonstration Sunday to celebrate the vote and urge citizens to stand up to Orban.

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Orban said this is the stance he would represent at a meeting of European Union leaders in Salzburg later this week.

He said the environment secretary had declined the opportunity to distance himself from Mr Orban's "authoritarian and anti-democratic practices", adding: "Theresa May should do what Gove failed to do and condemn the Hungarian government".

"Our position in this issue is clear - our homeland is not a house of passage nor a reception camp", Orban said. For Hungary is now locked in a major confrontation with the EU, a tussle which largely pits the western part of the continent against its eastern, former communist half, and which has the potential to damage European cohesion just as much as Britain's impending departure from the Union.

In July, the EU executive body warned it could take Budapest to the European Court of Justice over laws under which anyone assisting an undocumented migrant could be jailed for a year.

But Orban ignored Merkel's next sentence from the same speech in which she said that European Union countries must share the burden of migration in a show of solidarity, which the Hungarian leader has resisted doing.

MEPs have voted overwhelmingly for action against the Hungarian government for undermining the bloc's democratic values and rule of law.

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