In a historic vote, the European Parliament decided on Wednesday to initiate Article 7 and sanction one of its members, Hungary. Reason for the voting were a series of laws passed by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban that tighten control over independence of the judiciary, freedom of unions, academics and media, the rights of minorities and migrants, and even tax inspectors.
“You punish us for our migration policy,” Orban told EP and accused the EU of interfering in the country’s domestic affair. The EU replied that Hungary is breaching EU’s core values.
The #EPlenary adopted with wide majority, i.e 448 in favor, 197 against, 48 absentions, the report on breaching #RuleofLaw in Hungary. A big blow for #Orban govt and a clean win of democratic Europe against undemocratic and unlawful decline. pic.twitter.com/oVdWiZOp2A
— Dim. Papadimoulis (@papadimoulis) September 12, 2018
After the voting, Orban’s spokesman said the vote was no valid and spoke of ‘fraud.’
It’s called FRAUD. EU Treaty clear about voting rules: requires 2/3 of all present. Do the math: 448 Yes; 197 No; 48 Abstain. That ain’t 2/3. Irony? Pro-migration MEPs bashing Hungary for allegedly violating the rule of law resort to violating the rule of law to pass resolution.
— Zoltan Kovacs (@zoltanspox) September 12, 2018
The vote might end up hurting the EU.
An @EPP MEP told me he feels the party will soon split and Orban could take up to 30 MEPs along with him in his venture with Salvini. Apparently Orban was extremely arrogant at the EPP meeting yesterday (which sealed his fate)
— Oskar Górzyński (@OskarGie) September 12, 2018
“The vote reflected a broader divide within the EU, between those who stress that it is a community of liberal values and leaders such as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, who has championed the idea of “illiberal democracy.” Broadly speaking, major Western European governments such as France and Germany along with the European Commission are in the former camp while governments in Central and Eastern Europe are in the latter,” politico.eu notes
Pity that @ManfredWeber @CDU @CSU waited just days before vote to publicly challenge #Hungary’s record. Almost too little, definitely too late. Those who aspire to #EU leadership position should now fully demonstrate they embrace EU values of democracy and rule of law.
— Philippe Dam (@philippe_dam) September 12, 2018
The ball is now in EU Commission’s and EU Council’s courts. It is up to them to carry the process forward to protect Hungary’s citizens and hold the government into account.
In theory, the Article 7 process can lead to a member country being stripped of its right to vote in the Council of the European Union. The procedure is unlikely to get that far, however, as it would require the unanimous approval of other member countries — and multiple EU governments do not view Hungary’s democratic record as problematic.
More chances are for economic sanctions against Hungary as it requires 4/5 Majority in the Council.
In October 2016, Viktor Orban has his citizens vote in a Referendum whether they would accept the EU’s percentages for refugees relocation. Hungary was to accept 1,293 refugees.
The EU was late again to react, two whole years.
We want to hear your opinion!
PS Hungary is also a good example why Turkey will never be an EU member under Erdogan or any other authoritarian regime.