ibusinesslines.com December 10, 2018

'Neo-fascist... blackmail... coward' - Europe's Parliament erupts

14 September 2018, 03:57 | Erica Roy

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's often toxic relationship with the European Union came to a head on September 12 when the European Parliament chose to trigger the so-called Article 7 procedure under EU law which would suspend some of Budapest's rights in the EU institutions after Orban's government was found to be a "systemic threat" to European values in the county.

"Success! The European Parliament has set an extremely important precedent after voting in favour of Article 7 that puts in motion infringement procedures against Hungary for failing to respect fundamental EU values".

Kurz's party is in the same conservative bloc in the European Parliament as Orban's.

The EU Commission, the bloc's executive body, launched Article 7 proceedings against Poland over an alleged erosion of judicial independence late previous year.

The vast majority of MEPs in Strasbourg on Wednesday voted to pursue disciplinary action against the Hungarian government over alleged breaches of the EU's core values.

In an interview with Austrian daily Standard, Weber said the EPP owes Orban "no special treatment".

Mr Orban has for years deflected much of the worldwide condemnation of Hungary's electoral system, media freedoms, independence of the judiciary, mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees and limits on the functioning of non-governmental organisations.

Orban has said the mostly Muslim refugees pose an existential threat to Europe's Christian civilization.

Orban said his government had sent all the MEPs an 108-plus page rebuttal of Sargentini's "false" charges.

Dutch lawmaker Sophie in 't Veld urged the EU to consider cutting generous subsidies to Hungary, asking: "Why are we giving Mr Orban €87-million a week in order to destroy the European Union?"

An immigration hard-liner, Orban has put pressure on courts, media and non-government groups since coming to power in 2010.

The motion against Orban's Hungary goes well beyond the migration issue.

"It also sends out an important message to all member countries that the European Union is not prepared to compromise on human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights".

The vote, however, has little chance of ending up with the ultimate penalty of Hungary being suspended from voting in the EU.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, echoing Orban's longtime position, called the Wednesday's vote "petty revenge" against Hungary for its tough anti-migration policies and said the vote involved "massive fraud" because abstentions were not included into the final count, which made it easier to reach the needed majority.

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

Tory politicians have been accused of an "absolutely shocking" attempt to prop up Victor Orban's far right movement in the European Parliament. Orban might have lost some key allies as EPP lawmakers said their caucus meeting showed many would vote in favor of Article 7.

The Commission, headed by EPP member Jean-Claude Juncker, has repeatedly clashed with Orban's government, especially since Budapest refused to admit asylum seekers under an European Union scheme launched at the height of the migration crisis in 2015.

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