Wednesday, 14 November, 2018

Poland says it will block any European Union sanctions against Hungary

Patty Aguilar | 15 September, 2018, 22:32

But there have also been reports of pressure being put on the courts and the electoral system, and of widespread corruption.

But Judith Sargentini, who presented the report prepared by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, welcomed the outcome.

"The Sargentini report was not adopted today, because only by violating voting rules was it possible to reach the necessary two-thirds majority laid out in the treaty", Szajer said, arguing that if they had included abstentions, the two-thirds majority would not have been achieved.

The measure allows Article 7 [text] sanctions, under the Treaty of Lisbon [materials], to be brought against Hungary, which could result in the country's expulsion from the EU.

But it has created a split within the EPP because Forza Italia, some Bulgarians, a few Germans and assorted others gave their backing to Budapest.

On 11 September, MEPs will discuss a proposal to the Council to trigger a procedure that seeks to prevent a serious breach of European Union values in Hungary. As in some other European Union countries, the centre-left has been largely marginalised.

"Every country has its sovereign right to make internal reforms it deems appropriate", Poland's foreign ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.

The BBC Reality Check team has explained the Article 7 process in detail. This rarely invoked process is created to prevent member states from breaching the EU's "core values".

The same procedure is already underway against Poland, this time triggered by the European Commission, EUobserver reports.

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What has the reaction been?

Even Orban's fellow migration hardliner, Austria's Chancellor Sebastian Kurz, unexpectedly said his party's five European lawmakers would vote against Budapest. Similarly, the stance being taken by the Orban government is also being echoed in other countries such as Italy. Farage also encouraged Orban to "join the Brexit club". The EU country concerned does not take part in either vote.

"The alt-right in Europe is trying to undermine this European Union, " Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian member of the European Parliament, said ahead of the final tally.

"Viktor Orban's government has been leading the charge against European values by silencing independent media, replacing critical judges, and putting academia on a leash", she said.

"Individuals close to the government have been enriching themselves, their friends and family members at the expense of Hungarian and European taxpayers", she said.

"Hungary and the Hungarian people are being condemned because they proved that migration can be stopped and there is no need for migration", Szajer said.

Amnesty International's expert on human rights in the EU, Berber Biala-Hettinga, hailed the vote as "historic".

The European Parliament launched the action, citing the concern of a "serious breach of European values".

"The agreement of CEU with another U.S. university does not mean that there is a school there", Szijjarto said, referring to a controversial amendment made in the education law previous year, which required the university to also offer courses in the United States.

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