European Union parliament pushes Hungary sanctions over Orban policies

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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 made a decision 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.

Two-thirds vote by Members of the European Parliament could trigger Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, suspending Hungary's voting rights as a rebuke for "anti-migrant" policies.

Opposition to Orban's vision does not just come from the left, with disquiet also in the main centre-right parliamentary group, the European People's Party (EPP).

If the resolution is adopted, it will be the first time that the European Parliament takes the initiative for such a procedure, though it has backed an Article 7 action taken against Poland, triggered in December 2017 by the European Commission.

The European parliament has voted to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary over alleged breaches of the EU's core values. 'Orban is a hero and deserves the Nobel Prize, ' he said.

Since sweeping to power in 2010, Orban has pressured Hungary's courts, media and non-governmental groups, as well as refusing to take in asylum seekers arriving in Europe.

"We are in solidarity with the Hungarian people, who gave the Viktor Orban government a very clear democratic mandate in recent elections", Kopcinska said.

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

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Italy's anti-migrant Interior Minister Matteo Salvini on Wednesday deplored the European Parliament's vote to punish Hungary's government led by far-right Premier Viktor Orban, calling the move "blackmail". "It is up to the European leaders to take their responsibility and stop watching from the sidelines as the rule of law is destroyed in Hungary, ' she is quoted as saying by the BBC".

"I have nothing to compromise about since the questions they objected to were decided by the Hungarian people", Orban said Tuesday in Strasbourg, France, after the debate in the European Parliament on the report on Hungary.

The motion will now pass to the leaders of the EU's 28-member states for approval.

French President Emmanuel Macron, an outspoken defender of European Union values, has urged the EPP to clarify its stance, saying it could not back both Merkel and Orban at the same time.

From Croatia, four EPP MEPs, Ivana Maletic, Dubravka Suica, Zeljana Zovko and Marijana Petir, plus a Conservative, Ruza Tomasic, voted against triggering Article 7. Should the EPP move against it, Fidesz would be under huge pressure to leave the group.

MEPs will vote on Wednesday on whether to launch a procedure that could lead to unprecedented political sanctions against Hungary, and deepen the continental divide between centrist pro-European parties and populist anti-migrant forces.

"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 German MEP now serves as the head of the center-right EPP in the European Parliament.

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