MEPs call for Article 7 to be triggered against Hungary

Claudine Rigal
Мая 20, 2017

The strongly-worded resolution states that "the developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights over the past few years".

Under EU rules - known as Article 7 in EU treaties - the EU's Council can launch sanctions against a member, including the suspension of voting rights, if it violates fundamental rights.

The European Commission will "strictly monitor" Hungary's spending of EU money.

The next phase is Article 7 (2), by which an actual breach of European Union values can be determined by the Council on a proposal by a third of the member states or the Commission.

It calls for [press release] "the Hungarian Government to repeal laws tightening rules against asylum-seekers and non-governmental organisations, and to reach an agreement with the U.S. authorities, making it possible for Central European University to remain in Budapest as a free institution".

The European Union's rule of unanimity means the nationalist-minded government of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is unlikely to be stripped of its voting rights as its ally Poland could veto such a move.

The resolution calls for the Hungarian government to repeal laws tightening rules against asylum seekers and nongovernmental organizations, and to reach an agreement with the USA authorities, making it possible for the Central European University to remain in Budapest as a free institution.

The resolution specifically talks about the right of expression, academic freedom, rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as well as the right to peaceful gatherings. With nearly 400 votes, we decided that Article 7 should be triggered against Hungary: stringent control and, in the worst case, sanctions against the systematic and systemic violations of the rule of law.

The European Commission has so far ruled out that there is be a systematic threat to the rule of law in Hungary.

That dispute is part of a wider government campaign against the billionaire philanthropist.

"The European Parliament has expressed its concerns repeatedly and the buck stops here".

Following the vote, Gianni Pittella, president of the Socialists and Democrats parliamentary group, said: "we have a duty to do something about the illiberal drift imposed by Orban in Hungary".

But Orban's party, Fidesz, did not budge.

"Not a single illegal immigrant will be allowed to set foot in Hungary", he added.

Fidesz "rejects the new political attack on Hungary", and said it will continue to reject illegal migration.

Hungary is expected to hold general elections next spring, and there are concerns that a continued political battle with Brussels would only strengthen Orban's voter base.

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