Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the European Union to act

Rule of law in Hungary: Parliament calls on the European Union to act”

Democratic opposition parties in Hungary held a rally in Budapest on September 16.

As reported by the Reuters news agency, Hungary said it would seek legal ways to challenge the ruling which it described as "petty revenge". It theoretically opens the way for sanctions such as a suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the European Union - but in practice that is sure to be blocked by Hungary's ally, the nationalist government in Poland.

Responding to Orban's speech, opposition lawmakers criticized his position on EU's plans to expand border security and accused Orban of trying to hide behind the Hungarian people for his failure in the European Parliament after Orban said that the vote was against Hungary, not against his government's disputed policies. "The decision was made in a fraudulent way, and contrary to relevant rules in European treaties".

After Wednesday's vote, the Board of Deputies of British Jews said it was disappointed Conservative MEPs had voted in "defence" of Hungary, while the Muslim Council of Britain questioned whether the Tories were seeking backing for its position on Brexit in return. The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017.

"Today Michael Gove refused to condemn Viktor Orban who leads the Hungarian government's pandering to antisemitism and Islamophobia, attacks on judicial and media independence and abhorrent treatment of refugees and minorities".

"Individuals close to the government have been enriching themselves, their friends and family members at the expense of Hungarian and European taxpayers", she said. But his failure to offer any compromise cost him support within the EPP, party officials said.

"This is a big defeat for Fidesz, particularly as the party is not used to defeats", said Csaba Toth of the Republikon think-tank.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party, called the vote - which also weighed on Hungarian assets - "a bloody shame".

"During the election campaign we discussed all of the issues -- including the CEU, the NGOs. and the people decided on these issues", Orban said Tuesday after the debate in Strasbourg. "He closed the borders for Islamic fortune seekers".

The Commission has preferred to pressure Budapest through standard legal powers, but the head of the European Union executive, Jean-Claude Juncker, also an EPP member, said he would have voted for the move if he were a lawmaker.

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