European Union votes for disciplinary action against Hungary

Opposition to Orban's vision does not just come from the left as there is disquiet in the main centre right European People's Party, about his position despite the grouping including his Fidesz party

Orban Will Deliver ‘Frank and Outspoken’ Speech on Future of Europe at EU AFP 11 Sep 2018

Hungary suffered a sharp rebuke from MEPs today who voted overwhelmingly to impose sanctions against Viktor Orban's government amid claims that it has undermined human rights.

But Hungary's case is the first time that the EU parliament is considering calling for the launch of the sanctions process for a member state because of a perceived threat to European values.

Mitsotakis's party, New Democracy, is in the same conservative bloc in the European Parliament as Orban's, the European People's Party (EPP).

"The big issue is how the EPP will vote, particularly Mr. Weber", said Maria Joao Rodrigues, a leading Portuguese member of the Socialists and Democrats group, which supports the motion.

Sant said that he disagreed with a number of the policies followed by the Hungarian government for their illiberal and authoritarian orientation.

It is a unclear however whether the 750-strong legislature can muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass the motion finding that Hungary has persistently breached the European Union core values under Orban.

Former Prime Minister and Maltese MEP Alfred Sant refused to vote on a censure motion against Hungary for undermining the European Union's core values, drawing parallels with the Maltese experience of the past year.

"You believe you know better than Hungarians themselves what they need".

"Hungary will not accede to this blackmailing, Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and. if needed we will stand up to you", Viktor Orban said in a strong response to the accusations made in the European Parliament.

Weber comes from the Bavarian CSU party, which is a key ally to Merkel's CDU, but the two have clashed over migration recently as CSU has adopted a tougher anti-migration line, edging closer to Orban's position.

The First Vice-President of the Commission, Frans Timmermans, weighed in on the matter saying the European Commission shared the same concerns as the Parliament about Hungary under Orban and the constant violation of fundamental rights and the rule of law. This marks the first time the European Parliament has taken that step, though Poland faced similar action from the European Commission a year ago.

Their decision was made even more contentious when members of the EPP, the centre-right political group of Orban's Fidesz party, announced Tuesday that they would support the report. He faces the suspension of voting rights in the Council of ERUs coolestone article 7 of the Union Treaty. Should the EPP move against it, Fidesz would be under huge pressure to leave the group.

He has also led opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others who want Europe to take in more Muslim refugees.

All the applause for the Hungarian leader on Tuesday came from the far right of the chamber, notably among supporters of France's Marine Le Pen and the UK Independence Party.

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilder on social media called the results a "bloody shame" and Orban "a hero who deserves the Nobel Prize".

"Orban is a hero", he said.

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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