Croatia Shares Some of EU's Concerns about Hungary

Croatia Shares Some of EU's Concerns about Hungary

Hungary's government will decide on Monday on legal steps to challenge a European Parliament ruling against the country for flouting democratic standards, Prime Minister Viktor Orban has said.

Decision is now left to the 28 European Union member states, but the ultimate repercussion of suspension of voting rights appears unlikely with the assembly describing the move as "preventive", calculated to avoid penalties completely.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wasted little time in slamming the vote as "nothing less than the petty revenge of pro-immigration politicians".

Poland's foreign ministry has voiced "concern" after Eurodeputies on Wednesday backed a plan to trigger a punitive procedure against Hungary amid accusations of flouting European Union rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption.

MEPs voted by 448 to 197 on Wednesday for disciplinary action against the Hungarian government, agreeing it presented "clear risk of a serious breach of the European Union founding values".

The EPP's leader, Manfred Weber, said he would vote in favor of the motion against Orban's government, whose Fidesz party belongs to his grouping.

The European Parliament's approval of the Sargentini report "condemning Hungary" is "one of the biggest mistakes" the legislative body has ever made, Arnold Vaatz, deputy leader of the CDU/CSU group in Germany's Bundestag, told Hungarian public media in Berlin on Wednesday.

He also claimed that the vote involved "massive fraud" since abstentions weren't counted into the final tally, which made it easier to reach the needed majority.

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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).

Vaatz said he "deeply regretted" the EP's decision to approve the report criticising the state of the rule of law in Hungary, as well as the fact that a number of MEPs from his own party "took part in the operation to punish Hungary".

"You think that you know the needs of the Hungarian people better than the Hungarian people themselves".

In the case of Hungary, MEPs were concerned about a variety of issues, including the independence of Hungarian courts, the control of higher education institutions, news media issues, fundamental rights, and especially policies regarding refugees and asylum seekers.

"This is a historic result for Hungarian citizens and for European citizens everywhere, that the European Parliament has voted by a large majority to stand up for the values we all hold dear", Sargentini said.

"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.

"It is very concerning that the Conservative Party MEPs chose to defend Hungary's appalling track record, rather than supporting this motion to protect the rule of law".

"They want to brand Hungary and want to weaken the resistance of Hungary", Orban said.

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