EU to take punitive action against Hungary for flouting rule of law

MEPs vote 448 in favour and 197 against in censure moton against Hungary for breaching core EU values

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
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

The European Parliament will start punitive action against Hungary for flouting the rule of law after a motion was passed on Wednesday with a considerable majority.

There were 448 votes in favour of triggering Article 7, with 197 votes against and 48 abstentions.

The motion passed in the Strasbourg plenary session is the first time ever the European legislature triggered the procedure against an EU member state. The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017.

The censure motion accuses Hungary of persistently breaching core EU values. It theoretically opens the way for sanctions such as a suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the EU - but in practice that is sure to be blocked by Hungary's ally, the nationalist government in Poland.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban had told the European Parliament on Tuesday he would not bow to EU "blackmail".

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. Though the European Union has often protested, it has largely failed to stop what his critics decry as his growing authoritarianism.

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