Tajani defends Forza Italia’s support of Hungary: ‘Rule of law breaches worse in Malta’

Tajani defends Fora Italia MEPs' decision not to vote against Hungary: ‘Malta and Slovakia are worse on rule of law’

Antonio Tajani (right) with Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat
Antonio Tajani (right) with Maltese prime minister Joseph Muscat

The Italian president of the European Parliament, Antonio Tajani, has defended his party's decision not to vote for EU action against Hungary’s breach of core EU values, claiming the situation was worse in Malta and Slovakia.

Tajani, who had been the Italian centre-right’s choice for prime minister had it won the last elections, stood by statements of Forza Italia MEPs who said Malta, Slovakia and Romania fared worse on the rule of law than Hungary.

“FI’s position was very clear. There are no preconditions for the Article 7 procedure against Hungary,” Tajani told Il Sole Radio 24 of the country led by EPP ally Viktor Orban, who was slated by the rest of the European Parliament this week for various breaches of rule of law.

“Why was nothing done then against countries like Malta and Slovakia, when you had two journalists killed here, and in the case of Slovakia, leading to the resignation of a centre-left prime minister?” Tajani said referring to the assassinations of Daphne Caruana Galizia and Jan Kuciak.

“You can’t have two weights and two measures, which is why Forza Italia says you cannot just attack one right-wing government when no corrective measures were applied to two left-wing administrations. Worse things happened there than in Hungary.”

Tajani belongs to the conservative Forza Italia, whose leader Silvio Berlusconi said on Tuesday his party would not vote in favour of sanctions against the Orban government.

In Wednesday's vote, MEPs decided for the first time ever to apply an EU rule of law procedure against Orban over the weakening of press freedom and an erosion of judicial independence in Hungary, his government's migration policies and the alleged misspending of EU funds by Orban's friends and family during his premiership.

The move can lead toa suspension of Hungary's voting rights in EU affairs.

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