Orbán: Hungary to take steps against critical EU ruling

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Hungary’s government will decide today (Monday) on what possible legal steps to take to challenge a European Parliament (EP) vote to sanction the country for flouting democratic standards, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Friday, as reported by news agency Reuters.

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to sanction Hungary for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption, approving the report by Dutch Green MEP Judith Sargentini, the rapporteur for the EPʼs investigation into Hungary. Orbán told state radio he expected a “serious legal debate” about the decision.

Following the EP vote last Wednesday, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó decried the report as a “pro-migration arraignment.” He went on to attack the European Peopleʼs Party (EPP), of which his own party Fidesz is a member, saying: “We also knew, and we were proven right today, that the majority of EPP is also pro-migration.”

The Hungarian government has cried foul over the vote, claiming that abstentions should have been counted in determining whether a majority had been reached in the EPʼs vote to censure Hungary. However, the Legal Service, a body advising the EP on legal questions and representing it in legal cases, released a document ahead of the vote, dated September 7, stating that abstentions should not be counted during the vote on the Sargentini Report. The document was signed by Freddy Drexler, head of the Legal Service.

The Hungarian prime minister, who has been one of the strongest opponents of immigration into the European Union, observed that, with European elections taking place next year, the days of the current European Parliament are numbered.

Speaking about the bodies of the European Union on the Friday morning “180 Minutes” program of government-controlled Kossuth Radio, Orbán said that “they want to take away Hungary’s right to defend its own borders,” and that “they want to send mercenaries here from Brussels and would let in migrants.”

Orbán claimed that the Sargentini Report was adopted as part of a procedure “that will end without any kind of sanction, and therefore without any danger; but they still did it, so that […] they can weaken Hungary,” by stigmatizing the country, the prime minister was cited as saying by official government website kormany.hu.

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