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European Parliament moves a step closer to sanctions against Hungary over human rights violations

17/05/2017

“Viktor Orbán has been systematically attacking democracy and the rule of law by curbing press freedom, violating human rights, and ignoring Hungary’s legal obligations for the protection of asylum seekers.”

European Parliament moves a step closer to sanctions against Hungary over human rights violations

GUE/NGL MEPs strongly supported a resolution condemning human rights violations in Hungary that was approved by the European Parliament today.
 
The resolution, which was co-sponsored by GUE/NGL, also mandates the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to draft a report on Hungary, which if approved with a two-thirds majority would lead to the triggering of Article 7.1 of the Treaty of the European Union.
 
Article 7 outlines an EU infringement procedure to be used against member states that have committed fundamental rights violations. Article 7.1 allows the Council to give a formal warning to any country accused of violating fundamental rights. Article 7.2 would impose sanctions and suspend voting rights, if the situation has not been rectified.
 
The European Parliament has expressed concern over the human rights situation in Hungary since 2011, but effective action had been blocked by European People’s Party (EPP), to which the political party of Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is affiliated.
 
GUE/NGL President Gabi Zimmer welcomed the Parliament’s vote:
 
“Viktor Orbán has been systematically attacking democracy and the rule of law by curbing press freedom, violating human rights, and ignoring Hungary’s legal obligations for the protection of asylum seekers.”
 
“Now a majority in the plenary has finally stood up against Orbán’s supporters inside the Parliament in a show of solidarity with Hungarian citizens in this critical situation. 
 
“The Parliament has decided not to wait any longer for the Commission in order to take action. For years, the Orbán government has been fiddling with EU rules and has been afforded impunity by the European People’s Party (EPP). If the EU does not want to lose the trust of its citizens on our shared values it must take immediate action.”
 
French MEP Marie-Christine Vergiat, member of the Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs (LIBE), vowed to pursue the triggering of Article 7.1:
 
"I am pleased with the decision of the Parliament, which was adopted with a large majority, to denounce Victor Orbán’s ‘illiberal’ excesses that go far beyond the case of the Soros-backed university.”
 
“The anti-NGO bill, as well as the violations of the rights of migrants and more specifically the right of asylum, are particularly worrying and seriously undermine the universal values of democracy and rights.
 
“As per the outcome of the resolution, we will now push for triggering the ad hoc legal mechanisms - as insufficient as they might be - to force Hungary to respect human rights and civil liberties," Vergiat concluded.

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