EU lawmakers move against Hungary, accuse Orban government of undermining democracy

Viktor Orban speaks during the final electoral rally of his Fidesz party in Szekesfehervar Hungary. The European Parliament is set to debate a move toward imposing political

EU lawmakers move against Hungary, accuse Orban government of undermining democracy

Orban said in a video posted on Facebook that European Union parliamentarians who support migration "are preparing for revenge against Hungary, because Hungarians have decided they will not become an immigrant country".

"Do you Hungarians know better, they need inquired of the deputies of Orban".

MEPs will vote Wednesday on whether to call on member states to trigger Article 7 measures, created to prevent a serious breach of European values.

Orban said that political sanctions being considered against Hungary would be the first time in the European Union that "a community condemns its own border guards". The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017.

Far-right Dutch politician Geert Wilder on social media called the results a "bloody shame" and Orban "a hero who deserves the Nobel Prize".

Orban has for years deflected much of the global condemnation of Hungary's electoral system, media freedoms, independence of the judiciary, mistreatment of asylum-seekers and refugees and limits on the functioning of non-governmental organizations.

The voting, however, does not mean immediate sanctions against Hungary, as the parliament passes the motion to the European Council, which has to unanimously decide on the punitive measures.

Poland on Wednesday said it was very anxious by the European Parliament's rare decision to launch a procedure against Hungary for posing a "systemic threat" to the EU's founding values.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban vowed Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance on Tuesday on the eve of an European Union parliament vote to censure his populist government. He has also expressed his desire to remain within the EPP, which he said was "deeply divided" on the issue of migration.

Timmermans said the European Commission has launched "audits and other investigations" into the alleged misuse in Hungary of EU funds.

In July, the EU executive body warned it could take Budapest before the European Court of Justice over laws which call for up to a year in prison for anyone assisting an undocumented migrant.

Recent developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration in the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights which is testing the EU's ability to defend its founding values, the report found. "Don't try to deflect the attention from criticism of the actions of your government by saying that those who criticize your government attack your nation or your people".

"She believes this could really be backed when it's voted tomorrow in parliament, even by some members of the European People's Party", said Méabh McMahon, Euronews Correspondent in Brussels.

In an interview with Austrian daily Standard, Weber said the EPP owes Orban "no special treatment". "We are staying and we are fighting".

"The decision was made in a fraudulent way, and contrary to relevant rules in European treaties", he said.

The EPP group, the largest in the parliament, on Tuesday evening, held a meeting with Orban, after which their leader, Manfred Weber announced he would vote in favour of launching the procedure.

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