Hungary will not be blackmailed, Prime Minister Orban tells EU

Cheryl Sanders
September 14, 2018

"All my solidarity. No to sanctions and to trials of freely elected governments", read the post by Salvini, who is also Italy's Deputy Prime Minister.

While voices were heard criticizing Orban in Strasbourg Tuesday, his Fidezs party is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) political group, the largest party in the European Parliament.

But Judith Sargentini, who is spearheading a vote Wednesday on whether to take action against Hungary, warned her fellow MEPs that the 28-nation bloc's founding values are at stake.

This move marked the first time that Article 7 of the European Union constitution has been triggered, which can suspend certain rights of a state, Al Jazeera noted, adding that the vote may lead to Hungary's voting rights being stripped.

"Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and Hungary will defend its rights, if needed even against you".

"The hot potato is now in the hands of the EP and this is the first time that the EP has dealt with this topic; the last time, when it was about Poland, the procedure was launched by EC", Suica told N1 regional TV station.

Zoltan Kovacs, spokesperson for the Hungarian government called the vote a "fraud".

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

"Whatever your decision will be, Hungary will not accede to this blackmail", an angry Orban told the lawmakers, whom he alleged had already made up their mind to activate article seven of the European Union treaty and seek measures to restrict his government's voting rights.

"The big issue is how the EPP will vote, particularly Mr. Weber", said Maria Joao Rodrigues, a leading Portuguese member of the Socialists and Democrats group, which supports the motion.

"The Hungarian people deserve better", Sargentini said.

But Weber, a close ally of Merkel, also spoke of "building bridges" with Hungary and noted the EU's failure to take action in a similar rule-of-law case against Poland.

Geert Wilders, the leader of the Dutch anti-immigration Freedom Party, called the vote - which also weighed on Hungarian assets - "a bloody shame".

The EPP's leader, Manfred Weber, said he would vote in favour of the motion targeting Orban's government, whose Fidesz party belongs to his grouping.

"I have always been in favor of building bridges and I want to continue to do so, but yesterday (Tuesday) I didn't see any readiness from the Hungarian PM to make a move towards his European Union partners and address our concerns", Manfred tweeted.

"Be responsible for corruption should the Hungarian government and not the Hungarian people".

Verhofstadt went on to say that Orban was not his country, and that Hungary was "far more eternal" than Orban's far-right government. "There is nothing to talk about".

After the vote, Sargentini thanked her colleagues for standing up "for the protection of democracy and the rule of law, above their interest in party politics".

He claimed that Hungary was facing "unfair accusations and lies". The group of leftists and greens in the assembly said "Orban's authoritarian moves must be curbed".

Other reports by iNewsToday