The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee warned on June 25 that Hungary is at clear risk of a serious breach of EU values. The MEPs agreed that the situation in Hungary has a negative impact on the image of the bloc, as well as its effectiveness and credibility in the defence of human rights and democracy.

As such, the MEPs approved a draft proposal for a Council decision to trigger an Article 7 procedure. Passed by 37 votes to 19, the proposal still needs to be endorsed by the European Parliament as a whole.

“We are dealing with a serious situation which needs to be dealt with instantly,” said Judith Sargentini (Greens/EFA, NL), who drafted the report. “We stand up for the rights of the citizens of Hungary and European values in the EU. The time given to the Hungarian government has worsened the situation. That is why Parliament is stepping in.”

According to a European Parliament press release, this would be the first time that Parliament exercises its right of initiative with regard to Article 7.

The proposal for a Council decision will be put to a vote by Parliament as a whole in September. To be adopted, it needs the backing of an absolute majority of MEPs and two thirds of the votes cast.