The European Parliament today voted to trigger Article 7 (1) of the EU Treaty against the Hungarian government. It is the first time that the Parliament has taken this step against a national government. It comes after a sustained and systemic attack by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on the press, universities, judiciary, NGOs and other independent institutions.
An overwhelming majority of the Parliament voted to launch article 7 procedures, considerably higher than the necessary two-thirds majority needed. This shows the level of support from across the political spectrum for finally taking real action against Viktor Orbán’s government.
“Today the European Parliament has shown that is not afraid to act when the rule of law is under threat in a member state. For seven years, the Hungarian government under Viktor Orbán has attempted to crack down on independent organisations that provide checks and balances on their power. Today we have said that enough is enough. We will not watch Hungary slip into authoritarian rule,” said S&D Group president Udo Bullmann.
S&D Group vice-president responsible for the report on Hungary, Josef Weidenholzer MEP, said that “Viktor Orbán, we will not stand aside while you trample on the rights of ordinary Hungarians. We will not tolerate your corruption and nepotism. Every European citizen has the right to live in a functioning democracy and we will always fight to protect media freedom, the separation of powers, and an independent civil society in Hungary.”
“The European Council must now act. For too long, national governments have turned a blind eye to the illiberal actions in Budapest. Today’s vote puts it firmly on their agenda ahead of a meeting of national leaders in Salzburg next week. We urge them to follow the Parliament’s lead and show that the EU can act when its fundamental values are under threat in a member state,” he added.