EU par­lia­ment to vote on re­buk­ing Hun­gary’s Vik­tor Or­ban

The Miracle - - National & Int - Source: Al-Jazeera

The Euro­pean Union par­lia­ment will vote on Wed­nes­day whether to pun­ish Hun­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban for un­der­cut­ting democ­racy and breach­ing “com­mon val­ues of the EU”, in­clud­ing push­ing the pas­sage of an­ti­im­mi­grant laws. If the so-called “Ar­ti­cle 7” of the Lisbon Treaty is trig­gered, it would set in mo­tion a process that could lead to sanc­tions such as a sus­pen­sion of Hun­gary’s vot­ing rights in the EU, and put the bloc on a col­li­sion course with Or­ban, who on Tues­day vowed to defy the vote. “What­ever your de­ci­sion will be, Hun­gary will not ac­cede to this black­mail. Hun­gary will pro­tect its borders, stop il­le­gal mi­gra­tion, and de­fend its rights,” Or­ban told the Euro­pean par­lia­ment. “Hun­gary is go­ing to be con­demned be­cause Hun­gar­ian peo­ple have de­cided that this coun­try is not go­ing to be a coun­try of mi­grants.” The Euro­pean Union par­lia­ment will vote on Wed­nes­day whether to pun­ish Hun­gar­ian Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban for un­der­cut­ting democ­racy and breach­ing “com­mon val­ues of the EU”, in­clud­ing push­ing the pas­sage of an­ti­im­mi­grant laws. Ar­ti­cle 7 of the Lisbon Treaty was de­signed to dis­suade EU mem­ber states from re­vert­ing to val­ues Europe con­sid­ers anti-demo­cratic. The treaty, which was rat­i­fied by all 27-mem­ber states and came into force in 2009, gov­erns the Euro­pean Union fol­low­ing its ex­pan­sion. It is ex­pected a ma­jor­ity of the 750-mem­ber leg­isla­tive body will vote against Hun­gary. But it is still un­clear if the re­quired two-thirds ma­jor­ity thresh­old to en­force the mo­tion will come to fruition. The Euro­pean Coun­cil - which com­prises all heads of the 27-mem­ber states in­clud­ing Hun­gary - is then re­quired to act “by una­nim­ity” to de­ter­mine the “ex­is­tence of a se­ri­ous and per­sis­tent breach” by a mem­ber state, and carry out sanc­tions. Hun­gary has been in the crosshairs of the Euro­pean Union af­ter Or­ban put pres­sure on courts, me­dia and non-gov­ern­ment groups since com­ing to power in 2010. Though the EU has of­ten protested, it has largely failed to stop what Or­ban’s crit­ics de­cry

as his grow­ing au­thor­i­tar­ian drive. Or­ban’s re­fusal to ac­cept some of the Mediter­ranean ar­rivals over­whelm­ing coastal states such as Italy has up­set many of his EU peers, in­clud­ing Greek Prime Min­is­ter Alexis Tsipras.“Do you re­ally be­lieve that any coun­try ... can sur­vive on its own with­out help, with­out the sol­i­dar­ity and co­op­er­a­tion of other coun­tries?” he told the leg­is­la­tors. “There can be no fu­ture for Europe like that.” In June, Hun­gary’s par­lia­ment over­whelm­ingly passed a law im­pos­ing jail terms on any­body seen to be aid­ing un­doc­u­mented im­mi­grants. The law tar­gets rights groups and NGOs and al­lows the ban­ning of or­gan­i­sa­tions. In ad­di­tion to the bill, the par­lia­ment also passed a con­sti­tu­tional amend­ment stat­ing an “alien pop­u­la­tion” can­not be set­tled in Hun­gary.Aside from its anti-im­mi­grant stance, Or­ban’s gov­ern­ment is also ac­cused of si­lenc­ing in­de­pen­dent me­dia and academia, re­mov­ing in­de­pen­dent judges, crack­ing down on or­gan­i­sa­tions help­ing home­less peo­ple, mi­grants or dis­ad­van­taged groups, such as Roma, and con­don­ing gov­ern­ment cor­rup­tion. At a time of grow­ing anti-im­mi­grant sen­ti­ment in Europe, the im­pend­ing vote against Or­ban’s gov­ern­ment has sharply di­vided the bloc. Italy’s anti-im­mi­gra­tion In­te­rior Min­is­ter Mat­teo Salvini, whose League party has six leg­is­la­tors in the Euro­pean body, said: “We will vote in de­fence of Or­ban.”

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