BRUSSELS – The European Parliament requested on Wednesday that an article be activated that would stop Hungary from voting in the European Council, as it considered the country’s government had violated European values.
Article 7, which can only be triggered if most European Union member states approve it, would see Hungary penalized for decisions that were made by conservative Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government, such as the recent law that could see the Central European University shut down.
The resolution also called for the Hungarian government to repeal laws that had tightened rules against asylum-seekers and NGOs, and for the EC to monitor the country’s use of EU money.
In order to be passed, it needs two-thirds approval from Parliament, which it received, and then four-fifths of the Council need to vote in favor of adopting it.
Lawmakers lamented that Hungary was undergoing a severe deterioration in its rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights, and claimed that freedom of speech, religious freedom, migrants and asylum-seekers’ rights and civil society organizations were all currently under threat there.
The approved text said Hungary represented a test that would allow the EU to show its capacity and willingness to react in the face of threats against and violations of its fundamental values by a member state.
The resolution to activate the article was pushed forward by liberal and social-democratic groups and the European United Left/Nordic Green Left, who said that the current situation in Hungary constituted a clear risk of violation of the European values.
The resolution was approved with 393 votes in favor and 64 abstentions and was not back by the right-wing European People’s Party, who Orban’s Fidesz party belongs to.