EU Parliament Urges Action Over Hungary Which Could Hit Voting Rights

People demanded defense of Central European University in Budapest Hungary

People demanded defense of Central European University in Budapest Hungary

MEPs have adopted a resolution asking European Union member states to launch Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty against Hungary, citing "a serious deterioration of the rule of law".

Hungary's current fundamental rights situation justifies launching the formal procedure to determine whether there is a "clear risk of a serious breach" of EU values by a member state, the MEPs said in their resolution, reported the press service of the European Parliament.

Referred to as a "nuclear option", Article 7 can be activated when there is a risk of a serious breach by a member state of the fundamental values of the EU. Likely penalties include the suspension of voting rights within the bloc.

"The European Parliament calls on the European Commission to strictly monitor the use of EU funds by the Hungarian Government".

With the resolution passed by 393 votes in favour, 221 against and 64 abstentions, the parliament became the first European Union institution to propose the use of Article 7 of the EU's Lisbon treaty, often referred to as the "nuclear" option, against Hungary.

Hungary's ruling party Fidesz reacted to Wednesday's vote by saying it was "a shame that Hungarian leftist MPs also voted for the resolution" under alleged orders from United States billionaire George Soros.

Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, which has not been used until now, was created to defend the EU's core values such as democracy, freedom, human rights and the rule of law. In that case, decisions made by the council would still apply to Hungary.

The resolution calls for the Hungarian government to repeal laws tightening rules against asylum seekers and nongovernmental organizations, and to reach an agreement with the US authorities, making it possible for the Central European University to remain in Budapest as a free institution. The European Commission has started separate legal action against Hungary over the issue.

"The European Parliament has expressed its concerns repeatedly and the buck stops here". "The time for words and spin is over".

But Orban's party, Fidesz, did not budge.

Fidesz "rejects the new political attack on Hungary", and said it will continue to reject illegal migration. Orban claims Soros is undermining Hungarian interests because of his support for migrants.

Hungary is expected to hold general elections next spring, and there are concerns that a continued political battle with Brussels would only strengthen Orban's voter base.

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