Poland would vote against the imposition of European Union sanctions against Hungary

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling - PM Orban

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling - PM Orban

Members of the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of the EU initiating legal procedure against Hungary.

The vote was based on a report that voiced concerns about judicial independence, corruption, freedom of expression, academic freedom, religious freedom, and the rights of minorities and refugees.

Commenting on Tuesday's EP debate, he said he found it "hard to believe" that someone like Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán could sit through a "modern-day version of a communist show trial with people standing up and pointing the finger and shouting at him". Hungarian Prime Minister Victor Orban (L) arrives for an EU-Western Balkans Summit in Sofia on May 17, 2018.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said the approval of the report was "petty revenge by pro-migration politicians".

The vote takes the first steps under Article 7 of the EU Treaty, known by some in Brussels as the "nuclear option", which could ultimately strip Hungary of its EU voting rights.

The proposal concerning Hungary, which MEPs vote on 12 September, would be the first time that Parliament takes the initiative of recommending that the mechanism should be triggered. The report was approved with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.

"This is an invalid report, that has no legal outcome", Szajer said.

Poland has said it would veto any possible sanctions on Hungary.

The Commission, headed by EPP member Jean-Claude Juncker, has repeatedly clashed with Orban's government, especially since Budapest refused to admit asylum seekers under an European Union scheme launched at the height of the migration crisis in 2015.

Dutch lawmaker Sophie in 't Veld urged the EU to consider cutting generous subsidies to Hungary, asking: "Why are we giving Mr Orban 87 million euros a week in order to destroy the European Union?"

In a brief speech to parliament on Tuesday, Orban vowed that Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance, which he charged was the motive behind the vote. The group of leftists and greens in the assembly said "Orban's authoritarian moves must be curbed". "We're fighting to make our position the majority", he said, adding that Fidesz wanted to steer the EPP back onto the Christian democratic path he said would preserve Europe's identity. They strongly deny it was to secure Hungary's support in the Brexit process or out of admiration for the country's leader.

On Tuesday Weber said the European Union might need to consider launching the sanctions procedure, under Article 7.1 of the bloc's Lisbon Treaty, if Budapest did not address the criticisms.

"I have always been in favor of building bridges and I want to continue to do so, but yesterday (Tuesday) I didn't see any readiness from the Hungarian PM to make a move towards his European Union partners and address our concerns", Manfred tweeted.

The parties of Kurz and Orban both belong to the biggest faction in the European Parliament, the conservative European People's Party (EPP), which also includes lawmakers from the party of German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

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