European Parliament debates Article 7 infringement proceedings against Hungary

European Parliament debates Article 7 infringement proceedings against Hungary

Members of the European Parliament will begin debate today on continuing with their ongoing Article 7 proceedings against Hungary. Hungarian

A general view shows the European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker addressing the European Parliament during a debate on The State of the European Union in Strasbourg

Photo: Reuters/Christian Hartmann

Members of the European Parliament will begin debate today on continuing with their ongoing Article 7 proceedings against Hungary. Hungarian PM Victor Orban is also expected to affirm his opposition to proceedings in an address to the parliament at its plenary session in Strasbourg today.

The investigations have focused primarily on the weakening of judicial independence, strengthening of state oversight and restricting civil society in the country. The Orban government most famously clashed with the EU over a 2015 decision to allocate migrants to EU governments on a quota basis. However, Brussels claims that the more recent reforms by Budapest constitute a stronger threat to EU values and solidarity; they have forced the relocation of more liberal organisations, such as the Open Society Foundation, to other EU countries.

It remains unclear whether there will be sufficient support from MEP’s to secure the two-thirds threshold required to invoke Article 7 proceedings and begin imposing political sanctions that would suspend the Hungarian governments voting rights at all EU summits. However, any action by the European Parliament requires consensus among national governments, and both Poland and Hungary have vowed to protect each other from any potential sanctions.

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