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May 17, 2017

European Parliament votes to initiate Article 7 proceedings against Hungary

Hungarian government insiders state that they are surprised by the move considering there is an ongoing discussion with the European Commission regarding CEU, and the law on NGOs has not even been put up to vote by the Parliament. Plus, Hungary's stance on immigration is a widely accepted path worldwide

In a surprise and unprecedented move by the European Parliament today, left-wing MEPs have voted to initiate Article 7 proceedings against Hungary.

Both the European Parliament and the European Commission have criticized Hungary over a number of issues including immigration, energy prices and their stance on NGOs.

According to the European Parliament, the situation in Hungary justifies the triggering of the procedure which may result in sanctions for Hungary. The 16-year-old law suggests that the offending nation could see its EU voting rights suspended and EU funds put under close surveillance.

“We’ve had the Tavares Report, now comes the Soros Report”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Wednesday in response to the move.

“European institutions are clearly unable to accept the fact that despite the application of international pressure, the government of Hungary is continuing to practice a migration policy that is exclusively aimed at ensuring the security of Hungary and the Hungarian people”, the Minister told Hungarian news agency MTI.

Referring to an MEP from Portugal’s green party, who was responsible for a previous report condemning Hungary, Mr. Szijjártó said that the latest EP vote was to all intents and purposes about “a Soros Report instead of a Tavares Report, and we are now witness to a new attack on Hungary by George Soros’s network”.

Hungarian government insiders state that they are surpised by the move considering there is an ongoing discussion with the European Commission regarding CEU, and the law on NGOs has not even been put up to vote by the Parliament.

What's more, Hungary's stance on immigration is a widely accepted path worldwide. The transit zones are not closed, asylum-seekers may leave by returning, toward Serbia, and there has been a concerted effort to work with other EU member states to help protect the European Union from the influx of illegal immigrants.

Today's proceedings saw the resolution adopted by 393 votes in favor, and 221 against, with 64 abstentions. MEPs reportedly see a "serious deterioration of rule of law and democracy" in Hungary. They state that what they see as controversial laws must be suspended or withdrawn and EU funds for Hungary should be under surveillance, according to the European Parliament.