“Inclusive, [The European Parliament] It regrets that the lack of decisive action on the part of the European Union has contributed to the collapse of democracy, the rule of law and basic rights in Hungary, and the transformation of one of its member states into a hybrid system of electoral tyranny.”
“There is a growing consensus among experts that Hungary is no longer a democracy,” the report added.
Members of Parliament listed in their report a range of concerns, including about the functioning of the country’s electoral system and the independence of the judiciary. They also expressed concerns about academic and religious freedoms, as well as the rights of vulnerable groups, including “ethnic minorities, LGBT people, human rights defenders, refugees and migrants.”
The motion, which passed by 433 votes to 123 against and 28 abstentions, calls on the European Council and the European Commission to “dedicate more attention to the systematic dismantling of the rule of law” in Hungary.
In particular, the The European Parliament calls on the Commission to withhold Hungary’s funds from the European Union.
Some right-wing MEPs criticized the report, saying it was “based on subjective opinions and politically biased statements, and reflects vague concerns, value judgments and double standards”.
“This text is yet another attempt by European federal political parties to attack Hungary and its conservative Christian democratic government for ideological reasons,” they said in a minority position statement attached to the report.
Citing corruption risks, the European Commission is expected later this week to recommend suspending billions earmarked for Budapest from the EU’s 1.1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) common budget for 2021-27, according to Reuters.
Orban has for years faced sharp disputes with the European Union, which Hungary joined in 2004, over the rights of immigrants, gays and women, as well as the independence of the judiciary, media and academia.
However, the illiberal crusader activist denies that Hungary is more corrupt than the other countries in the 27-nation bloc.
The European Commission has already blocked about 6 billion euros owed to Budapest from an economic stimulus package separate from the bloc, citing inadequate safeguards against graft in public procurement in Hungary.
Funds worth up to a tenth of Hungary’s gross domestic product could be at risk if other EU members agree to the expected recommendation from the commission, a prospect that has affected the Hungarian forint, the worst-performing currency in Central Europe.
Budapest has come under pressure in recent weeks to strike a deal with Brussels and unlock funding for Hungary’s faltering economy, and Orbán’s government has promised to create a new anti-graft agency.
Member states have three months to decide on the committee’s recommendation and can limit the punishment if they find Budapest’s measures in the meantime convincing.
But Orban on Friday dismissed the European Parliament’s statement as a “boring joke”.
“Regarding the decision of the European Parliament, we believe that it is in the realm of (a) a joke. We are not laughing because it is a boring joke,” Orban said through an interpreter after meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic. Reuters reported.
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