The EU to withdraw Hungary's voting rights
In an unprecedented move, the EU is set to punish Hungary for their "breach of core European values" and their "attack" on the media, minorities, and the rule of law, using, for the first time, the controversial article 7.
Orban, the most popular leader in Europe, has taken a tough stance on illegal immigration, refusing to accept EU-imposed quotas and his crackdown on Soros-financed organisations and media outfits.
If the Council does determine a “serious breach,” the Parliament, the Council or the Commission could take initiate a further step — deciding whether there is a “serious and persistent” breach of EU values. Reaching that conclusion could lead to the suspension of Hungary’s right to vote on Council decisions. But there seems little appetite among EU governments to go that far.
“Article 7 is meant to re-establish the conditions for a dialogue,” said a senior official from a Western European country. “The goal is not sanctions, the goal is to bring them back to practices that are tolerable.”
The final stage of the Article 7 process, a vote to suspend a country’s voting rights, requires only a qualified majority (55 percent of EU countries, comprising at least 65 percent of the EU’s population — all minus the accused country, of course). But to get to this point, the Council would have to have agreed unanimously at the previous stage.
Poland, a country that knows a thing or two about authoritarian, bureaucratic dictatorships, said it will oppose any sanctions imposed by the bloc on Hungary.
In a statement, Poland’s foreign ministry said: “Every country has its sovereign right to make internal reforms it deems appropriate. Actions aimed against member states serve only deepening divides in the EU, increasing citizens’ current lack of confidence to European institutions.”