Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen has slammed the European Parliament’s Wednesday resolution proposing the invocation of Article 7 against Poland as “shameful and scandalous” and vowed that Hungary would block such a move.
“The Hungarian government stands by Poland and the adoption of such a resolution is out of the question,”
– Semjen, head of the co-ruling Christian Democrats, told MTI. Asked if this could mean that Hungary would veto the invocation of Article 7 against Poland, Semjen said “Yes.”
The resolution submitted by the European People’s Party, the Socialists and Democrats, ALDE liberals, the Greens and the radical left EP groups was adopted by the European Parliament at its plenary session with 438 votes in favour, 152 against and 71 abstentions earlier in the day. Hungarian MEPs of Fidesz-KDNP and Jobbik voted NO, MEPs in the Greens/EFA and the S&D groups voted YES.
The MEP group of Hungary’s allied ruling Fidesz-KDNP parties said they rejected to back the resolution because they considered it “unacceptable” that “Brussels should pressurise sovereign member states” and “punish democratically elected governments”.
Hungary’s Socialist MEP Tibor Szanyi said the European Union should ensure that “the unrestrained political rampages of [Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor] Orban and [Law and Justice party leader Jaroslaw] Kaczinsky do not serve as examples to be followed for future potential European despots”. He argued that Hungary and Poland’s disputes with the EU over the state of the rule of law in the two countries were linked because both governments had said that they would veto any potential EU sanctions against the other. Szanyi proposed that in order to prevent this, the European Commission should “carry out the two procedures simultaneously”.
Democratic Coalition MEP Peter Niedermuller warned that the rule of law was the EU’s most important basic principle and if it is threatened then so are human rights and democracy.
Benedek Javor of the Parbeszed (Dialogue) party said there was a growing number of countries in connection with which the EU has to hold debates on their state of the rule of law. He said the media markets of Hungary and Poland were being “monopolised by the governments” of the two countries, “relegating a significant portion of the press to tools of propaganda”.