The mendacious Sargentini Report was pushed through by the EP’s pro-immigration majority in order to put pressure on Hungary’s immigration policy, the Justice Minister stated on her social media account on Sunday.
In her post, Judit Varga had highlighted that on Monday the Court of Justice of the European Union was hearing Hungary’s petition for annulment in connection with the Sargentini Report adopted with an unlawful vote count.
She recalled that during the vote on 12 September 2018, Members of the European Parliament cast 448 votes for the report, 197 against, with 48 abstentions.
The two-thirds majority required for the adoption of the decision triggering the application of Article 7 would have necessitated two thirds of the total votes cast (693), meaning minimum 462 votes for the resolution. This is simple mathematics, she stressed. However, the EP decided on an arbitrary basis that abstentions counted as votes not cast, and these were disregarded for determining the existence of a two-thirds majority. It is also a simple mathematical calculation that this way it is easier to reach the required two thirds, she added.
According to Varga, the Treaties of the EU, the EU’s procedural rules and also its practice so far all clearly prove the point argued by the Hungarian party.
The Justice Minister pointed out that for anyone who does not wish to immerse themselves in the analysis of legal texts it is enough to take a look at the EP’s voting machine; in her post, Varga also shared a photo of its buttons. A Member of the European Union can press one of three buttons, meaning that they can cast one of three votes: yes, no and abstention. Those who do not wish to vote will not press any of the buttons or will not even enter the room where the votes are cast, she wrote, adding that there were Members who did not attend the vote.
She said it was a conscious decision on the part of every MEP which of the three voting options they pressed or whether they chose not to press any of the buttons as recorded during the vote in public records.
The EP’s legal construction would deprive abstentions of their content by regarding them as votes not having been cast at all. This is contrary not only to the law and common sense, but even raises the issue of the restriction of the free mandates of MEPs, Varga underlined.
She said it is in this spirit that the government is preparing for the Monday hearing with firm and robust legal arguments. The Justice Minister expressed hope that EU institutions would regard the principles of the rule of law as binding on them as well, including the transparency of procedural rules which they are so eager to take others to task over with such enthusiasm. According to Varga, this is a fundamental issue of credibility from the respect of the EU’s rule of law initiatives.
She observed that a few days before the vote Sargentini herself may have had some concerns about the calculation of votes when she advised hesitating MEPs to go and have a coffee during the vote about Hungary.