27 Jun, 2018

Clear risk of serious breach of EU values in Hungary

On Monday 25 June members of the European Parliament's Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) voted in favour of triggering Article 7 procedures against Hungary for breaching the fundamental values of the Union. Recent developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration in the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights with questions remaining about the independence of the judiciary, freedom of expression and the media, freedom of academic institutions, state level corruption and the harsh treatment of migrants and asylum seekers.

Liberals and Democrats in the European Parliament fully support the findings of the Sargentini Report and we expect the forthcoming plenary vote to call on the Council to trigger Article 7 proceedings. Stripping Hungary of voting rights in the Council would be a fair and appropriate counter-measure to enforce EU values and send a strong message against anyone whose aim is to dismantle democratic institutions.

ALDE Group leader Guy Verhofstadt MEP commented: "Democracy and rule of law are clearly under threat in Hungary and despite talking about their redlines the EPP has given a free vote to its Members on this report. The Hungarian government has chosen to ignore all international warnings and recommendations to protect the most basic elements of a liberal democracy. The EPP's act of complicity in undermining our EU values is inexplicable and it only helps further eroding the rule of law in Hungary. I call on all Members of this Parliament – independent of their political colours – to take their responsibility and help us stop Fidesz from destroying Hungarian democracy before it's too late."

Louis Michel MEP, ALDE Group's shadow rapporteur added: "After eight years of illiberal drift by the Orban government, the EU is finally beginning to react by adopting this committee report on the situation in Hungary. Today's vote is only a first step, but it restores hope for the Union's ability to defend our core values."

"If we let the leaders of Member States violate the most basic principles of our Treaties, we will be soon facing a bitter awakening. The time of complacency is over, the Commission and the Council cannot ignore the voice of the European Parliament. They must finally act to put Orban to his place."

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