In a historic vote on 12 September, over two-third of Members of the European Parliament voted to trigger Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, rejecting the Hungarian government's authoritarian tendencies over the past 8 years. The extensive report about the situation in Hungary was previously examined by five different committees (LIBE, CONT, CULT, AFCO & FEMM), all expressing serious concerns about the deterioration of the rule of law and democracy in the country. Today's vote is a culmination of years of futile dialogue between the EU and Hungary which could eventually lead to sanctions including the suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the Council.
ALDE Group President Guy Verhofstadt MEP welcomed the outcome of the vote: "Finally an overwhelming majority of MEPs has triggered Art. 7 TEU, recognising that Hungary has drifted too far away from European values. We are not willing to put up with it any longer. Mr Orban's explanations just do not wash anymore and it is great news that colleagues from his own political family are turning against him. Hungary deserves better, Europe deserves better and we are going to face off anyone who aims to destroy the European project, that's the message of today."
Sophie in 't Veld MEP, ALDE Group First Vice President added: "Screening, scrutinising and discussing democracy and the rule of law in EU member states is a natural consequence of the Europe's political integration. But it is a very sensitive one. So this report took the right approach: it is a factual, sober, mature and measured assessment of what the Orban government is doing to the country. And the facts speak for themselves: something is very rotten in the state of Hungary. We owe it to the Hungarian people to speak up. We won’t let them down."
In 't Veld also addressed Orban the day before. Watch it here:
“You talk about what your voters supposedly want. Well, we all represent voters here, and mine are asking why you get away not respecting our common values!” @SophieintVeld told #Orban during today’s #EPlenary pic.twitter.com/3Me2zYAXPm— Renew Europe (@RenewEurope) September 11, 2018
Louis Michel, Shadow ALDE's rapporteur of the report, commented: "Making a stand against the abuses of the Orban regime, MEPs have shown that enough is enough: the Hungarian Prime Minister will finally be accountable. No, Europe does not rain rockets down on Viktor Orban, Europe defends its founding values! It is time to reaffirm what Union we want and stop the sneaky rise of libertarian and populist regimes."
You can check more details about the statement and vote on the ALDE Group's website.
Our member party in Hungary Liberálisok also reacted to the vote by stating that the European Parliament's approval of the Sargentini report is a win for democracy in Europe.
"A large majority of MEPs said no to the Orbán government’s illiberal policies," the party said in a statement.
"The MEPs have “od up for European values, the rehabilitation of the rule of law and democracy in Hungary, and the Hungarian people. They have also declared that they do not tar with the same brush Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s illiberal government."
"Orbán and his Fidesz party have been dismantling Hungarian democracy and the rule of law for years, endangering in the process the country’s EU membership."