Condemn Hungary's Orban, Labour urges PM after MEPs fail to back censure

  • Condemn Hungary's Orban, Labour urges PM after MEPs fail to back censure

Condemn Hungary's Orban, Labour urges PM after MEPs fail to back censure

It could bring together populist right-wing parties from Hungary, Poland, Italy, Sweden, Austria, Denmark and France to challenge the dominance of the European People's Party (EPP), Angela Merkel's power base in the European parliament.

It is the first time in EU history that the European Parliament has initiated and approved such a motion, which needed a two-thirds majority to pass and was approved by 69.4% of MEPs. These values, which are enshrined in EU Treaty Article 2 and reflected in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, include respect for democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights.

Mr Orban has for years faced global condemnation over Hungary's electoral system, media freedoms, independence of the judiciary, mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees, and limits on the functioning of non-governmental organisations.

He also claimed the parliament's decision was "fraudulent" as abstentions were not counted in the final 448-197 vote.

The Commission, headed by EPP member Jean-Claude Juncker, has repeatedly clashed with Orban's government, especially since Budapest refused to admit asylum seekers under an European Union scheme launched at the height of the migration crisis in 2015.

He said that it would have been odd if such a vote on Hungary had not followed a similar one on Poland.

But Judith Sargentini, who presented the report prepared by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, welcomed the outcome.

"Today Michael Gove refused to condemn Viktor Orban who leads the Hungarian government's pandering to antisemitism and Islamophobia, attacks on judicial and media independence and abhorrent treatment of refugees and minorities". "The Hungarian people deserve better".

A resolution passed in Strasbourg Wednesday ruled that the Hungarian government posed a "systemic threat" to the EU's founding values of democracy and the rule of law.

The EPP's leader, Manfred Weber, said he would vote in favour of the motion targeting Orban's government, whose Fidesz party belongs to his grouping.

Removes references to the parliament president - Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, front, delivers his address during the opening of the autumn session of the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, Sept. 17, 2018.