Opposition parties hail ‘historic step’ by EP approving Sargentini report
The European Parliament has made a “historic step” by approving the Sargentini report on Wednesday, opposition Socialist MEP István Újhelyi said.
In a situation like this, in a “normal democracy” the government would voluntarily resign “because of what it has done against Hungary,” he told a press conference in Brussels.
Újhelyi described the decision as convincing, made by a firm majority and spanning over various party families.
Benedek Jávor, an MEP of the opposition Párbeszéd, said the outcome of the vote showed that the majority of the European People’s Party, of which ruling Fidesz is a member, also agreed with the conclusions of the report.
The report criticised the Hungarian government for its actions that violate the interests and rights of the Hungarian people, he added.
“The message to the Hungarian government is clear: undermining and violating basic rights and values cannot go unpunished in Europe.”
According to Jobbik, ruling Fidesz has sacrificed Hungary for its arrogance of power, no-compromise policies and unbridled hunger for money.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has clearly suffered a defeat and the seriousness of the decision is demonstrated by the fact that many members of the European People’s Party, of which Fidesz is a member, and Orbán’s “direct friends and allies” also supported the proposal, Jobbik said in a statement.
“It is immensely shameful for the Fidesz government that no other country had been subjected to such condemnation in the history of the European Union,” the statement added.
Green opposition LMP placed blame squarely on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party for the European Parliament’s approval of the Sargentini report calling for the launch of a sanctions procedure against Hungary.
LMP said in a statement that the report makes “numerous accurate and serious points about the state of the rule of law in Hungary”, adding, however, that only the Hungarian people had the power to “restore the rule of law”.
The party said losing voting rights in the European Council would ultimately hurt Hungary, rather than the government, adding that whether the Article 7 procedure is launched would now be “Viktor Orbán’s responsibility alone”.
LMP noted that its MEP was absent from today’s vote.
“LMP cannot support a procedure that makes the Hungarian people pay for the sins of the government and the prime minister,” they said.
Finally, the Hungarian Liberal Party said on Wednesday that the EP’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 “stood up for European values, the rehabilitation of the rule of law and democracy in Hungary, and the Hungarian people,” the party said. They have also declared that they do not tar with the same brush Hungary and Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s illiberal government, the statement said.
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, they said.
The report authored by Green MEP Judith Sargentini says there is a “clear risk” of a serious breach by Hungary of the values of the European Union and calls for the Article 7 procedure, which ultimately suspends a member state’s voting rights, to be opened.
The report was approved on Wednesday with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.
Feaured image: MTI