EU Parliament Calls for Sanctions Against Hungary Over Harsh Refugee Laws, NGOs

Viktor Orban speaks during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels Belgium

Viktor Orban speaks during a plenary session at the European Parliament in Brussels Belgium

The European Parliament will instruct the Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs to draw up a formal resolution for a plenary vote. The organization particularly focused on human rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees as well as freedom of education.

A resolution proposed by the socialists, far-left parties, the greens and the liberals to trigger Article 7 of the European Union treaty was passed with a majority of 393 votes against 221.

Liberal EU lawmaker Sophie In't Veld said Prime Minister Viktor Orban "has systematically undermined all critical voices and opposition forces".

Referred to as a "nuclear option", Article 7 can be activated when there is a risk of a serious breach by a member state of the fundamental values of the EU. It shows that a majority of EPP MEPs voted against their sister party Fidesz.

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It means that more EPP members voted for the resolution or abstained than the 98 who voted against it.

The resolution also calls for the European Commission to strictly monitor the use of EU funds by the Hungarian government.

"The European Parliament calls for the Hungarian government to agree with us so CEU can stay in Budapest as a free institution", the university tweeted on Wednesday.

The resolution, which was adopted by 393 votes in favor, 221 votes against, and 64 abstentions, might result in sanctions for Hungary, including stripping it of voting rights in the EU's top decision-making body, the European Council.

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"European institutions are clearly unable to accept the fact that. the Government of Hungary is continuing to practice a migration policy that is exclusively aimed at ensuring the security of Hungary", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement.

Orbán's critics say new legislation endangers the continued existence of the CEU, long considered a bastion of independent scholarship in Central Europe.

The European Parliament said in a statement that the situation in Hungary "represents a clear risk of a serious breach" of EU values, and urged the EU Council, which is made up of the 28 member states, to launch the procedure against the country. The European Commission has started separate legal action against Hungary over the issue.

For the first time in the history of the European Union, the resolution approved a majority of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) calls for triggering Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union which provides a mechanism to enforce EU values.

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