"EU trying to deprive Hungary of its rights" - English

Viktor Orban arrives for a debate on Hungary’s situation at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Viktor Orban arrives for a debate on Hungary’s situation at the European Parliament in Strasbourg

Delivering more than the two-thirds majority required as many of Orban's allies in the conservative party deserted him, the vote, however, has little chance of ending up with the ultimate penalty of Hungary being suspended from voting in the European Union - if nothing else, its Polish ally would veto that. Szijjarto slammed the debate and the vote as a "show trial", arguing that Sargentini had compiled it without ever arranging a delegation visit to Hungary.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, echoing Orban's longtime position that allowed him to win a third-consecutive term in April, called the vote "petty revenge" against Hungary for its tough anti-migrant policies.

The vote in Strasbourg, France, came after a report from Dutch Green member of the European Parliament Judith Sargentini raised concerns about Hungary's erosion of democracy in recent years, including putting pressure on courts, widespread corruption, crackdown on the media and academic institutions.

The motion to trigger Article 7 was passed in the Strasbourg plenary session with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.

The proposal concerning Hungary, which MEPs vote on 12 September, would be the first time that Parliament takes the initiative of recommending that the mechanism should be triggered.

He also claimed that the vote involved "massive fraud" since abstentions weren't counted into the final tally, which made it easier to reach the needed majority.

The vote on the proceedings, known as Article 7 after a provision in the European Union treaties, was welcomed by Orban's increasingly besieged foes inside Hungary, who saw it as their final hope to preserve democratic values at home, and his critics across Europe.

Agoston Mraz, director of Hungary's pro-government think-tank Nezopont, said Orban still did not want to leave the EPP. Macron has sought to take the lead in fighting nationalists including Orban and Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and he has called himself the "main opponent" of the two politicians.

The decision creates head winds for Orban's ambitious quest to remake the continent in his model of "illiberal democracy" - a bloc that would be closer to Russian Federation, less open to migration, and less concerned about independent judiciaries, a free press, and minority rights.

"You think that you know the needs of the Hungarian people better than the Hungarian people themselves".

"If there isn't a clear signal from the European Parliament, then we have a very tough few months ahead of us, " said Marta Pardavi, co-chair of the Budapest-based Hungarian Helsinki Committee.

The report accuses Hungary of various breaches of European Union values.

The Czech Republic is part of the Visegrad group of countries that includes Slovakia, Hungary and Poland, the latter also facing a similar sanctions procedure launched by the executive European Commission in 2017.

In a brief speech to parliament on Tuesday, Orban vowed that Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance, which he charged was the motive behind the vote.

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