EU vs. Orban: Hungary faces prospect of sanctions

Viktor Orban defiant as EP parties across the board are ready to punish Hungarian PM on stance on immigration

Hungary’s prime minister, Viktor Orbán, claimed his country was being condemned for choosing not to be a “country of migrants”, as he conceded that the European Parliament was set to trigger the EU’s most serious sanction against his government.
Arriving late to a debate in the chamber in Strasbourg on Tuesday on the country’s courts, treatment of its Roma community and media and academic freedoms, Orbán told MEPs that the parliament was “insulting” his nation.
“I know that you have already made up your minds. I know that a majority will approve the report and I know that my speech here today will not manage to change your opinion,” he told MEPs.
“But still I have come here today because you are not going to condemn a government but a country as well as a nation. You are going to denounce Hungary that has been a member of the family of Christian nations for a thousand years.”
The Hungarian populist nationalist, who won landslide general election victory in April, was addressing the parliament before a vote on Wednesday on a report which has advised it to trigger article 7, which can ultimately lead to an EU member state losing its voting rights in the union’s institutions.
Orbán stands accused of undermining the independence of its judiciary and media, waging a propaganda and legal war against the Central European University, founded by the financier George Soros, and mistreating asylum seekers and refugees while limiting the functioning of non-governmental organisations who seek to aid them.
The parliament’s committees on budgetary control, education, constitutional issues and equal rights, all backed article 7, while the European Commission vice president, Frans Timmermans, told MEPs that he shared the “serious concerns” expressed in the chamber.