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The EU acts against Hungary

by IdiotSavant Thu Sep 13th, 2018 at 10:56:33 AM EST

Over the past few years, Hungary has been transforming itself into an authoritarian state. The government of Viktor Orbán has undermined human rights and the rule of law, attacked judicial independence, and shut down independent media. Not to mention being virulently Islamophobic. This is all a violation of European democratic norms, and its finally grown too much for the EU, which has voted to pursue disciplinary action against them:

Front paged by Frank Schnittger

The European parliament has voted to trigger the EU's most serious disciplinary procedure against Hungary, saying the country's government poses a "systematic threat" to democracy and the rule of law.

The vote was carried with the support of 448 MEPs, narrowly clearing the required two-thirds majority, after Hungary's prime minister, Viktor Orbán, was abandoned by many of his allies in the centre-right European People's party (EPP).


It is the first time the legislature has triggered an article 7 procedure against an EU member state. The most severe punishment under article 7 is stripping a country of its voting rights in the EU.

Naturally the UK tories voted in support of Orbán, on the basis that the EU standing up for democratic norms would be a "dangerous precedent".

This is good news, and hopefully it will see the EU use these sanctions more widely against those members who are heading in an undemocratic direction. As for Hungary, ultimately Hungarians have to stand up for their own democracy. If they prefer to live in a dictatorship, there's not a lot the EU can really do, other than throw them out of the club until they've decided to be civilised again.

I agree that it is good news. Finally!

However, regarding your last sentence, one of the defining features of a dictatorship is the limited power of the population.

by fjallstrom on Thu Sep 13th, 2018 at 12:17:39 PM EST
Yes. And Hungary has an unfair electoral system which doesn't make things easy. But its not as if anyone else can legitimately change the Hungarian government.
by IdiotSavant on Thu Sep 13th, 2018 at 11:22:42 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Curb your enthusiasm: not much will happen in the near future, other than Orban using the EP vote to rile up the base even further at home.

After Parliament slaps Hungary, what next?

If the Council does determine a "serious breach," the Parliament, the Council or the Commission could take initiate a further step -- deciding whether there is a "serious and persistent" breach of EU values. Reaching that conclusion could lead to the suspension of Hungary's right to vote on Council decisions. But there seems little appetite among EU governments to go that far.


The leaders of all EU governments (except Hungary) would need to vote in favor of a "serious and persistent breach" in order for the process to reach the next stage. That's a very high bar. Hungary has already said it would block any such step against Poland and it seems very likely that Warsaw would return the favor. Other EU governments that have come under fire for their democratic and human rights standards would also be very wary of setting a precedent that could be dangerous for them.

And that has to complete before any eventual vote by the Council to suspend the country's voting rights.

by Bernard on Thu Sep 13th, 2018 at 08:38:55 PM EST
management is still processing

From the look of it, doing nothing is a rational alternative to securing A7.3 unanimity in the Council on any intermediate or direct sanction, least of all "nuclear option," suspending voting rights. 2021-2017 budget "adjustments" are ongoing, and resolution is about May 2019.

Poland is not going anywhere.

FIDESZ-EPP factions are more likely to punish themselves, not unlike Tory gov, than literally kill off disgruntled constituents on this winter's streets since there are no immigrants to assault. And the forint is pretty useless -- 1: EUR 0.0032, 1:USD 0.0037, 1: GBP 0.0028, 1: PLN 0.0136.

Some people just have to learn the hard way that nadie es libre.

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 15th, 2018 at 09:10:16 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Let's say, by 30 June 2019 suppression of Hungarians' civil rights (strictly speaking, no others' are relevant to EU gov police action) is overt and lurid.

UN picks over the "collateral damage," and its findings of fault (genocide, "war crimes," human rights violations) are inconclusive, as is the custom.

HU gov has not delivered A50 notice to the EU president.

Would it be unreasonable to expect incisive EU agreement to "discipline" HU where none before was forthcoming?

Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Sep 15th, 2018 at 09:36:46 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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