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.