Hungary will not be blackmailed, PM Orban tells EU

Hungary will not be blackmailed, PM Orban tells EU

The measure, which required a two-thirds supermajority of the European Parliament to pass, declared there was a "clear risk of serious breach" of European values by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The vote on Thursday was the parliament's bid to launch the punitive process of the European Union treaty's Article 7, although the vote has little chance of ending up with the ultimate penalty of Hungary being suspended from voting in the EU.

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.

There were 48 abstentions, so the 448 in favour exceeded the two-thirds needed only because it was based on 645 votes.

Orban on Tuesday attacked European lawmakers in a fiery speech at the parliamentary chambers in Strasbourg, France, saying, "Hungary is going to be condemned because the Hungarian people have decided that this country is not going to be a country of migrants".

Orban has said the mostly Muslim refugees pose an existential threat to Europe's Christian civilisation.

Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjarto said the approval of the report was "petty revenge by pro-migration politicians".

"Hungary will not accede to this blackmailing".

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But Italy's anti-immigration Interior Minister Matteo Salvini said his League party's six European Union lawmakers would support Orban.

"The report in front of you insults Hungary and insults the honor of the Hungarian nation", Orban said during the debate to MEPs, meeting for a plenary session in Strasbourg. He cracked down on media freedoms, rewrote laws to favor his center-right Fidesz party, and has blasted Brussels for allowing a wave of more than 1 million migrants into Europe in 2015.

Richard Corbett, Labour's leader in the European Parliament, said: "Theresa May and the Tories would do anything and make alliances with anyone, no matter how racist, if they think it will further their interests".

"It is very concerning that the Conservative Party MEPs chose to defend Hungary's appalling track record, rather than supporting this motion to protect the rule of law".

The European Parliament's approval of the Sargentini report "condemning Hungary" is "one of the biggest mistakes" the legislative body has ever made, Arnold Vaatz, deputy leader of the CDU/CSU group in Germany's Bundestag, told Hungarian public media in Berlin on Wednesday. Today we have said that enough is enough. "We had enough dialogue".

Poland will "vote against any possible sanctions" that could be "imposed on Hungary within ..." Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

"This is a historic result for Hungarian citizens and for European citizens everywhere, that the European Parliament has voted by a large majority to stand up for the values we all hold dear", Sargentini said.

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