In Brussels began consideration of the disciplinary proceedings initiated a year ago by the European Parliament against Hungary. At the meeting of EU Ministers on Monday, September 16, a report prepared by parliamentarians was presented, which, in particular, notes the infringement of media freedom, changes in electoral legislation, pressure on public institutions and the closure of the Central European University.
Berlin and Paris urged Hungary to respond to the charges
Berlin and Paris called on the Hungarian authorities to provide evidence of the illegality of the charges against them of disrespect for European values and violation of the principles of the rule of law. Critical points from the European Parliament the policy statement of Budapest “is alarming,” said French Secretary of state for EU Affairs Amélie de Montchalin, in his statement on behalf of the governments in Paris and Berlin.
She called on the authorities in Budapest to respond to the report and respond to the allegations. The discussion at the meeting of the Council of Ministers should allow the Hungarian government to “understand our concerns, respond to them and commit to eliminating them,” said the next de Montchalin.
In turn, the Hungarian government confirmed its position, calling the penalty process initiated by the European Commission “politically motivated” and “in many aspects incorrect in content.”
Some EU members oppose the penalty procedure
A formal warning by the EU Council of Ministers, which would be the first of several stages of the penalty procedure, requires the support of 22 of the 28 EU countries. It is unclear whether a vote will take place soon, as several Eastern European community members oppose the penalty procedure.
It has been a year since the case against Hungary was brought before the EU Council of Ministers for the first time: the European Parliament approved a penalty procedure against Hungary in September 2018.
The European Union accuses Budapest of violating the principles of the rule of law, in particular, harassment of non-governmental organizations. Now the EU Council will have to decide whether Hungary will be launched a penalty procedure under article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, which allows, among other things, to deprive it of a vote in the EU Council. If EU Ministers agree to the launch of the penalty procedure, Hungary will have to explain its actions.