EU Parliament votes on Hungary

The EU Parliament will vote today on opening legal proceedings against Hungary. Whether this course of action will gain a two-thirds majority will depend largely on the EPP group, of which Viktor Orbán's party Fidesz is also a member. Hungary's prime minister on Tuesday harshly criticised the report by MEP Judith Sargentini calling for the activation of Article 7 proceedings. How should the parliament decide?

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Wiener Zeitung (AT) /

At last a red line has been drawn

At last Orbán's policies are encountering opposition at the EU level, the Wiener Zeitung comments gleefully:

“The realisation has finally taken hold at the EU level that they can no longer just sit back and watch Orbán's activities. Instead of exporting the spirit of democracy and respect for the rule of law to the countries of the former Eastern bloc, the EU was in danger of importing an authoritarian stance, corruption and anti-democratic spirit from countries like Hungary. The fact that at last now a red line is being drawn sends a clear signal to the fans of 'illiberal democracy'.”

Libération (FR) /

Orbán blocking Weber's ambitions

Jean Quatremer, Brussels correspondent for Libération, explains why the Hungarian PM can't rely on the unconditional support of his group in the EU Parliament:

“If the EPP supports Orbán it will be siding with the Europhobic 'populists'. Weber is being cautious because the European elections are approaching and he is a candidate for the post of Commission president. Viktor Orbán is a thorn in his side: on the one hand because there is the risk that some voters will turn away from the traditional right if next May's European elections become a clash between Europe's friends and Europe's foes, and on the other hand because some heads of state and government could refuse to name the representative of an EPP which they view as 'Orbánised' and consequently open to alliances with the far right as head of the Commission.”

De Standaard (BE) /

Procedure could backfire

One should not expect the Article 7 procedure to work miracles against populist activities in Europe, De Standaard warns:

“The role of victim is a popular instrument in the hands of the identitarian enticers. If you isolate Orbán and those who share his views, you risk achieveing precisely the opposite of the desired effect. The menace of fines or political sanctions will only increase the desire for revenge against the EU and its 'arrogant' Western wing. Winning back the hearts and minds of those who vote for Orbán and other populists is more complex. Their fear and anger must be heard and answered. But at the same time they must be persuaded that their future lies with a peaceful Europe based on laws, rights and freedoms.”

Figyelő (HU) /

Hungary to be punished for its migration policy

The EU is not really concerned about democracy or the rule of law in Hungary, writes the national conservative daily Figyelö:

“Because of the numerous lies in the Sargentini report, Hungary is to be condemned - on the pretext of protecting democracy. The politicians, always with the image of an open society propagated by George Soros in mind and promoting migration, don't agree with Hungary's immigration policy and are trying to change it by hook or by crook. The Hungarians have expressed their desire not to live in an immigration country on many occasions since 2015. But those in Brussels who fear democracy, along with the Hungarian opposition, refuse to accept this.”

Magyar Hírlap (HU) /

European elections will end the liberal nightmare

The report is a another attack by the liberal establishment that stands to get a thrashing in the European elections next year, writes Mariann Őry, head of the foreign affairs desk at the pro-government daily Magyar Hírlap:

“The only good news is that the days of this arrogant, liberal elite, which is only interested in itself and which has lost all connection to reality, are numbered. Everyone knows that good cadres never lack a place to work and that they'll certainly all find good jobs in the Soros network. Because the coming European elections will be a big slap in the face for them. Shortly before he died in 2013, the French philosopher and historian Dominique Venner said that one of the alarming consequences of the masochism of Western culture was that migrants are colonising the continent. But he also described how the people are waking up and coming to their senses.”

Népszava (HU) /

Predictable outraged reaction from Budapest

It's hardly surprising that the Hungarian government is making such a fuss over the Sargentini report, the government-critical daily Népszava comments:

“The vote on the report is a millstone around our necks. And on Tuesday Viktor Orbán in person will try to make his case to the EU Parliament and trample the ideas of the Dutch Green Party MEP Sargentini underfoot. But before that everyone who belongs to the circle of power will gather once again in Kötcse [the meeting place of the Fidesz party leadership]. And it's clear what conclusions they'll come to. No doubt the Fidesz buzzwords we've already heard so much of in recent days will once again be heard: revenge, punishment, Soros. And of course: Brussels is seeking revenge and waging an offensive against our sweet homeland.”