Poland says it will block any EU sanctions against Hungary ZlotoNews

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a debate concerning Hungary's situation as part of a plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg eastern France

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling - PM Orban

In the unprecedented move, 448 MEPs voted in favour of launching the so-called "Article 7" procedure, 197 against and with 48 abstentions, the EP referred Hungary to the other member states to check the health of the country's democracy.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, echoing Orban's longtime position that allowed him to win a third-consecutive term in April, called the vote "petty revenge" against Hungary for its tough anti-migrant policies.

"Viktor Orban's government has been leading the charge against European values by silencing independent media, replacing critical judges, and putting academia on a leash", Sargentini said. Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration, " he said, "and if needed we will stand up to you".

"This decision condemning Hungary and the Hungarian people was made because we Hungarians have demonstrated that migration is not a necessary process and that migration can be stopped", Szijjarto said in Budapest. Critics say Hungary's electoral system favors the governing parties; media freedoms and judicial independence are dwindling; corruption and the enrichment of Orban allies with European Union and state funds are on the rise; asylum seekers and refugees are mistreated; and there are efforts to limit the activities of nongovernmental organizations.

This is stated in the statement of the Polish foreign Ministry, reports the Chronicle.info citing 112 Ukraine. The report accuses the Hungarian government of eroding democracy and failing to uphold fundamental European Union values.

Grabbe's organization is part of the Open Society Foundations set up by Hungarian-American billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, an ideological opponent of Orban and blamed by the Hungarian leader, along with the NGOs Soros supports, for promoting mass immigration into Europe.

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Judith Sargentini, the Dutch Green MEP who led the vote, lauded the move as a positive sign from the European parliament, a demand of accountability against an assault on European values by Hungary.

The Hungarian prime minister received harsh criticism, even within his own political family.

On Tuesday Weber said the European Union might need to consider launching the sanctions procedure, under Article 7.1 of the bloc's Lisbon Treaty, if Budapest did not address the criticisms. Yascha Mounk, a lecturer on government at Harvard University has called Orbán "the most sophisticated enemy of liberal democracy in Europe".

With Britain about to leave the bloc altogether in March and Europeans voting in European Parliament elections in May, the row over Hungary - and Poland, which faces a similar sanctions procedure launched by the executive European Commission in 2017 -highlights tensions between nationalist and federalist camps. "There is nothing to talk about".

Mr Orban has also expressed his desire to remain within the EPP, which he said was "deeply divided" on the issue of migration.

In a brief speech to parliament on Tuesday, Orban vowed that Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance, which he charged was the motive behind the vote.

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