The European Parliament has voted in favor of a resolution that questions the ability of Hungary to take over the rotating presidency of the European Council next year, citing concerns over a deterioration in the rule of law and breaches of fundamental EU values.
The resolution, which is purely symbolic and non-binding, was passed with 442 votes in favor, with 144 against and 33 abstentions. The motion was widely endorsed by liberal parties including the European People’s Party (EPP), the Socialists & Democrats (S&D), Renew Europe, the Greens, and the Left.
The text highlighted concerns some EU lawmakers have about how credibly Hungary can fulfill the task of the European Council presidency in the second half of next year “in view of its non-compliance with EU law and the values enshrined.”
MEPs who co-authored the text hailed the result of Thursday’s vote. These included Sophie in ‘t Veld and Daniel Freund — a longstanding critic of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s administration who at times has bordered on hysterical.
“Wide majority in the European Parliament for our resolution, questioning the ability of the Orbán government to organize the Council presidency in 2024. We must not allow an autocrat to head the EU!” Freund proclaimed on social media.
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FPÖ MEP Harald Vilimsky described the draft resolution proposed by left-wing EU lawmakers as “disconcerting in terms of democratic politics”
“I don’t think that the European Union is the campaign team for Mr. Orbán, we have allowed him to do that for the last 13 years, so enough is enough,” added Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld.
The resolution calls on the European Council to find a “proper solution” to their concerns about a Hungary-led organization, or else face “appropriate measures” from parliamentarians. No further details on what these so-called measures would look like have been made available.
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga criticized the liberals within the European Parliament on Wednesday, accusing them of continuing a “pressure campaign against Hungary.”
“The left-liberal majority of the European Parliament is conducting a more fierce anti-Hungarian campaign than ever. Those who previously attacked us because of our migration and then our child protection policy are now trying to brand and punish Hungary because of their position in the peace party,” she wrote in a social media post.
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“They definitely want to drag our country into war and therefore they do everything, they attack on multiple fronts. They want to take away the EU presidency in the second half of 2024 from us and to rob Hungarians of the EU resources they deserve,” Varga added.
In reality, the resolution is meaningless and only serves to show the disdain felt by liberal politicians in Brussels toward the conservative Orbán administration which refuses to toe the Brussels line on issues relating to Ukraine and the wider progressive ideology promoted by the European Union.
“The European Parliament has no role in which member state holds the Council presidency. That’s down to the European Council and the Council, subject to a Treaty requirement of ‘equal rotation,'” tweeted Steve Peers, a British university professor of EU Law.