Hungary “can no longer be considered a full democracy,” the European Parliament said in a statement after adopting the report on Thursday.
The parliament said that the situation “has become so bad Hungary has turned into an “electoral autocracy”.
“In general, [The European Parliament] It regrets that the EU’s lack of decisive action has contributed to the collapse of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary and the transformation of one of its member states into a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy,” the report said.
“There is a growing consensus among experts that Hungary is no longer democratic,” the report added.
Members of parliament listed a number of concerns in their report, including the functioning of the country’s electoral system and the independence of the judiciary. They also expressed fears about academic and religious freedoms, as well as the rights of vulnerable groups, including “ethnic minorities, LGBTIQ people, human rights defenders, refugees and migrants”.
Passed by 433 votes to 123 with 28 abstentions, the motion calls on the Council of Europe and the European Commission to “pay more attention to the systematic dismantling of the rule of law” in Hungary.
Especially The EU Parliament calls on the Commission to keep Hungary’s EU funds.
Some right-wing MPs criticized the report, saying it was “based on subjective opinions and biased statements, and reflected politically ambiguous concerns, value judgments and double standards”.
“This text is another attempt by federalist European political parties to attack Hungary and its Christian-democratic, conservative government for ideological reasons,” they said.
Citing corruption risks, the European Commission is expected to recommend freezing billions from the bloc’s 1.1 trillion euro ($1.1 trillion) shared budget to Budapest later this week, according to Reuters.
It would be the first such step under the EU’s new funding sanction called “cash for democracy” and was agreed exactly two years ago. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbanas well as its allies in Poland are returning to liberal democratic principles within the bloc.
For years, Orbán has been at loggerheads with the EU, which Hungary joined in 2004, over the rights of migrants, gays and women, as well as the independence of the judiciary, media and academia.
The self-proclaimed illiberal crusader denies that Hungary is more corrupt than any other nation in the 27-nation bloc.
The European Commission has blocked about 6 billion euros from the bloc’s separate Covid economic package, citing insufficient safeguards against bribery in Hungary’s public procurement, according to Budapest.
Funds worth a tenth of Hungary’s GDP could be at risk if other EU members approve the expected recommendation by the Commission, which has weighed on the Hungarian forint, Central Europe’s worst-performing currency.
Budapest has come under pressure in recent weeks to strike a deal with Brussels and unlock funding for Hungary’s ailing economy, and Orbán’s government has pledged to create a new anti-graft agency.
Member states have three months to decide on the Commission’s recommendation and can limit the penalty if they find Budapest’s actions credible.
But on Friday, Orbán called the EU Parliament’s statement a “boring joke”.
“As far as the decision of the EU Parliament is concerned, we think it is (a) a joke. We don’t laugh because it’s a boring joke,” Orban said through an interpreter after a meeting with Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Reuters reports.
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