European Union votes overwhelmingly to take action against Hungary for undermining democratic norms

The Hungarian government and its media have used the Sargentini report to foment hatred towards the EU and George Soros, with the aim of boosting support for the ruling parties ahead of the 2019 European Parliament election, commentators have said.

The issue of decision for European conservatives is whether they like what Orban says about democracy and academic freedom and a free press, Ignatieff added.

"Our perspective is something that would help the EPP remain the strongest political community or group in the European Parliament", Kovacs said.

Sargentini's report also accused the Hungarian government of violating the European Union's rules on the rule-of-law after Orban stripped Hungary's judiciary of independent judges with those close with close ties to his government.

To become the first-ever case of the European Parliament asking EU capitals to launch the punitive mechanism against one of their own, it must win the backing of at least 376 lawmakers and two thirds of the votes cast.

"Hungary will not accede to this blackmailing, Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and - if needed - we will stand up to you", Orban told the European lawmakers.

Full invocation of Article 7 to limit Hungary's voting power is expected to be hard, observers said, noting that such a vote requires full agreement from the European Union, and nationalist governments like Poland's are likely to block severe moves against Orban.

Immigration has divided Europe in recent years.

"Democracy in our member states and in our European Union can not exist without the rule of law", Timmermans said, and went on to list concerns about fundamental rights, corruption in Hungary and the treatment of migrants.

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Women were discriminated against in public policy, there were "acts of violence and the prevalence of negative stereotypes and prejudice against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people", and there had been a "deterioration of the situation as regards racism and intolerance in Hungary" characterised by anti-Roma language and violence - and "anti-Semitism is a recurring problem".

Opposition to Orban's vision does not just come from the left.

Her proposed resolution warns that Hungary's actions represent a "systemic threat" to the bloc's democratic founding values.

He also defended his migration policies. Hungary is a neighbouring country with whom we want to build good neighbourly relations. Hundreds of thousands of them. "We should not let Europe slide back to the past". "We think differently about the essence and objective of the family and we do endorse radically different views on migration".

"I'm the first to oppose measures or sanctions against the Hungarian people and of this country, ' said guy Verhofstadt. You are the leader of a political party - Hungary is far more than what you are", before concluding his comments with, "you are the seed of discord that will ultimately destroy our European project".

But Judith Sargentini, who is spearheading a vote Wednesday on whether to take action against Hungary, warned her fellow MEPs that the 28-nation bloc's founding values are at stake.

The article 7 vote is due on Wednesday, and if it is in favour would then go to the European Council for a final decision.

They form the biggest faction in the European Parliament, the European People's Party (EPP), where lawmakers with German Chancellor Angela Merkel also sit.

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