Croatia Shares Some of EU's Concerns about Hungary

The government has been accused of running into the arms of Hungary after alienating its European allies

The measure, which required a two-thirds supermajority of the European Parliament to pass, declared there was a "clear risk of serious breach" of European values by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017, but Wednesday's vote marks the first time that the European legislature has ever triggered the action.

With elections for a new parliament in May 2019, the vote reflects growing pushback among traditional parties in Europe against the rise of populists, who oppose migration and are accused of undermining the rule of law.

Regarding the report by the European Parliament by Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini, adopted by the European Parliament on Wednesday, Orban said that the disciplinary process initiated by the report did not represent "any danger" for Hungary.

In a press conference following the successful vote for the legislative resolution, rapporteur Judith Sargentini indicated that the next steps to be taken were now unclear.

"Hungary won't give in to such blackmail and will continue to protect its borders", Salvini wrote on Facebook after the 448-197 vote by Euro MPs to sanction Hungary for flouting European Union rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption. 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. Possible sanctions against the EU country concerned are not clearly defined in the EU treaties, but might include suspending voting rights in the Council and the European Council.

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A spokeswoman for Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government said Warsaw was "very anxious by the decision", because it "threatens" European Union unity.

"They want to brand Hungary and want to weaken the resistance of Hungary", Orban said. Though defiant, he was resigned to the outcome, saying the parliament seemed to have already made up its mind.

"So the plan is that if Hungary can not be forced to let in migrants, then it must be stripped of its right to protect its borders", Reuters quoted Orban as saying on state radio. Macron has sought to take the lead in fighting nationalists including Orban and Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and he has called himself the "main opponent" of the two politicians.

The move saw some members of the European People's Party bloc - of which Mr Orban's Fidesz movement is a member - vote against their ally in Budapest.

The vote was hailed as "historic" by Berber Biala-Hettinga, Amnesty International's expert on human rights in the EU. "And we should not have any illusions, they will let in the migrants". The message to government is clear: undermining and violating basic rights and values can not go unpunished in Europe, Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said. "The Hungarian people deserve better".

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