The Dutch MEP who spearheaded the report that triggered Article 7 against Hungary said she was satisfied that the vote went through to stand for the protection of democracy and rule of law.
The report was about the rights of Hungarian citizens and, in a press conference, Judith Sargentini thanked all those who voted in its favour, putting their interest above those of party politics.
The European Parliament voted in favour of opening Article 7 proceedings against Hungary because of threat to the EU values. A two-thirds majority was needed and 69% voted in favour.
In a press conference held after the vote, Sargentini said that she was not sure that the vote would go through but was satisfied with the result.
“Are there are more countries in need for a more serious investigation – I say yes. Next week I’ll be in Poland with Civil Liberties Committee – at the same time there will be a delegation from Parliament visiting Malta and Slovakia because of the investigations surrounding the murder of journalists looking into corruption cases. Next Strasbourg session, we will be debating Romania and this will concide with the Romanian president holding a speech,” she said.
Nationalist MEP Roberta Metsola, who was also shadow rapporteur on the Hungary report, during a session on Tuesday spoke about the importance of choosing the politics of hope over the politics of fear.
“Our EU way of freedom, of compassion, of fierce personal liberty, of passionate equality, of rule of law, of free thought, free movement, free press, and of protection of minorities, is a global symbol of enduring courage,” she said.
The vote was welcomed by many, including Dutch MEP Sophie in ‘t Veld who will head a delegation to Malta next week, who pointed out that the Council of Europe could no longer turn a blind eye to the violations of the Hungarian government.
In the report, Civil Liberties Committee listed 12 breaches including the weakening of the Constitutional Court and the judiciary, corruption, restrictions on freedom of expression, assembly and intimidation of the media, non-governmental organisations and research institutions.
The report also expressed concern over violations of fundamental rights of refugees and minorities.