Hungary PM defiant: EU to invoke Article 7

Hungary's PM Viktor Orban has accused the EU of "insulting" his country, as its parliament began considering disciplinary action against Hungary.

Background

Viktor Orbán stands accused of undermining the independence of its judiciary and media, waging a propaganda and legal war against the Central European University, founded by the philanthropist George Soros, and mistreating asylum seekers and refugees while limiting the functioning of non-governmental organisations who seek to aid them.

Article 7 of the EU Treaty allows for the suspension of certain rights of a member state if "there is a clear risk of a serious breach by a member state of the values referred to in Article 2." Those values comprise "human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities."

Analysis

On Wednesday, the EU voted in Strasbourg to impose Article 7 on Hungary, suspending its member rights and opening it up to sanctions. 

Dutch MEP Judith Sargentini report comprehensively lists attacks on the media, minorities, and the rule of law, that represent "a clear breach of the values of our union.

Liberal MEP and former Belgian Prime Minister Guy Verhofstadt attacked Mr Orban, saying he was not his country and that Hungary was "far more eternal than you are".

Orban's policies on immigration have soured Hungary's relation with the EU.  MEPs have been targetting Hungary for its handling of key human rights issues as well as for rejecting refugees from the middle east. 

Assessment

Our assessment is that the EU is looking to impose its values on Hungary despite a sovereign government in power. We feel that the EU may move to initiate sanctions on Budapest. However, we also feel that the EU will not actively try to sabotage member relations, and will thus look for bilateral talks with Budapest.