Brussels (Brussels Morning) The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has dismissed Hungary’s challenge to the European Parliament vote to investigate Hungary for alleged violation of democratic standards.
The EP initiated the process in 2018 in a move to sanction Hungary for corruption, its electoral and constitutional shortcomings, the independence of its judiciary and conflicts of interest, DW reported on Thursday.
The EP approved the Article 7 process against Hungary, with 448 MEPs voting in favour, 197 against and 48 abstaining. Budapest contested the move, arguing that a two-thirds majority had not been reached, were abstentions taken into account.
The Hungarian government headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán contested the resolution, claiming the voting procedure “seriously infringed” on the rules.
Act of ‘petty revenge’
Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, commenting on the vote, described it as “nothing less than the petty revenge of pro-immigration politicians”, according to a report in Thursday’s Guardian.
According to an ECJ statement, the Parliament had been right not to take abstentions into account when calculating the vote that adopted the resolution.
It noted that abstentions do not count towards the total number of votes cast in determining whether the two-thirds majority required to start a procedure has been reached.
This is the first time that the EP has launched such a process. and, if found guilty, Hungary could lose its voting rights.
In addition to the EP, the European Commission has taken similar action against Hungary. If at least 80% of EU member states agree that “there is a clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s democratic standards, Hungary could be stripped of its voting rights.
According to the bloc’s founding documents, the EU “is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”.