Days after Hungary's Media Council decided to withdraw the frequency of the country's only opposition radio - Klubradio - and following the entry into force, on 1 January, of a new controversial Hungarian constitution, the S&D, ALDE and Greens-EFA groups in the European Parliament called for the suspension of Budapest's voting rights in the EU. Wilfred Martens, president of the EPP, is expected to outline his party's position on 6 January. Hungary's ruling Fidesz party is a member of the EPP group.

These three groups voice concerns about the freedom of the press, the independence of the judiciary and the independence of the national central bank in particular. "The time has now come to initiate legal and political sanctions by the EU institutions," said ALDE leader Guy Verhofstadt (Belgium). Verhofstadt, S&D Vice-President Hannes Swoboda (Austria), tipped to become group president later this month, and Greens-EFA Co-Chairs Daniel Cohn-Bendit (France) and Rebecca Harms (Germany) call for a plenary debate with Commission and Council and propose the application of Article 7 of TEU.

Said article stipulates that if "a serious and persistent breach" by a member state of the "values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights" is found, "the Council, acting by a qualified majority, may decide to suspend certain of the rights deriving from the application of the treaties to the member state in question, including the voting rights of the representative of the government of that member state in the Council". The Commission, which finds such "a last resort provision"...

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT