Sat | Sep 22, 2018

Hungary’s PM rejects EU criticism of his government’s policies,

Published:Wednesday | September 12, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Orban

BRUSSELS:

Hungary's prime minister yesterday strongly rejected criticism of his government's policies, as European Union (EU) lawmakers debated whether to sanction Budapest for allegedly undermining the bloc's values.

The European Parliament was debating whether Hungary should face action over its policies on migration, the media, corruption and civil society that opponents say are against the EU's democratic values and the rule of law.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as expected, claimed during the debate in Strasbourg, France, that Hungary was being attacked for its tough anti-immigration stance.

"This report does not give respect to the Hungarian nation," Orban told the lawmakers. "You think you know better than the Hungarian people what the Hungarian people need."

Orban said that political sanctions being considered against Hungary would be the first time in the EU that "a community condemns its own border guards."

"I reject that the European Parliament's forces supporting immigration and migrants threaten, blackmail and with untrue accusations defame Hungary and the Hungarian people," he said during a feisty speech.

"Whatever decision you make, Hungary will not give in to extortion, Hungary will defend its borders, will stop illegal migration and will protect its rights, if needed, from you, too."

Lawmakers will vote today on a proposal to launch the rule-of-law procedure, based on a report by the European Parliament's Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs, that could lead to Hungary losing its EU voting rights under a process known as Article 7.