Hungarian PM accuses European lawmakers of insulting Hungary

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Hungarian PM accuses European lawmakers of insulting Hungary

"New Democracy will vote in favour of the Sargentini report calling on the European Parliament to activate the envidaged sanctions procedure against Hungary, in accordance with Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union", he said.

MEPs will vote Wednesday on whether to call on member states to trigger Article 7 measures, created to prevent a serious breach of European values.

There is disquiet in the main center-right parliamentary group, the European People's Party (EPP), about his position, despite it including his Fidesz party.

It is a unclear however whether the 750-strong legislature can muster the two-thirds majority needed to pass the motion finding that Hungary has persistently breached the European Union core values under Orban.

If approved, the motion would theoretically open the way for sanctions such as a suspension of Hungary's voting rights in the European Union - but in practice that is sure to be blocked by Orban's ally, the nationalist government in Poland.

"The truth is that the verdict has already been written", Orban said.

For years, Orban has successfully deflected much of the worldwide condemnation about Hungary's electoral system, press freedoms, independence of the judiciary, mistreatment of asylum seekers and refugees and limitations on the functioning of non-governmental organizations, but criticism has been growing even within the European People's Party, to which his Fidesz party belongs.

"Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and defend its rights", said Orban, who embraces a vision of a Christian Europe and opposes an influx of Muslim and other migrants.

"The Hungarian people deserve better", Sargentini said.

On Tuesday, Orban said his country was being targeted for choosing not to be "a country of migrants" as he dismissed charges of corruption.

In July, the EU executive body warned it could take Budapest to the European Court of Justice over laws which call for up to a year in prison for anyone assisting an undocumented migrant.

The vote on whether to move further with what is dubbed "the nuclear option", which may ultimately lead to Hungary losing its say in the European Council, took place in the European Parliament in Strasbourg on Wednesday.

"The big issue is how the EPP will vote, particularly Mr. Weber", said Maria Joao Rodrigues, a leading Portuguese member of the Socialists and Democrats group, which supports the motion.

Wednesday's vote also means that a formal warning will be sent to Hungary for violating the EU's values.

A group of United Nations human rights experts on Tuesday expressed concern [press release] regarding Hungary's new immigration measures.

"There are no compromises on the rule of law", Kurz said.

Weber, a candidate to succeed fellow EPP member Jean-Claude Juncker as head of the commission next year, saw his bloc vote 115 for, 57 against with 28 abstentions.

"We are going back to a European history none of us want to see again", said European Commission vice-president Frans Timmermans.

EPP leader Manfred Weber, nominally an Orban political ally in the assembly, conceded that "the start of a dialogue based on Article 7 could be needed".

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