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The European Leaders Who Support Orbán in the Article Seven Debate

Gábor Sarnyai 2018.09.20.

Following the EU’s plenary session, many politicians have raised concerns about launching Article Seven. The Deputy Speaker of the Czech Parliament, Petr Fiala, explained how the procedure could spur growing mistrust among member states.

The deputy chief whip of CDU and CSU in Bundestag, Arnold Vaatz, also warned that the procedure could trigger a dangerous trend in which Central and Eastern countries start to discuss how to turn their backs on Europe without incurring a huge financial loss. Zbigniew Ziobro, Justice Minister of Poland, stated that his country will support Hungary under any and all circumstances.

Poland and Czech Republic take a firm stance

The ongoing Article 7 procedure against Poland should be closed, state secretary at the Prime Minister’s Office Szabolcs Takács said on Tuesday after an EU ministerial meeting in Brussels.

The second official hearing of the Polish government was held at the meeting of EU affairs ministers, and Takács said that the Polish delegation once again responded to all the questions “correctly, item by item.”No decisions have been made regarding the next steps to be taken, Takács said and expressed his belief that Warsaw was exposed to a politically motivated procedure.

Czech Prime Minister, Andrej Babis, proclaimed that The Czech government stands behind Viktor Orbán after the European Parliament voted to sanction the country for flouting EU rules.

“This nonsense just ushers negative sentiment into the European Union,” Babis told online news website Parlamentni Listy when asked about the vote, “so, I stand behind Orbán. We are allies,” he added.

Bulgaria’s government, led by Boyko Borisov, will soon draft a position opposing a pending vote to initiate the Article 7 process which could take away Hungary’s right to vote in the Council of the EU.

This was announced on Wednesday after the Council of Ministers met in Sofia and backed a motion by Defence Minister, Krasimir Karakachanov from the VMRO nationalists, to side with Hungary in any vote to activate the so-called “nuclear option” of taking away its voting rights.

But according to 444.hu, Karakachanov’s act wasn’t in accordance with his coalition partners. Boyko Borisov has announced there is no such agreement because it is not necessary to take sides now due to the slow procedure.

Fidesz’s position in the EPP seems to have improved:

The Hungarian leader’s party should stay in EPP while the EU examines the Parliament’s claim, said the center-right alliance’s president, Joseph Daul, according to Politico. “The press can’t force me to throw out Viktor Orbán,” Daul said at a joint news conference with Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz. “We have democracy in our party and rule of law; we have our freedom and we have rules.”

Too early to speculate

Some critics have emerged in the case of Slovakia and Romania in Strasbourg. Rule of Law, corruption, and human rights violations charges could bring the neighboring countries closer to Hungary’s position in the debate. However, earlier diplomatic experiences give cause for uncertainty. Italy’s stance is also unclear. During the vote, the Liga was divided: most MEPs of Five Star in Italy voted against the Hungarian PM on the Article Seven issue, and they were unhappy with his visit to Italy and subsequent meeting with Salvini.

By the time the process reaches the final vote in the European Council, many national governments may change, along with the composition of the Parliament.


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