Monday, 22 October, 2018

Around 1,000 Hungarians protest against Orban at pro-EU rally

Hungary's Orban continues to defy the EU with Russia trip Hungary’s leader: EU seeks to undermine border defense tasks
Deanna Wagner | 20 September, 2018, 14:58

MEPs have voted overwhelmingly for action against the Hungarian government for undermining the bloc's democratic values and rule of law.

Shadow Cabinet Office minister Jon Trickett urged the PM to speak out against Viktor Orban's administration.

"It's a national shame that it has got to this stage, that Hungary is on trial before Europe", said Dezso Hatvani, a shopper at a Budapest market, adding he hoped any sanctions are levelled at the government and not at ordinary people.

"Our position in this issue is clear - our homeland is not a house of passage nor a reception camp", Orban said.

Who is Viktor Orban?

"The pro-immigration side took revenge by cheating", said Magyar Idok, a daily newspaper considered a government mouthpiece.

The vote amounts to a stunning political blow for Prime Minister Orban, who had told the parliament on Tuesday that a scathing report leading to the vote was an insult to Hungary's honour and people.

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Since he came to power in 2010, Orban has used his parliamentary majority to pressure courts, media and non-government groups in ways his opponents say breach European Union rules.

The ultimate sanction, the suspension of Hungary's voting rights, is not being proposed. For Hungary is now locked in a major confrontation with the EU, a tussle which largely pits the western part of the continent against its eastern, former communist half, and which has the potential to damage European cohesion just as much as Britain's impending departure from the Union.

As abstaining votes had not been counted, he said that changed the outcome of the vote.

"It's a long-standing principle of a number of MEPs from different countries and from different parties not to believe that the European Parliament should interfere in or censure the internal democracy of a particular country", he said.

A source told the Press Association Mr Gove's "instinct" was to be "critical" of Mr Orban.

But Mr Orban's Russian Federation visit is also being interpreted as an act of defiance in the European Union.

Asked by Marr if the party needed Mr Orban's support for its Brexit plan, Mr Gove said: "No, because I think it would be wrong for me at a time when we need solidarity against a number of different threats - you mention anti-Semitism".