Hungary “can no longer be considered a full democracy,” the European Parliament said in a statement following the approval of a report on Thursday.
Parliament said the situation has “worn so much that Hungary has become an ‘electoral autocracy’.”
“Generally, [The European Parliament] Regrets that the EU’s lack of decisive action has contributed to a collapse of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in Hungary, turning one of its Member States into a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy,” the report said.
“There is an increasing consensus among experts that Hungary is no longer a democracy,” the report added.
In their report, MPs listed a range of concerns, including the functioning of the country’s electoral system and the independence of the judiciary. They also expressed concern for academic and religious freedoms, as well as the rights of vulnerable groups, including “ethnic minorities, LGBTIQ people, human rights defenders, refugees and migrants.”
The motion, which was passed by 433 votes in favour, 123 against and 28 abstentions, calls on the European Council and the European Commission to “pay more attention to the systematic dismantling of the rule of law” in Hungary.
In particular the The EU Parliament calls on the Commission to withhold Hungarian EU funds.
Some right-wing MEPs criticized the report, saying it was “based on subjective opinions and politically biased statements, and it reflects vague concerns, value judgments and double standards”.
“This text is yet another attempt by federalist European political parties to attack Hungary and its Christian Democratic, conservative government for ideological reasons,” they said in a minority position statement accompanying the report.
Citing corruption risks, the European Commission is expected later this week to recommend suspending billions set aside for Budapest from the bloc’s 1.1 trillion euros ($1.1 trillion) shared budget for 2021-27, according to Reuters. .
That would be the EU’s first such step under its new financial sanction called “cash for democracy” agreed two years ago, precisely in response to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, as well as his allies in Poland, liberal-democratic principles within the bloc.
For years, Orban has been mired in bitter feuds with the EU, to which Hungary joined in 2004, over the rights of migrants, gays and women, as well as the independence of the judiciary, the media and academia.
However, the self-proclaimed illiberal crusader denies that Hungary is more corrupt than other countries in the 27-nation bloc.
The European Commission has already blocked some €6 billion to Budapest from the bloc’s separate economic stimulus package, citing insufficient anti-graft safeguards in Hungary’s public tenders.
Funds worth as much as a tenth of Hungary’s GDP could be at stake if other EU members approve the Commission’s expected recommendation, a prospect that has weighed in on the Hungarian forint, Central’s worst-performing currency. -Europe.
Budapest has come under pressure in recent weeks to strike a deal with Brussels and release funding for the ailing Hungarian economy, and Orban’s government has pledged to create a new anti-transplant agency.
Member States have three months to decide on the Commission’s recommendation and could limit the penalty if they find Budapest’s actions convincing in the meantime.
But on Friday, Orban dismissed the EU Parliament’s statement as a “boring joke”.
“As far as the decision of the EU Parliament is concerned, we think it is in the domain of (a) joke. We’re not laughing because it’s a boring joke,” Orban said through a translator after meeting Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic, Reuters reported.