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Hungarian Government to contest vote on Sargentini Report at European Court of Justice

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Staff Writer | September 18, 2018
“The Government will be contesting the European Parliament (EP) vote on the Sargentini Report at the European Court of Justice in view of the fact that a two-thirds majority was achieved by ignoring the votes in abstention, in violation of the Treaty of Lisbon”, Minister heading the Prime Minister’s Office Gergely Gulyás announced, relaying the decision made at Monday’s Cabinet meeting.
Gergely Gulyás
Europe   Gergely Gulyás
Mr. Gulyás explained that the basic treaty of the European Union is extremely clear, stating that two-thirds of the votes cast are required to enable the launching of Article 7 proceedings, and since this majority was not achieved, the result was determined incorrectly and there is no need to conduct the proceedings.

The Minister also spoke about the fact that the European Parliament had never conducted a similar vote before, and that based on the Parliament’s regulations votes in abstention may be ignored during the course of normal voting, but this rule cannot be followed with relation to special proceedings, however.

He highlighted the fact that the legal action being taken by the Government will not have a suspending effect, but the Austrian Chancellery has previously stated that it will be turning to the legal service of the Council of the European Union with relation to the procedure employed during the vote, and the legal opinion issued by the body could have a decisive effect on the beginning of court proceedings.

It is obvious that the campaign of the European Parliament includes political opinions that would like to hold Hungary responsible because of the Hungarian position on migration “within the framework of a kind of witch hunt”, Mr. Gulyás said.

He stressed that the rule of law cannot be protected by grossly violating the law, and what is happening now proves that Article 7 proceedings should not be conducted against some Hungarian institution, but against the European Parliament.

The Minister told reporters that the Government is not concerned with relation to any investigation, in addition to which it regards it as unlikely that a four-fifths majority could develop within the Council, and there most certainly will not be a unanimous decision among the heads of state and government.

“In addition, a procedure launched by the European Parliament cannot end with the removal of voting rights, which also makes it obvious that this is an instrument for applying pressure to Hungary”, he declared, adding that although Hungary cannot suffer any legal disadvantage at the end of the proceedings, it could be suitable for enabling the punishment of the country that has been consistently rejecting immigration and was the first to oppose it during the course of the European Union election campaign. “This was quite clearly the goal of those who initiated the vote and who took their side”, he said.