V. Orban rejected the resolution adopted by the EP the day before with such a statement as a “joke”.
The MEPs, with 433 votes to 123 and 28 abstentions, approved the proposal to name Hungary a “hybrid electoral autocracy regime” that “seriously violates” the democratic norms of the European Union.
Part of this blames EU member states for turning a blind eye to potential abuses.
In the resolution, MPs express their concerns about Hungary’s constitutional and electoral systems, judicial independence, potential corruption, public procurement violations, LGBTQ+ rights, media, academic and religious freedoms.
Lawmakers also condemned the “deliberate and systematic efforts by the Hungarian government to undermine the fundamental values of the European Union”, such as human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities.
“It’s funny to me,” Orban said in Belgrade, where his close ally Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic presented him with the country’s highest award.
“The only reason we’re not laughing at it is because we’re sick of it.” It’s a boring joke. This is the third or fourth time that a resolution condemning Hungary has been adopted in the European Parliament. At first we thought it was significant. But now we consider it a joke,” he said.
The vote on the resolution became the latest event to fuel tensions between the EU institutions and Budapest. The European Commission is expected to announce on Sunday that it is ready to suspend the payment of some EU funds to Hungary due to its alleged violations. Hungary joined the EU in 2004.
Thursday’s vote was largely symbolic and does not change the course of EU decision-making, as major issues such as sanctions against Russia require unanimous approval from all 27 member states, including Hungary.
The resolution approved at the EP plenary session held in Strasbourg does not impose any punishment on V. Orban’s government, and other EU countries are not obliged to take any specific actions.
V. Orban, who is visiting Belgrade, once again criticized EU sanctions against Russia due to the war it started in Ukraine in February.
“When I look at the sanctions in the field of energy, I see that we Europeans, who are energy dwarfs, have taken sanctions against the energy giant,” V. Orban said.
“It’s a completely unusual phenomenon in history, and I think things like this are usually not good. These sanctions are hurting us very badly. They harm us, they are painful for us, they cost a lot of money,” he added.
At a joint press conference with V. Orban, A. Vučić reiterated that Serbia will not join Western sanctions against Russia, despite the EU’s calls to align its policy with the bloc if it wants to become its member.
“Serbia continues to follow the European path, but it also has state and national interests from which it cannot and will not retreat,” said A. Vučičius.
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