Members of European Parliament (MEPs) have triggered Article 7 proceedings against Hungary, although Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker did not send a very strong signal against the worrying developments in Hungary. The European Parliament voted in favor of Article 7 with 448 votes against 197. 48 MEPs abstained but the required two-thirds majority was achieved. The decision is now in the hands of the European Council, which will have to vote on whether to continue proceedings over a breach of the bloc’s core values in Hungary. After Poland, Hungary is the second country for which the proceedings have been launched.
Jean-Claude Juncker on Wednesday (September 12) delivered his last State of the Union address before EU elections in May. It is expected that the May poll will see a rise of nationalist parties. Mr. Juncker called on national governments to be more flexible and ready for a compromise to overcome differences. “Let us decry knee-jerk nationalism, which attacks others and seeks scapegoats rather than looking for solutions,” Mr. Juncker said in his speech, which he said would be his last State of the Union. “Unchecked nationalism is riddled with both poison and deceit.”
The vote over Hungary’s fate has rekindled debate over the rule of the law in the small Central European country. The most severe punishment under Article 7 is the loss of voting rights in the European Council. “We continue to be very concerned by the developments in some of our member states. Article 7 must be applied whenever the rule of law is threatened. Respecting the rule of law is not an option but an obligation,” the head of the EU said.Mr.Juncker concluded in his speech that he hoped that the Union would find itself stronger than ever before after he leaves the office. “Let us decry knee-jerk nationalism, which attacks others and seeks scapegoats rather than looking for solutions,” Mr. Juncker said in his speech, which he said would be his last State of the Union. “Unchecked nationalism is riddled with both poison and deceit.”