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Hungary's Orban Defiant As EU Debates Disciplinary Action

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban listens to a speech in the plenary session at the European Parliament in Strasbourg on September 11.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused the European Parliament of attempting to "blackmail" Budapest, as lawmakers began considering disciplinary action against his country.

Dutch lawmaker Judith Sargentini, who wrote a report into Hungary and Orban's Fidesz party, told parliament in Strasbourg on September 11 that the document "comprehensively lists" attacks on the media, minorities, and the rule of law.

These attacks were "a clear breach" of EU values, she said.

Orban, a Eurosceptic, denounced the report as an "abuse of power," said it contained "serious factual misrepresentations," and vowed that Hungary "will not accede to this blackmail."

The report "insults Hungary and insults the honor of the Hungarian nation," he said.

Fidesz won two-thirds of parliamentary seats earlier this year after campaigning on an anti-immigration platform.

For disciplinary proceedings against Hungary to go ahead, they need the backing of two-thirds of European lawmakers in a vote set for September 12.

In December, the European Commission took the step of launching proceedings against Poland, but this is the first time the European Parliament has tried to use the power, known as Article 7.

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    Rikard Jozwiak

    Rikard Jozwiak is the Europe editor for RFE/RL in Prague, focusing on coverage of the European Union and NATO. He previously worked as RFE/RL’s Brussels correspondent, covering numerous international summits, European elections, and international court rulings. He has reported from most European capitals, as well as Central Asia.