EU lawmakers seek action over rights, rule of law in Hungary

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Lawmakers vote on resolution to probe the state of democracy and deterioration in human rights.

The resolution demands that an European Union procedure be triggered to investigate whether the laws are in "serious breach of European Union values".

Where five out of the six Estonian members of the European Parliament on Wednesday voted in favor of a decision criticizing Hungary, Pro Patria, and Respublica Union (IRL) MEP Tunne Kelam, the member of the European People's Party group, voted against it.

It calls for [press release] "the Hungarian Government to repeal laws tightening rules against asylum-seekers and non-governmental organisations, and to reach an agreement with the USA authorities, making it possible for Central European University to remain in Budapest as a free institution".

The strongly-worded resolution states that "the developments in Hungary have led to a serious deterioration of the rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights over the past few years".

The potential triggering of Article 7 may force Orban to rethink, as recent polls show his approval ratings and of his ruling party Fidesz have slumped in the aftermath of the CEU scandal.

The resolution also urged Hungary to reach an agreement with U.S. government that would enable the Budapest-based Central European University (CEU), founded by USA financier George Soros, to continue operating as a free institution.

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"European institutions are clearly unable to accept the fact that. the Government of Hungary is continuing to practice a migration policy that is exclusively aimed at ensuring the security of Hungary", Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said in a statement.

"He is guilty of interfering with academic freedom, controlling the school curriculum, gagging the media, harassing NGOs, undermining the independence of the judiciary and limiting freedom of religion. Under his watch, asylum seekers are maltreated and detained in shameful conditions, while government campaigns have fanned racism and hatred", she said.

The European Parliament has passed a resolution demanding that the Hungarian government allow the threatened Central European University to remain in Budapest.

But many in the EPP group have grown increasingly annoyed with having to defend Orban who relentlessly attacks Brussels at home in Hungary. Orban claims Soros is undermining Hungarian interests because of his support for migrants.

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