Following the EP vote on the controversial Sargentini Report last week, a diverse group of influential politicians raised their voices in protest against condemning Hungary.
“By punishing Hungary, the EP has committed one of its biggest mistakes to date,” the German CDU’s Arnold Vaatz said, adding that he regrets that many of his fellow party members participated in “the orchestrated offense against Hungary.” According to Vaatz, the effect of the EP’s decision will be devastating, as eastern member states are increasingly looking for ways to turn away from the EU without major financial losses.
Petr Fiala, Vice-President of the Czech Republic’s Chamber of Deputies, emphasized in an interview with Czech state TV how detrimental the launching of the Article 7 procedure can be to the EU. “Steps like these lead to a situation when states develop mutual distrust towards each other,” he said. In Fiala’s view, the Czech Republic has only one option: to stand with Hungary and Poland, its Visegrad allies, and reject the actions of EU institutions.
In a Facebook post, Italian Minister of Interior Matteo Salvini also assured Prime Minister Orbán of his support. “We need to say NO to sanctions, NO to condemning a democratically elected government,” he wrote.
“The Article 7 procedure against Hungary questions solidarity and unity within the European Union,” Sejm VP and Law and Justice Parliamentary Group Leader Ryszard Terlecki added. Terlecki also believes that the decision itself is wrong as it creates conflict between national and EU-level decision-making procedures. “It seems that EU institutions are unable to make peace with the outcomes of domestic elections every time they don’t like them,” he concluded.