Viktor Orban’s blocking stance in the EU: one against all – politics

Has Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gone too far? In any case, the voices in the EU are getting higher and higher in favor of imposing sanctions on Hungary – at least. The reason is Orban’s blockade policy, which jeopardized the adoption of the Sixth Pact against Russia as a result of the invasion of Ukraine. Only when the European Commission responded to his demands did Orban pave the way for the measures, thus causing a real insult.

The key issue is that all important decisions in the EU must be taken unanimously. This regulation goes back to the time when the association still consisted of six members. In the meantime, however, 27 states are sitting on the same board, and it is becoming clear that some governments are abusing the right of veto in an almost blackmailing way in order to assert their own interests against the majority.

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It is now possible to withdraw the right to vote from individual countries. That is exactly what Katarina Barley, Vice-President of the European Parliament, is demanding in the case of Hungary. The country abuses the principle of unanimity in the EU as a means of blackmail, says the SPD politician. A country’s voting rights may be suspended for violations of the rule of law. “Especially in Hungary, one can no longer talk about democratic and the rule of law,” Barley explains.

The politician is aiming for the so-called Article 7 procedure. In the case of Hungary, the field would already be prepared. A few years ago, such a procedure was initiated against Budapest due to concerns about the rule of law, as Prime Minister Orban continued to dismantle democracy in his country despite warnings from Brussels. However, the procedure always failed because Poland stood firm on Hungary’s side and blocked the withdrawal of Hungary’s voting rights with its veto. The outbreak of war in Ukraine has changed relations between the two countries. While Warsaw stands by the neighboring country, Viktor Orban is compliant with Russian President Vladimir Putin. It is possible that Poland will now also vote to withdraw Hungary’s voting rights.

The simplest solution would be to abolish the EU unanimity principle

Most recently, the EU had put pressure on Hungary by withholding due grants from, for example, the Corona Fund. The reason is the danger of the money disappearing into dark channels. But Orban needs the funds to keep its expensive campaign promises. It is assumed that the Prime Minister would simply release the necessary billions with his blockade. If that was his plan, he would not succeed.

Hungary may also have to do without money due to the EU’s new rule of law mechanism, as such a procedure is currently under way. The mechanism has been in place since the beginning of 2021 and is the first direct link between EU funds and the EU’s fundamental values ​​such as the rule of law. It is an instrument for reducing funds from the EU budget if the rule of law no longer works in a Member State, and there is therefore a risk that EU funds will be misappropriated or wasted – for example through corruption.

The European Council must approve the application of the mechanism by a qualified majority. Qualified majority means: 55 percent of the member states, which together make up at least 65 percent of the total population of the EU.

The simplest solution, presumably, would be to abolish the principle of unanimity in the EU. This is a demand which, in the light of the Hungarian blockades, is now gaining more and more support from the other states. But there is a catch to this idea: even this can only be done unanimously. Equally popular is the demand to simply throw Hungary out of the EU. Such a step is simply not provided for in the Treaties. The objection that contracts can also be changed. is justified. But the same is true again here: such a decision can only be made unanimously.

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