The “deceitful” Sargentini report critical of the rule of law in Hungary was pushed through by the European Parliament’s “pro-migration majority” in an attempt to try to influence the country’s immigration policy, Justice Minister Judit Varga said on Facebook. In her post, Varga noted that the European Court of Justice is scheduled to hear Hungary’s legal challenge against the report on Monday, with the complaint that the EP had violated voting rules when adopting the report. The minister noted that on Sept. 12, 2018, the EP adopted the report with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.
The report calling for the Article 7 procedure to be launched against Hungary needed a two-thirds majority to pass, meaning at least 462 supporting votes, Varga said. “This is simple mathematics.” However, the EP arbitrarily decided that abstentions would not count as votes and ignored them in the final vote count, she said. “It’s also simple arithmetic that it’s easier to secure a two-thirds majority this way,” she added. Varga insisted that the EU’s founding treaties and the EP’s rules of procedure all supported Hungary’s argument.
Whether an MEP voted in favour of or against the motion, voted to abstain or chose not to vote at all was a conscious decision, the minister said. The EU’s interpretation of the vote renders abstention votes meaningless and does not count them as votes, she argued. “This not only goes against the law and common sense, but also raises the issue of the restriction of an MEP’s mandate.”
The Hungarian government, on the other hand, will show up for Monday’s hearing with firm and strong legal arguments, Varga said, adding that hopefully, EU institutions would respect the principles of the rule of law “the same way they expect others to”.