The Court of Justice of the European Union dismissed on Thursday Hungary’s action against a European Parliament resolution triggering an Article 7 procedure. The EP resolution adopted in September 2018 determined “the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach” by Hungary of the values on which the EU is founded. Taking the view that, when calculating the votes cast, the EP should have taken account of abstentions, Hungary brought action for the annulment of that resolution. The CJEU has ruled that MEPs’ abstentions did not have to be counted in order to determine the two-thirds majority of the votes cast.
Hungarian Justice Minister Judit Varga called the decision “completely unacceptable and shocking”. “In our view, the vote was not only contrary to EU Treaties, but also to the European Parliament’s own Rules of Procedure,” Varga said on Facebook. Had the EP included abstentions in the votes counted, the two-thirds majority required to adopt the “politically biased” Sargentini report at the root of the Article 7 procedure would not have been reached, Varga said. “As we all know, abstention means a tacit disagreement … the conscious political will of MEPs… ”
She noted, at the same time, that the ruling has no bearing on the contents of the Sargentini report. “The report’s accusations have been refuted by the Hungarian Government on several occasions, both professionally and in principle,” Varga said. “As before, in the spirit of loyal co-operation, Hungary is ready for a dialogue on issues related to rule of law. However, we will keep rejecting politically motivated witch hunts,” Varga said.
Balázs Hidvéghi, a ruling Fidesz MEP, slammed the court for endorsing the decision not to include abstentions in respect of the Sargentini report, calling it a “strange decision”. “Be it on their conscience,” he said. Irrespective of the decision, he added, the report was “full of falsehoods and lies, which Hungary has refuted on many occasions.” Hidvéghi said the report was “part of a campaign of political retaliation against Hungary launched because of Hungary’s anti-migration stance and its rejection of the migrant quota.”