EU Parliament votes for actions against Hungary – Alfred Sant only Maltese MEP who didn’t vote

Members of the EU Parliament have voted in favour of disciplinary actions to be taken against Hungary over their alleged breaches of major principles on which the EU is built. The Government of PM Viktor Orban is being accused of attacks against the media, minorities and the Rule of Law, accusations he is refuting.

Over two thirds of the Euro Parliament supported a Censure Motion, including Maltese MEPs with the exception of Alfred Sant who did not vote.

This is the first time in its history that the EU Parliament has voted in favour of such disciplinary actions.

The motion passed with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions. The Motion approved the activation of Article 7 which may lead to Hungary losing its right to vote in the EU Council. For this to happen there has to be the unanimous approval of all the Member States.

Since taking the reins of Government, Orban has adopted a strong position against immigration and passed a law that made it a criminal offence for lawyers and activists to assist illegal immigrants. While addressing the Strasbourg Parliament yesterday, Orban described the Censure threats as blackmail and an insult to Hungary.

Malta’s MEPs voted in favour of the Motion with the exception of Alfred Sant who in a note explained the reasons for not voting over what he described as political motivations in the manner in which the EU Parliament investigates matters of governance which, he claimed, deteriorates the credibility and the legitimacy of investigations of this kind.

He explained that although he does not agree with many of the policies of the Hungarian Government, Dr Sant said many of the methods used are prejudiced. He referred to similar investigations that had been carried out on Malta and said that Maltese NGOs chosen by the EU Parliament were selected in a partisan manner and from one side only.