European Union Parliament votes to punish Hungary for breaching democratic norms

European Union legislators voted overwhelmingly in favour of launching punitive action against the Hungarian government for flouting democratic rules.

More than two-thirds of Member of the European Parliament backed the censure motion, the first such vote against a member state under EU rules. The unprecedented vote in parliament in the French city of Strasbourg could allow Hungary’s EU voting rights to be stripped.

EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said before the vote that the commission will resist all attacks on the rule of law in an annual state-of-the-union speech in the European Parliament.

Since sweeping to power in 2010, Prime Minister of Hungry Viktor Orban has pressured courts, media, and non-governmental groups, as well as refusing to take in asylum seekers arriving in Europe. Though the EU has often protested, it largely failed to stop what his critics decry as Orban’s growing authoritarianism