Hungary to mount legal challenge to 'invalid' EU vote

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Poland, the biggest former communist country in the European Union, said it will oppose any sanctions imposed by the bloc on fellow member Hungary, accused of floating EU rules on democracy.

The decision creates head winds for Orban's ambitious quest to remake the continent in his model of "illiberal democracy" - a bloc that would be closer to Russian Federation, less open to migration, and less concerned about independent judiciaries, a free press, and minority rights. "The European Parliament rightly stood up for the Hungarian people and for the EU".

The Hungarian prime minister received harsh criticism, even within his own political family.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wasted little time in slamming the vote as "nothing less than the petty revenge of pro-immigration politicians".

It is the first time that the Parliament launches the so-called "nuclear option" against a member state. The vote that passed on a 448 to 197 with 48 abstentions, leaves the Eastern European country open to disciplinary measures that may include revocation of voting rights.

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In a Wednesday afternoon press conference following the resolution's adoption, rapporteur Judith Sargentini (Greens, Netherlands) told reporters that she had personally thanked Weber for making his position clear, and for showing that the European Parliament wants action and accountability.

"Hungary shall continue to defend its borders, stop illegal immigration and defend its rights - against you, too, if necessary", he said, drawing applause from the eurosceptic, far-right lawmakers in the assembly.

In a historic vote, European legislators voted against Hungary to launch censure action against its government over alleged breaches of the European Union's core values.

Since sweeping to power in 2010, Orban has pressured Hungary's courts, media and, as well as refusing to take in asylum seekers arriving in Europe.

In a brief speech to parliament on Tuesday, Orban vowed that Hungary would resist any attempt to "blackmail" it into softening its anti-migrant stance, which he charged was the motive behind the vote.

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The measure allows Article 7 [text] sanctions, under the Treaty of Lisbon [materials], to be brought against Hungary, which could result in the country's expulsion from the EU.

When asked if Fidesz would stay in the EPP, he said it has become clear that the EPP is seriously divided on the issue of migration. As in some other European Union countries, the centre-left has been largely marginalised.

"The agreement of CEU with another U.S. university does not mean that there is a school there", Szijjarto said, referring to a controversial amendment made in the education law previous year, which required the university to also offer courses in the United States.

"Each EU Member State has a sovereign right to carry out the internal reforms that it considers appropriate", the message said. The EU country concerned does not take part in either vote.

Opposition to Orban's vision does not just come from the left, with disquiet also in the main center-right parliamentary group, the European People's Party (EPP).

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