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Isolation of Hungary in EU: Belgium Calls to Block Veto Power for Orban

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Photo: Isolation of Hungary in the EU: Belgium Calls to Block Hungary's Veto Power. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko
Photo: Isolation of Hungary in the EU: Belgium Calls to Block Hungary's Veto Power. Source: Collage The Gaze / by Leonid Lukashenko

Belgium, currently presiding over the Council of the European Union, is taking the first step in urging EU governments to impose tough sanctions on Hungary – specifically, suspending its voting rights in European institutions, reports Politico.

Next month, Hungary is set to assume the presidency.

“We have a Europe that progresses with great difficulty. Unfortunately, we have some states – notably one state – that increasingly take a blocking and vetoing stance,” said Belgium’s Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib, referring to Hungary and Viktor Orbán.

Lahbib stated that she supports invoking Article 7 of the EU treaties against the Budapest government – an extreme measure that would lead to the suspension of the country’s voting rights in European bodies and institutions.

“I believe we must have the courage to make decisions – to fully pursue Article 7, to activate it thoroughly, and to block the veto power,” she said.

The European Parliament initiated the first phase of Article 7 against Hungary in 2018, but the process has since stalled. The next step in the procedure, used when a country violates the core values of the European bloc, is called the “nuclear option” because it represents the toughest set of political sanctions the bloc can impose on a member state – the suspension of voting rights on EU decisions.

From July 1, Hungary intends to take over the presidency of the EU Council, which will give the Budapest government even more power to set the bloc’s agenda and priorities for the next six months, as Hungary’s reactionary Prime Minister Viktor Orbán continues to impede the EU decision-making process: discussing crucial issues from military aid to Ukraine to sanctions against Russia and the next steps regarding Ukraine’s membership.

“This is a moment of truth. Either we fulfil our duties, which requires courage and political will, or we proceed with mechanisms that don’t work. We have to choose. If we are to go all the way with this mechanism, it must work. If it doesn’t, we will need to reform it. This is the future of the European Union,” emphasized Lahbib.

Increasingly frustrated by Hungary’s internal sabotage acts, European countries are seeking ways to bypass Hungary on important issues, such as hitting Russian exports without requiring unanimity.

Some EU leaders have even proposed that Hungary receive a weaker portfolio of responsibilities in the future European Commission, despite the Budapest government’s desire to maintain its prestigious position in the bloc’s enlargement.

Hungary is increasingly isolated in the EU: since Orbán’s government came to power two decades ago, the influence and power of his Fidesz party over Hungary’s judicial system and media have significantly increased.

Since Russia invaded Ukraine, Orbán has tried to assist the Russian dictator whenever possible, blocking military aid to Ukraine or using pro-Kremlin vetoes at the European level.

Germany has also questioned Hungary’s ability to lead the EU Council from July 1.

For now, Hungary remains the only country subject to the Article 7 procedure, after the Commission dropped the procedure against Poland following promises of reform from Tusk’s government.



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