Kick them out Furious calls for Hungary to be stripped of EU seat – Russia row escalates

Boris Johnson meets Hungary PM Viktor Orban

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The Hungarian leader won his fourth consecutive mandate as Prime Minister of his country with a landslide victory of two-thirds of parliamentary seats. Nationalist Orban will likely continue to reject any EU sanctions on Russian oil and gas, arguing they would wreck an economy already slowing due to the impacts of the Ukraine war.

Using his strong mandate, Orban will also entrench his conservative policies at home and could attempt to squeeze out foreign companies in some sectors like retail where Hungarian ownership is still not dominant, as his Fidesz party aims to form its own class of loyal industrialists.

In his victory speech, Orban criticised Brussels bureaucrats and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky, calling them “opponents”.

He said: “We never had so many opponents.

“Brussels bureaucrats… the international mainstream media, and the Ukrainian president.”

He added that his “huge victory” could be seen “from the Moon, but certainly from Brussels as well”.

As the Hungarian leader has already been locking horns with Brussels for months over alleged breaches of the EU’s rule of law, europhiles have been calling on Hungary’s membership to the bloc to be terminated.

Channel 4 News presenter Matt Frei wrote: “It is absurd that we have Hungary in the EU, even though the just re-elected Orban mocks Brussels and Zelensky in his victory speech, while Ukraine’s membership is left at the door for now.”

Former Irish Ambassador to the EU, UK and Italy, Bobby McDonagh said: “EU now has no choice but to find a way of suspending Hungary’s EU membership.

“The Hungarian government is not just pro-Putin but anti-democratic.”

Spanish MEP Louis Garicano echoed: “Orban/Putin: Europe is failing to protect its values ​​internally (subsidising emerging authoritarian regimes in Hungary and Poland) and externally (financing Putin`s war through energy).

“This is a do or die moment for the EU. We either stand for our values ​​or we are nothing.”

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Economic and author Anders Aslund also said: “If Hungary really votes overwhelmingly against democracy and for corruption I cannot see why it should be accepted in the EU. Kick it out!”

And Labour Party activist Owen Jones added: “Hungary is ruled by an overtly authoritarian, antidemocratic, antisemitic and racist regime, and it’s pretty farcical that the European Union haven’t kicked it out.”

But others have come out in defence of Hungarians remaining in the EU family.

German MEP Daniel Freund called on the EU Commission to act promptly against Hungary’s breaches of the rule of law, but dismissed calls for the country to be kicked out of the bloc.

He said: “There’s plenty more politicians in EU who’ll want Orban-style election wins.

“If the EU-Commission does not move NOW against Hungary, expect a lot more EU countries eroding democracy and rigging elections.

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“Please stop the talk of ‘Hungary should be kicked out of the EU.’

“Hungary is a member of the European family and all those who bravely fight for democracy and against corruption and authoritarianism need our support.

“Now more than ever.”

And as Research Coordinator at Democracy Reporting International, Jakub Jaraczewski pointed out, the EU Treaties have no provision allowing for a member state to be “kicked out” as such.

He said: “Friendly reminder for all of you ‘EU should now initiate the procedure to kick Hungary out’ is that there’s no such procedure in the Treaties.

“The closest possible thing is taking Hungary’s vote in the Council away via Art 7 TEU procedure, but that would require Poland to stop covering their best buddy on this.

“Not impossible, but definitely not easy.”

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