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Hungary’s procedural case against the Article 7 debate

September 27th, 2018

A constitutional lawyer quotes verbatim sections of EU legal documents to support his case that votes were unfairly counted in the European Parliament when the assembly activated the Article 7 procedure against Hungary.

In Magyar Idők, Attila Magyar-Zsolnay argues that the government was right when it considered the vote in the European Parliament condemning Hungary null and void. Based on the recommendation of the legal service of the European Parliament, requested in advance of the vote, it was decided that abstentions did not have to be counted. If they had been, the ‘yes’ votes would have fallen 14 votes short of the required two thirds majority. Magyar-Zsolnay quotes rule 179.3 of the  Rules Of Procedure of the European Parliament, which  stipulates that  in calculating whether a text is adopted or not, ‘account shall be taken only of votes cast for and against, except in those cases for which the Treaties lay down a specific majority’.  One of the treaties, he remarks, namely the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union stipulates in Article 354 that a specific, two thirds majority is needed to launch the Article 7 procedure: ‘For the purposes of Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union, the European Parliament shall act by a two-thirds majority of the votes cast’. The pro-government legal scholar expresses his shock that the European parliament should ignore its own rules. He fears that further breaches of Union treaties will follow, targeting other countries, as the supporters of ‘a sneaky drive for a United States of Europe’ intend to impose their own control over the external borders of the Union.


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