Hungary would never back EU penalties against Poland: Orban
PR dla Zagranicy
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Friday his country would not support any move by Brussels to impose penalties against Warsaw over Poland’s controversial changes to the judiciary and media.
Viktor Orban. Photo: Flickr.com/European Parliament
"The European Union should not think about introducing any sanctions against Poland, because that would require full unanimity and Hungary never will support any sanctions against Poland," Orban said in a radio interview.
"The Poles deserve more respect," added Orban, who has been criticised in the EU for undermining democracy in his country.
The European Commission announced that it will hold a debate on “the rule of law in Poland” on 13 January, after a new bill on public media was passed by the Polish parliament at the end of last year.
Polish President Andrzej Duda Thursday signed the bill into law. Critics say the measures threaten the independence of Poland’s public broadcasters.
The Commission’s decision to hold its debate was seen by some as the first step in a process that could lead to the EU imposing penalties on Warsaw. However, the head of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, this week took a softer tone, saying Brussels was not “bashing” Poland.
Under Article 7 of the EU Treaty, a serious violation of democratic principles can result in penalties being imposed against a member state, including the suspension of voting rights in the EU Council.
Orban met with Jarosław Kaczyński, the leader of the governing Law and Justice party, for six hours in southern Poland on Wednesday. The subject of the talks was not officially disclosed, prompting much speculation in the media, which described the meeting as "secretive".
Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło is to meet Orban during an official visit to the Hungarian capital, Budapest, in the coming weeks. (pk/rg)