Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday his government would consider launching a legal challenge against the European Union and accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of trying to undermine the country’s ability to defend its borders.
Budapest has claimed the vote at the European plenary in Strasbourg on Wednesday — in which a two-thirds majority of MEPs voted to start so-called Article 7 disciplinary proceedings against Hungary over rule of law concerns — was “invalid” because it did not take into account abstentions. The Parliament’s legal services, however, cited legal precedent to counter that the Parliament need not count abstentions in determining a two-thirds majority.
Speaking to Hungarian state radio on Friday, Orbán reiterated the government’s objections to the process, saying he expected a “serious legal debate” about the decision.
Hungary’s ambassador to the EU, Olivér Várhelyi, said in a letter to Parliament President Antonio Tajani earlier this week that Hungary would challenge the result’s validity in the European Court of Justice if needed.
Orbán on Friday questioned the European Parliament’s motivations for investigating Hungary.
“In today’s European Parliament, there is a clear pro-migration majority,” the prime minister said, adding that MEPs are trying to change the composition of Europe’s population. “We need a new European Parliament and another future,” he said, while accusing the EU of financially supporting NGOs.
The Hungarian prime minister also lashed out at German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who has called for the EU to strengthen its border protection agency, Frontex. European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, in his State of the Union address on Wednesday, also proposed a vast increase in the size of the EU’s border protection and coast guard forces — with 10,000 additional guards by 2020.
“So the plan is that if Hungary cannot be forced to let in migrants, then it must be stripped of its right to protect its borders,” Orbán said, accusing the bloc of wanting to “send mercenaries” to his country in order “to take away” the power of “Hungarian sons” to protect the country’s borders.
“And we should not have any illusions, they will let in the migrants,” Orbán said.