European Parliament is trying to restrict Orbán's voting rights

MEPs will again try next week to restrict the voting rights of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the EU. More than a hundred EU politicians signed a letter calling such a step 'necessary', 'to protect the values of the European Union'.

At the recent EU summit, Hungary voted against the EU budget because the Brussels accounts release several tens of billions in financial aid for Ukraine. The Hungarian government is also against starting negotiations with Kyiv on future EU membership. 

Hungarian Prime Minister Orban is considered a political supporter of Russian President Putin and refuses to cooperate with European sanctions against Moscow. For a long time, Orban was supported within the EU by the Polish PiS government, but a new pro-EU government has recently come to power there, led by former EU president Donald Tusk.

Hungary has been an obstructionist within the EU for years and rejects numerous European rules of conduct, laws and procedures. As leverage, Brussels is delaying or postponing the payment of EU subsidies to force Budapest to adhere to EU rules. That happens little by little.

The European Parliament in Strasbourg also called several years ago to revoke the voting rights of Hungarians and to freeze subsidies, but most European government leaders want to avoid such an ultimate confrontation with their counterpart Orban. 

Last month's EU summit capped another year of bitter feuding between the EU and Budapest, including over the independence of Hungarian courts, corruption and the restriction of civil liberties.

The European politicians want to adopt a resolution on Hungary next week, because the 27 heads of government have once again decided to finally release the EU subsidies for Budapest. 

Doubts about the EU disposition of Orban and Hungary became even more serious last week with the announcement of (Belgian) EU president Charles Michel that he will resign from his position prematurely in July. Michel wants to run for the European elections in June, although his term as EU president runs until the end of December. 

The EU procedures provide that in the event of unforeseen absence, the EU president will be replaced by the prime minister of the EU country that is the rotating EU chairman at that time. This will be Belgium in the first half of this year and Hungary in the second half of the year. In the last months of 2024, discussions and negotiations must be completed on the composition of a new European Commission.