EU committee says Hungary should be censured

Hungarian Prime Minister and Chairman of Fidesz Party Viktor Orban, center, and Deputy Prime Minister and Chairman of the Christian Democratic Party Zsolt Semjen, left, sing as they celebrate the win of Fidesz and the Christian Democrats at the election night watch event after the general elections in Budapest, Hungary, late Sunday, April 8, 2018. Prime Minister Orban said his "decisive" re-election victory and the super majority in parliament his right-wing populist party appeared to have won Sunday were "an opportunity to defend Hungary." (Szilard Koszticsak/MTI via AP)
A man hugs a woman by an anti-migration billboard from the Hungarian government vandalized with paint reading: "Orban", in Budapest, Hungary, Monday, April 9, 2018. Preliminary results show Prime Minister Viktor Orban's Fidesz party winning a legislative super-majority, while Orban won his third consecutive term in office. (AP Photo/Darko Vojinovic)

BUDAPEST, Hungary — A European Parliament committee says Hungary's government should be sanctioned because of its lack of respect for democracy and the rule of law.

The Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs committee recommended Thursday triggering disciplinary proceedings that could result in Hungary losing its voting rights in the European Council, which is comprised of the leaders of EU countries.

Dutch parliament member Judith Sargentini, says Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government "time and time again ... has undermined the independence of the judiciary, freedom of the press and the fundamental rights of its citizens."

Orban's party won a parliamentary election held Sunday. Since the government is unlikely to change course, "the Council must initiate proceedings now," Sargentini said.

In December, Poland became the first EU member to be warned it was at risk of contravening EU law.

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