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Croatian EU presidency: 'we don't believe in sanctions on Hungary and Poland'

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Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (C) with his associates pose for a photograph in Croatia's National and University Library
Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic (C) with his associates pose for a photograph in Croatia's National and University Library   -   Copyright  Denis LOVROVIC / AFP
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The European Parliament has issued a resolution calling on the Croatian Presidency of the EU not to delay the continuation of the Article 7 procedure for Hungary and Poland.

According to Brussels, democracy is threatened in both countries, which is why a procedure has been initiated that may end in sanctions. Euronews contacted the Croatian Presidency spokesman for a response and they replied, saying the protection of the rule of law is a fundamental value of the Union. However, they believe that this can best be achieved through dialogue.

"Our position is that the meaning of the procedure initiated under Art. 7 (1) should not be the sanctioning of countries where such weaknesses exist, but their elimination and finding satisfactory, mutually acceptable solutions through reasoned dialogue and mutual respect, which is essential for the preservation of European unity," spokesman Bruno Lopandic wrote.

He added that Article 7 proceedings against Poland and Hungary are continuing. However, it has not yet been decided what form, content and timeline the events will follow. "The Croatian Presidency expects to continue the proceedings initiated under Art. 7 (1) TEU for Poland and Hungary," Lopandic wrote.

"The content, format and frequency of such discussions shall be determined in consultation with all partners in the Council and the European Commission," he added.

The Article 7 procedure was launched by the European Parliament in September 2018 against Hungary. After that, one year passed before the first hearing. In all, there were two hearings, with Judit Varga, the Hungarian government's minister, denying that there was any systemic defect in the Hungarian rule of law or democracy.

Concerned about the complexity and length of the Article 7 procedure, MEPs requested on Thursday that the Council and the Croatian Presidency speed up the process and hold further hearings. The text of the decision also states that the situation in Hungary and Poland has deteriorated since the start of the rule of law procedure. The document was adopted by a large majority in the European Parliament. Also the majority of the European People Party (to which Fidesz are allied) MEPs voted in favour.