The majority of the European Parliament voted in favour of a document that singles out Hungary over what it described as rule-of-law violations and criticises the abuse of the country’s right of veto. EPA-EFE/LESZEK SZYMANSKI


Euro MPs renew push for elimination of member state veto; accuse Hungary of ‘blackmail’


The majority of the European Parliament voted on April 24 in favour of a document that singles out Hungary over what it described as rule-of-law violations and criticises the abuse of the country’s right of veto.

The resolution criticises “Hungary’s repeated abuse of the right of veto and blackmail in the European Council”. Hungary takes the reins as President of the Council of the European Union in the second half of this year.

None of the amendments in support of Hungary were adopted. Neither did the most radical one against, that of suspending Hungary’s European presidency during the second half of the year, which was proposed by The Left group.

Rodrigo Ballester, head of centre for European studies at Mathias Corvinus Collegium in Budapest, labelled the move a “witch-hunt” and “the political weaponisation of the ‘rule of law’, which which has become a synonym of arbitrariness, double standards, hypocrisy and cynicism”.

A large proportion of the EP has been attacking Hungary since Prime Minister Orbán managed to unblock about €20 billion the European Commission had withheld, a third of the total frozen.

Following a European Council meeting in December last year, a large number of MEPs accused the Hungarian administration of political “blackmail”.

Budapest asserted its right to veto and opposed certain aid packages to Ukraine, although it later relented once it received the tranche of EC funding.

Almost in parallel, in a tight vote the EP approved the continuation of the process of reforming the European Treaties, which has been strongly criticised by right-wing groups such as European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR), Identity and Democracy (ID) and members of the European People’s Party (EPP).

The Treaties reform report was approved on November 22 last year with 305 votes in favour, 276 against and 29 abstentions.

It means in practice “the elimination of the sovereignty of the Member States” and a further step towards a “centralised and non-federal Europe”, said Polish MEP Jacek Saryusz-Wolski, of the Freedom and Justice Party, at a press conference in Strasbourg after the results were announced.

Both EC President Ursula von der Leyen and the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, have spoken in favour of eliminating EU Member States’ right of veto, albeit for different reasons.

Von der Leyen and Michel have been committed to accelerating the EU integration of the Western Balkan countries and Ukraine since the last quarter of 2023. Their target date is 2030.

Both leaders consider that growing the bloc’s numbers from 27 to 35 Member States would be “difficult to govern”, which was why they supported the reform of the Treaties.

The aim is to replace unanimity voting with majority voting, which in practice would likely reduce the EU influence of smaller countries – such as Hungary – and strengthen the dominance of the larger ones.

While France and Germany would be favoured, other countries such as Poland, now governed by Prime Minister Donald Tusk with the blessing of Brussels, could become key players in the new European project.