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22 Jul, 2017 18:32

Hungarian PM Orban pledges to support Poland against ‘European inquisition’

Hungarian PM Orban pledges to support Poland against ‘European inquisition’

Hungary will stand by Poland in a row with the European Union, the country’s prime minister Viktor Orban has said, blasting Brussels for its “inquisition offensive” against Poland which has been threatened with sanctions over its controversial judicial reform plans.

“The inquisition offensive against Poland can never succeed because Hungary will use all legal options in the European Union to show solidarity with the Poles,” Reuters cited Orban as saying Saturday.

Orban’s statement of support came as Poland’s upper house passed the Judiciary Reform bill, which, if approved by the president, will enable lawmakers to designate judges to the Supreme Court.

Deemed a major blow to the constitution, the proposed new legislation has triggered massive protests across Poland, with thousands expected to rally again Saturday.

Poles have urged President Andrzej Duda to reject the bill while Brussels warned it was “very close to triggering Article 7.”

If there is “a clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s values, Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty may be activated which among other measures would “suspend certain of the rights,” including Poland’s voting rights in the European Council.

“If adopted, [the laws] would seriously erode the independence of the Polish judiciary,” First Vice-President of the European Commission, Frans Timmermans said.

Speaking in Romania, Orban lashed out at Timmermans, referring to him as “an inquisitor, who steps up against those who speak up.” He said Timmermans was involved in an “effort to weaken patriotic governments”, adding Poland was now his target.

READ MORE: ‘Threat to rule of law’: EU may strip Poland of voting rights over judicial reforms

Last month, the European Commission launched infringement procedures against Budapest, Warsaw and Prague over a “breach of their legal obligations” under the EU refugee relocation scheme, saying, the trio haven’t relocated “a single person” from more than 100,000 stranded in Italy and Greece.

Known for his vehement opposition to the EU’s migration policy, Orban remains defiant, claiming that Hungary can’t “show solidarity with ideas and peoples whose goal is to change our lives.”

“We can’t show solidarity or we risk losing our identity,” Orban said.

“Will Europe be inhabited by Europeans? Will Hungary be inhabited by Hungarians, Germany by Germans, France by the French, Italy by Italians? Who will live in Europe?” he went on.