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EP Voted to Trigger Article 7 Procedures against Hungary

The European Parliament voted today to trigger Article 7 disciplinary procedures against Hungary for undermining democratic rules, Euronews reported.

The motion to trigger Article 7 passed in the Strasbourg plenary session with 448 votes in favour, 197 against and 48 abstentions.

The same procedure was launched by the European Commission against Poland in December 2017, but Wednesday's vote marks the first time that the European legislature has ever triggered the action.

Article 7, often dubbed the "nuclear option", is the EU’s punishment clause, allowing it to discipline member states when there is a “clear risk of a serious breach” of the bloc’s core principles.

A proposal to trigger Article 7 can be brought forward by the European Parliament, the European Commission or by one-third of member states.

The European Council, with the consent of the European Parliament, must then reach a four-fifths majority decision on the proposal, and speak to the state in question.

Once adopted, the measure has two parts—a preventative mechanism and a sanctioning mechanism.

Article 7(1), as triggered against Hungary, means a formal warning is given to the state. If this doesn’t have the desired effect, Article 7(2) can be used to impose sanctions and suspend EU voting rights.

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