• Lawmakers condemn `worrying developments' by 327-293 vote
  • Resolution unlikely to trigger EU disciplinary procedure

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban was rebuked in the European Parliament on Wednesday for eroding democratic standards and a “xenophobic” refusal to let in refugees.

As in June, a group of Liberal, center-left and Green members of the Parliament amassed the votes to push through a resolution condemning “worrying developments” in Hungary over the opposition of the center-right, including members of Orban’s party.

The resolution passed in Strasbourg, France, again calls on the European Commission to make Hungary the first country to face a monitoring procedure over its governing practices, with the ultimate penalty the suspension of Hungary’s voting rights in the EU.

The commission didn’t act on the Parliament’s first appeal, saying that Orban’s pursuit of single-party rule didn’t amount to a “systemic” breach of European democratic principles.

The European debate over who defines democracy was further inflamed this week when the Parliament’s president, Martin Schulz, a German Social Democrat, said the assertion of power by Poland’s new government has “the character of a coup.”

Wednesday’s non-binding resolution passed by a vote of 327 to 293, narrower than the 362-247 margin in June.

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