Portugal President stresses EU 'values, principles' in wake of Hungary vote

By TPN/Lusa, in News · 13-09-2018 07:28:00 · 0 Comments
Portugal President stresses EU 'values, principles' in wake of Hungary vote

Portugal’s president, Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa, on Wednesday stressed the need for the European Union to uphold its core values and principles, while declining to comment directly on the European Parliament's vote in favour of sanctioning Hungary for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption – an unprecedented step.

"I did not want to comment on this matter before, obviously, there is an assessment [made] on the part of the Portuguese government – preliminary and then expressed in the European Council, which will debate and decide on the matter," de Sousa told journalists in Riga.

The president had arrived in the Latvian capital in advance of a meeting on Thursday and Friday of the Arraiolos Group – an annual gathering of presidents of EU member states who lack executive powers. Hungary’s president, János Áder, is among these but is not due to attend the meeting.

Asked for his reaction to the European Parliament vote, calling on the European Council to start disciplinary proceedings against Hungary for the serious infringement of European values, in accordance with Article 7 of the Treaty, de Sousa began by stressing that the vote was the "first phase of a process".

The next phase, which he termed “the most important phase in terms of decision”, is the debate and vote in the European Council, where a four-fifths majority is needed to start disciplinary proceedings. The debate there, he stressed, cannot be anticipated.

Asked whether he welcomed the parliament’s stance, de Sousa said he did not want to express a view until his country’s government had done so.

However, he noted that "the European Union has certain values and certain principles" without which it "is no longer the European Union". That, he concluded, “is the most direct formulation I can make … at this time. "


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