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Hungary will block any EU move to punish Poland

Staff Writer |
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban vowed his country would block any move by the European Union to punish Poland over sweeping changes to its judiciary.

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Orban was speaking after the European Commission on Wednesday took the unprecedented step of triggering Article 7 of the EU Treaty against Poland, stepping up pressure on Warsaw over controversial changes to the judicial system by the country’s ruling conservatives.

The move means that the EU’s executive wants the bloc’s member states to declare whether the rule of law in Poland is under threat.

Any penalties on Warsaw would have to be backed unanimously by EU member states, while Hungary has previously said it would not support sanctions.

Orban, as cited by Poland’s PAP news agency, said on Friday: “We need to make it clear to the EU that it is not worth even starting these proceedings against Poland as there is no chance of seeing it through - because Hungary is in the way and forms an insurmountable obstacle.”

PAP also cited Orban as saying: "It’s in our interests to stand alongside Poland... and say clearly that no European decision can be taken to punish Poland, because Hungary will use its right to prevent this.”

Hungarian Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjen on Wednesday vowed that his country would defend Poland against “unjust” and “political” measures by the EU.

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