Even as the European Parliament moves to punish Hungary for its violation of EU's core values, a defiant Hungarian government has said its stand on George Soros-funded Central European University (CEU) has not changed.
A breach of EU values justifies a reaction at EU level and this is what the procedure under Article 7 of the Treaty on European Union aims to achieve. However, a unanimous vote is required to suspend Hungary's voting rights and launch sanctions.
Wednesday's vote was the first sign of a split, with 115 lawmakers from that party voting against Hungary and only 57 defending it. Manfred Weber, the German leader of the European People's Party and an influential voice in the debate, said Tuesday night he had had enough.
"As of now there is no timeline" for the European Council to act, she said.
If launched by the European Council, these procedures will put in place a series of mechanisms created to protect against the breach in terms agreed to by the member state when they joined the European Union.More news: Florence downgraded to tropical storm, but will continue to threaten Carolinas
Mr. Orban's government introduced a law that criminalised representation of asylum seekers by lawyers and activists with accusations of silencing independent media and curtailing academic freedom also been levelled against him.
Orban on Tuesday attacked European lawmakers in a fiery speech at the parliamentary chambers in Strasbourg, France, saying, "Hungary is going to be condemned because the Hungarian people have decided that this country is not going to be a country of migrants". Macron has sought to take the lead in fighting nationalists including Orban and Italy's Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, and he has called himself the "main opponent" of the two politicians.
The same procedure is already underway against Poland, this time triggered by the European Commission, EUobserver reports.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto, echoing Orban's longtime position, called the Wednesday's vote "petty revenge" against Hungary for its tough anti-migration policies.
On 11 September, MEPs will discuss a proposal to the Council to trigger a procedure that seeks to prevent a serious breach of European Union values in Hungary. Britain's Nigel Farage, a pro-Brexit MEP, wrote that the decision demonstrated "the authoritarian grip of the EU".More news: U.S. says Saudi Arabia, UAE protecting civilians in Yemen war
"I have always been in favor of building bridges and I want to continue to do so, but yesterday (Tuesday) I didn't see any readiness from the Hungarian PM to make a move towards his European Union partners and address our concerns", Manfred tweeted.
"The agreement of CEU with another USA university does not mean that there is a school there", Szijjarto said, referring to a controversial amendment made in the education law past year, which required the university to also offer courses in the United States.
"The alt-right in Europe is trying to undermine this European Union, " Guy Verhofstadt, a Belgian member of the European Parliament, said ahead of the final tally.
"The European Parliament rightly stood up for the Hungarian people and for the EU". The President of the European Commission also voiced his support on Twitter, affirming he was "in harmony" with the decision.More news: Erdogan will visit Russian Federation with working visit