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Hungarian PM Orban Vows to Block Any EU Sanctions Against Poland

© REUTERS / Michael DalderHungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a speech during his visit at the Bavarian state parliament in Munich, Germany October 17, 2016.
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban gives a speech during his visit at the Bavarian state parliament in Munich, Germany October 17, 2016. - Sputnik International
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In November, the EU Parliament launched a mechanism for applying the bloc's sanctions against Poland, as the country's controversial bills on judiciary reform represent "a clear risk of a serious breach" of European values and the rule of law.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Friday characterized the EU's punitive actions against Poland as unfair and unjust. He added that Hungary will block any attempts to suspend Poland's voting rights in the Union.

READ MORE: EU Commission Refers Prague, Budapest, Warsaw to Court of Justice

"We need to make it clear to the EU that it is pointless even to start proceedings against Poland as there is no chance of seeing it through — because Hungary will be there and form an insurmountable roadblock," Orban said.

On Wednesday, the European Commission proposed to the EU Council to invoke Article 7 of the Lisbon Treaty, paving the way for sanctions against Poland and suspending some of the country's rights as an EU member.

European Union's chief Brexit negotiator Guy Verhofstadt holds a news conference following the official triggering of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, the Brexit in Brussels, Belgium, March 29, 2017. - Sputnik International
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The EU resorted to such measures after Poland failed to comply with the EU's recommendations pertaining to the country's controversial judiciary legislation, which represent a "clear risk of a serious breach" of European values, including the rule of law, enshrined in the EU Treaty.

Warsaw's two bills on judiciary reform were approved in July. While one of them empowers the parliament to appoint members of the National Council of Judiciary, another bill expands the powers of the justice minister, enabling the official to appoint or dismiss chief judges of ordinary courts.

READ MORE: EU Commission Threatens Poland With Lawsuit Over Warsaw's Legal Reforms

The European Commission opposes the Polish legislation since it stipulates discrimination against individuals on the basis of gender by providing for the different retirement age for female and male judges. In addition, the Polish law is criticized over undermining the courts' independence by giving the minister of justice the discretionary power to prolong the mandate of judges who have reached retirement age, to dismiss and appoint court presidents and exert influence on individual judges through "vague criteria."

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