05:42 GMT +322 February 2019
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The US Congress should hold hearings on a security threat to NATO and the US from efforts by Poland, Hungary, other Central European allies to weaken Western democratic standards, a group of 60 foreign policy pundits warned in a statement announced in a press release by the advocacy group Human Rights First on Wednesday.

    "We call on Congress to hold hearings to address Central Europe's growing democracy deficit, its implications for NATO and the security of the United States," the release said. "Hearings should lead to appropriate policies, actions and resources needed for countering this grave threat to US interests."

    The release cited recent measures by Poland and Hungary, which the release claimed had weakened Democracy and, therefore, weakened unity within the NATO alliance.

    "Congress and the administration must work together on a comprehensive strategy in support of democracy, particularly with European allies that are turning toward authoritarianism and away from democracy," the release said.

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    The document with an attached statement of principles marked the first public action by the bipartisan Democracy in Europe Working Group, the release explained. The statement was sent to members of Congress and the Trump administration.

    The statement was signed by 60 foreign policy analysts, former members of US administrations and former members of Congress, the release noted.

    Poland has been threatened with European Union sanctions over recent steps to increase government control over the judiciary, while Hungary has vowed to veto any EU moves against Warsaw.

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