Published On: Thu, Feb 1st, 2024

Outrage as Italian woman brought into court in Hungary in chains with EU urged to act | World | News

The ongoing trial of an Italian woman in Hungary has sparked calls for the EU to take decisive action against the country. The calls come as videos have emerged from court in Budapest of Ilaria Salis being brought into the court room shackled and on a leash.

Hungary, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban, has long been a source of concern for European institutions. Accusations of undermining judicial independence, perpetuating cronyism, restricting media pluralism, abusing emergency powers, approving anti-LGBT laws, and obstructing the right to asylum have plagued Orban’s government since he assumed power in 2010.

The European Commission initiated the first phase of Article 7, colloquially known as the ‘nuclear option,’ in 2018 to address Hungary’s perceived violations of European values. This process is activated when a country is deemed at risk of breaching the principles upheld by EU member states.

On Tuesday, Didier Reynders, the European Commissioner for Justice, indicated that a decision on advancing to the second phase of Article 7, which involves freezing funds, is yet to be made.

The outcome may hinge on the European vote scheduled for June and the potential repercussions on Hungary’s stance within the EU.

The unanimity required for the application of Article 7 against Hungary has been a significant hurdle. For the proposal to proceed, either the European Commission or a third of member states must submit a written proposal, followed by a unanimous vote, excluding Hungary. This unprecedented process has made consensus difficult to achieve.

However, the controversial case of Ilaria Salis may serve as a turning point. The Italian Foreign Minister, Antonio Tajani, took to social media, urging the Hungarian government to address Salis’s situation: “We ask the Hungarian government to monitor and intervene.”

The images of Salis in court shackled and on a leash, have prompted diplomatic actions.

Carlo Nordio, Italian Justice Secretary, stressed that efforts are underway through diplomatic channels to improve the conditions of Salis’s detention, acknowledging the sovereignty of the Hungarian judiciary.

As the international community awaits responses from Germany and anticipates reactions from the European Commission, the incident involving Ilaria Salis may carry significant implications for Hungary’s standing within the EU.

The images of the Italian citizen in chains have ignited a renewed debate on Hungary’s adherence to European values, prompting some to argue for stronger measures against the country.

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