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Poland says it will block any EU sanctions against Hungary

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(The Sept. 13 story fixes spelling of ‘flouting’ in lead)

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hold a joint news conference in Budapest, Hungary January 3, 2018. REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

WARSAW (Reuters) – Poland, the biggest former communist country in the European Union, said it will oppose any sanctions imposed by the bloc on fellow member Hungary, accused of flouting EU rules on democracy.

“Every country has its sovereign right to make internal reforms it deems appropriate,” Poland’s foreign ministry said in a statement late on Wednesday.

“Actions aimed against member states serve only deepening divides in the EU, increasing citizens’ current lack of confidence to European institutions.”

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to sanction Hungary for neglecting norms on democracy, civil rights and corruption in a first bid to launch the punitive process of the EU treaty’s Article 7.

Since sweeping to power in 2010, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, once a campaigner against Hungary’s Soviet Communist overlords, has used his parliamentary majority to pressure courts, media and non-government groups.

He has also led opposition to German Chancellor Angela Merkel and others who want Europe to take in more Muslim refugees.

Reporting by Marcin Goclowski; Editing by Nick Macfie

Our Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.


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