September 14, 2018 / 6:25 AM / 12 days ago

Hungary to take legal steps against critical EU ruling: PM Orban

BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary’s government will decide on Monday on legal steps to challenge a European parliament ruling against the country for flouting democratic standards, Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Friday.

FILE PHOTO: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses MEPs during a debate on the situation in Hungary at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, France, September 11, 2018. REUTERS/Vincent Kessler

The European Parliament voted on Wednesday to sanction Hungary for flouting EU rules on democracy, civil rights and corruption.

Orban told state radio he expected a “serious legal debate” about the decision.

Orban, who has been one of the strongest opponents of immigration into the European Union, noted that, with European elections taking place next year, the days of the current parliament were numbered.

He also criticized German Chancellor Angela Merkel, after she appealed to EU states on Thursday to ensure the Frontex border agency had sufficient powers to be help stop illegal migration, in line with European Commission plans.

“So the plan is that if Hungary cannot be forced to let in migrants, then it must be stripped of its right to protect its borders,” Orban said.

“They want to send mercenaries here from Brussels and take away this ...from our Hungarian sons ... who are protecting the borders. And we should not have any illusions, they will let in the migrants.”

Reporting by Krisztina Than; editing by John Stonestreet

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