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Article 7 v Hungary - mission impossible?

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Article 7 v Hungary - mission impossible?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in parliament, Hungary on Sept. 17.
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REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo
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The EU parliament may have voted to launch disciplinary proceedings against Hungary, over claims that it's breaching rules and values, but implementing them won't be easy.

It's a long and bureaucratic process and one which Budapest is vowing to challenge.

The European Commission has already taken different paths.

"Oh yes, we are very worried about the situation of the rule of law and we agree with the analysis of the Sargentini report," said Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, European Commission.

"The Commission has other instruments at its disposal that the EU parliament. And so far we have been using these instruments every time. Infringements, to take the Hungarian government to court, if we believed that the Hungarian government violates the European rules. Dialogue with the Hungarian government to solve issues."

There are stages of enacting Article 7, including the EU Council issuing recommendations.

If they're not enacted, it can be referred back through the process.

Ultimately, the Council would have to decide whether or not to suspend voting rights.

But the EU could also kick Hungary where it hurts - in the purse.

"In the context of the next MFF, the multi-annual financial framework, the Commission proposed a new mechanism, called Rule of law mechanism," explained Zoltán Gyévai, a bruxinfo.hu journalist.

"Which means that in cases for example where there is lack of independence of the judiciary in a country, they would be able to suspend money."

Hungary also has supporters - including Poland and the Czech Republic - so this will also add to the challenges ahead.