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"It is a type of procedure at the end of which there is no sanction, there is no danger", he said, pointing to the example of a 2013 report adopted by the European Parliament which condemned controversial changes to Hungary's constitution.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto wasted little time in slamming the vote as "nothing less than the petty revenge of pro-immigration politicians".

"In relation to the 2019 elections to the European Parliament, it would be easy to, say, establish a new formation from like-minded Central European parties - or, indeed, a pan-European anti-immigration formation", he said.

He claimed a report by Dutch Greens MEP Judith Sargentini was an "abuse of power", and included "serious factual misrepresentations".

The decision creates head winds for Orban's ambitious quest to remake the continent in his model of "illiberal democracy" - a bloc that would be closer to Russian Federation, less open to migration, and less concerned about independent judiciaries, a free press, and minority rights.

That procedure could end with Budapest being stripped of its European Union voting rights, but Orban brushed off the threat during an interview on Hungarian public radio. In a show of solidarity Budapest vowed to veto any effort to strip Poland of its voting rights, with Poland returning the favour by promising to impede additional attempts at action against Hungary.

A spokeswoman for Poland's Law and Justice (PiS) government said Warsaw was "very anxious by the decision", because it "threatens" European Union unity.

Finance Minister, Kemi Adeosun resigns
However, the PDP is not satisfied with the former minister's resignation and has insisted on her immediate arrest and prosecution. Minister of State Budget and National Planning, Mrs Zainab Ahmed , will oversee the Ministry of Finance, henceforth.

Orban characterised Wednesday's vote as a bid to weaken Hungary's position as a "symbol of resistance against migration". Though defiant, he was resigned to the outcome, saying the parliament seemed to have already made up its mind.

"Hungary will protect its borders, stop illegal migration and defend its rights", said Orban, who embraces a vision of a Christian Europe and opposes an influx of Muslim and other migrants.

Among the concerns raised at the European Parliament was the Hungarian government's actions against CEU.

Responding to the minister's remarks, the CEU issued a statement on Thursday reiterating that it has "always conformed to the Hungarian laws, and now fulfils the requirements of the Hungarian legislation on higher education" passed in March 2017.

Anti-Islam Dutch populist Geert Wilders tweeted: "Hungary is the example for all European Union countries and Orban is a hero and deserves the Nobel Prize". The message to government is clear: undermining and violating basic rights and values can not go unpunished in Europe, Socialist MEP Istvan Ujhelyi said.

"You think that you know the needs of the Hungarian people better than the Hungarian people themselves".

The report notes concerns related to the functioning of the constitutional and electoral system; the independence of the judiciary and of other institutions and the rights of judges; corruption and conflicts of interest; privacy and data protection; freedom of expression; academic freedom; freedom of religion; freedom of association; the right to equal treatment; the rights of persons belonging to minorities, including Roma and Jews, and protection against hateful statements against such minorities; the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees; and economic and social rights.