World Bulletin / News Desk
Hungary's populist premier Viktor Orban vowed Saturday to defend Poland against what he called an "inquisition" from Brussels, as Warsaw faces EU sanctions over controversial judicial reforms.
"Hungary will use all possible legal means in the European Union to show solidarity with the Poles."
Orban made the remarks during an annual speech at a summer university in the town of Baile Tusnad in eastern Transylvania, home to an ethnic Hungarian minority.
Polish senior officials were among those attending the conservative gathering.
Poland's senate approved a contentious reform of the Supreme Court early Saturday, which will see all serving judges replaced with candidates chosen by the justice minister.
It is the latest in a slew of controversial legal changes that the ruling conservative Law and Justice (PiS) party says are necessary to make the judicial system more effective and fight against corruption.
But the EU has warned that the measures "considerably increase the systemic threat to the rule of law".
The European Commission threatened this week to move towards halting Poland's voting rights in the 28-nation bloc further down the line -- a so-called "nuclear option" never triggered thus far -- if Warsaw did not suspend its reforms.
Poland would, however, likely escape any such move thanks to close ally Hungary promising to block all attempts aimed at punishing Warsaw.
Together with Slovakia and the Czech Republic, the two countries form the so-called Visegrad Four group, which has become a niggling thorn in Brussels' side.
The members regularly clash with the EU over their increasingly nationalist and anti-immigration stances.
Hailing Poland as "an example of sovereign national", Orban said Hungary stood "side by side with patriots".
He once again accused the "Brussels bureaucratic elite" of being bankrolled by US billionaire George Soros who, according to Orban, wants to flood Europe with migrants and destroy countries' sovereignty.
"It is obvious that the culture of the migrants is strongly opposed to the Europeans, to let them live next to each other leads to chaos," the 54-year-old strongman said.
The United Nations' International Labour Organization rarely creates this type of probe, known as a Commission of Inquiry. The last case was launched against Zimbabwe in 2008.
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