The European parliament has voted to pursue disciplinary action against Hungary over alleged breaches of the EU’s core values.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government has been accused of attacks on the media, minorities, and the rule of law – charges which he denies.
MEPs backed the vote by 448 to 197, giving it the two-thirds required for proceedings to go ahead.
If also approved by national leaders, Hungary could face disciplinary action.
Measures could include suspension of the country’s voting rights in Europe.
Mr Orban personally spoke to the parliament on Tuesday in defence of his country, labelling the threat of censure as a form of “blackmail” and an insult to Hungary.