As a Hungarian citizen and young social democrat activist I can say without any doubts, that the situation in Hungary nor the way the EU is handling int recently is good. I think I tell nothing new if I say, that the damage of the democratic state, the liberal rights or the independence of press is below critical level. It isn’t an exaggeration at all to say, that nowadays we live in an illiberal anti democratic country with a corrupt and power thirsty government, lead by a populist leader.
In the beginning of this post I feel it important to state, that we cannot identify the mindset of the Hungarian government with the mindset of the people of Hungary. They don’t approve the antidemocratic actions of the government. And this is the point when you could ask…”the why do you vote for them?” It is a fact that the party of Viktor Orbán (Fidesz) is in power for 8 years by now despite the fact, that three elections were held since then…The problem is, which is both the source of the weak performances and growth of the opposition parties and the people believing the lies of the government, that there are no more than a handful of independent media products in Hungary. Since most of the printed and broadcasted media products are owned by either the goverment or oligarchs close to the governing parties, most of the people among lower social classes can’t reach any source of independent media, they can only inform themselves from the government’s propaganda, which produces nothing but fake news. This way the government can manipulate dozens of people, and make it nearly impossible for the opposition to appear in any kind of media.
Therefore, one of the few things the EU, or any aspiring state could do in favor of the Hungarian democracy and people, moreover for the whole EU is, to finance the remaining independent sources of media in Hungary to even the odds regarding the distribution of fake news and real news. This way the EU (or specifically any country which desires) could gain more influence in Hungary and would weaken the position of the government and also help the struggling opposition a great deal. Which takes me to the next point…
The opposition in Hungary is fragmented and divided. (For now let’s just focus on the left wing parties) The major left wing party the so called Hungarian “Socialist” Party (MSZP) (Which is a member of S&D) is discredited and widely rejected because of it’s neoliberal governing and past scandals. The party lacks any kind of political innovation and is rejected by not only the majority of voters, but also by the left wing supporters. On the other hand the smaller left wing parties, which have trustworthy politicians and true left wing programs can’t break in to first line politics because of the lack of money and appearance in mainstream media. That is why, from my point of view the S&D Group should focus more on managing their members, helping them and in the times of need encourage them to learn from other members. In my opinion our parties would profit really much from sharing experiences with practices with successful fellow members of the S&D Group such as the Swedish Social Democratic Party or the Portugal Socialist Party. As I mentioned exchanging experiences and learning new practices would be really useful we can’t forget to mention that the S&D Group (or again any country which seeks to gain influence, or interested in having a west minded democratic Hungary) could also finance the innovative and promising but yet weak left wing parties of Hungary.
Whereas forming opinion and criticizing the processes in Hungary is necessary, forming a unit and acting together as I proposed above would help to solve our common problem more easily, thus helping both our common cause in Europe as well as freeing Hungary from it’s current wannabe dictator.