Hungary under its current leader, Victor Orban, is a serious threat to European unity. Yet when the European Parliament voted on sanctions, Orban can escape scrutiny by not attending the debates and he can rely on his far-right allies in the Parliament to vote down any action. Indeed, when a vote took place in September to trigger sanctions under Article 7, British Conservative Party MEPs chose to vote against the motion. Hungary raises serious questions for the bloc and comes back to the existential challenge of migration and the Refugee Crisis. We should ask ourselves why Mr Orban still has high approval rates, (though opposition is rising). Hungary is by no means the only ‘problem child’ for the EU. Italy’s populist government was defiant of the EU’s budget rules and is now officially in recession. The treatment of refugees under Interior Minister Mateo Salvini has been inhumane, cruel but has so far faced few significant consequences. Poland, too, chooses not to abide by collective rules and policies set out by the EU. The bloc must make it clear that there are serious consequences for member states who choose not to abide by its rules.
Hungary is a full member of the European Union since 2014. The expectations were high for the Central European country who had to experience the nightmare of communism. However, since the last years, the relation between Budapest and Brussels was often more than challenging. But how should the EU deal with a member state government which does not fear any confrontation? -First, it would not be the right decision to avoid more dialogue. Even if it sounds first reasonable, this option would never lead to a good result. It is rather important to try to understand the other parties concern. Therefore, the S&D organized a youth conference in Budapest to encourage the dialogue with the Hungarian young citizen. More events like this are needed to start conversations which lead to agreements. So, if you encourage the dialogue, for instance with your family member, but the other party still does not want to listen, what would be the next step? In the case of Hungary, this meant that Budapest did not cooperated with the relocation agreement, to accept refugees. The Eurosceptic government rejects to relocate migrants from frontline states Italy and Greece to help ease their burden. Therefore, it is now important to stand up for your values and to ensure your credibility. Stricter action is now the right decision. -Second, the EU decided to take legal actions against the Eastern state, what was the right way to show Budapest that a Union should not exist in good times only, but also in bad ones. It is only possible to handle these long-term crises together as a Union. As Gianni Pittella said: “Solidarity works both ways.“ However, if the other party is going further, turning away from democratic principles, and put into question what you stand for? Hungary’s Prime Minister has been using populist language and hard Euroscepticism since the last years. A climate of mistrust was created, and in this climate even the issue of death penalty has been reintroduced to the public discourse. However, death penalty is against values and European law. -Third, the EU clearly needs to name and oppose Orban’s inexcusable actions. Xenophobic language should be taken seriously and should not be accepted inside the EU. However, if Budapest is further turning away from European principles, the EU should reconsider Fidesz EPP Group membership. As with the family member, suspending would be the last step you want to choose, but this option needs to be considered if Orban is not going to change its position. -Fourth, if Hungary’s government is not going to accept the legal actions, the EPP should reconsider Hungary’s membership. However, this should only be taken as a final option. The EU should always be open for dialogue with Budapest. Finally, Brussels should encourage the dialogue with Budapest and its citizen since many of them, in particular the youth generation, is not in favor with Orban’s actions. Additionally, legal action should be taken into account if Hungary is rejecting European agreements. If Hungary is not going to change its asylum policy, the EPP should reconsider Fidesz membership. But as seen with the anecdote with the family member: Facing problems inside a family can be more challenging, than facing them outside. Quotation: http://www.socialistsanddemocrats.eu/newsroom/pittella-ecj-ruling-relocation-hungary-and-slovakia-must-finally-accept-system-and-share
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.
Hungary and Poland – the governments of these countries are purposely and consciously breaking the fundamental rights of the EU. For me as a Pole it is something unbelievable – not only because it is a hit in our unity but because the politicians should never be able to do so. We had special structures like the Constitutional Court or Supreme Court. However a few months after the present governing party PiS won the elections it has appeared that they can do anything. First of all they changed the law about the Constitutional Court to put their party colleagues inside its structures. The court was against it, it was clearly going far beyond the borders established by the constitution. But the prime minister – Beata Szydło did not publish the court’s judgement. Now the party is trying to take over the courts, beginning with the supreme one. Why? Because they want more power. They’re changing law so dramatically to avoid the consequences. Still, no matter all of this, PiS has a big support in the polls. It is not like the citizens of our country want to live in authoritarian country. The truth is that many Poles do not participate in elections because there’s no alternative. Everywhere we have the same candidates who have nothing to propose to the society. Meanwhile PiS is spreading the money to everyone (except those who are actually in need, like disabled people). There’s only one problem. The budget doesn’t have money for it. The public debt is growing dramatically. The only question is “What’s the antidote?” The rest of the EU should act fast and firmly. The politicians should know that nobody is inviolable. But we cannot finish at article 7. We need to show the people, especially young, that the future lies in their hands. We should finance the local young politicians and non-governmental organizations, not the big parties which have money to promote themselves. The key to success is in the young, motivated, energetic people – like those in Europe Together. They’re the ones we need to focus on because they’re the future of the nation, the future of our continent.
“Punch, punch liberals, immigrants and hom*s!” – I recorded those words when one of the “Independence March” organizers shouted it with fascists crowds. Promoting fascism and racism is crime according to polish law, public prosecutor “began an investigation” which is nothing – they have full video but during 5 months of “investigation” they questioned only.. me. Popular polish newspaper wrote an article about movie that I recorded, on this basis public prosecutor began investigation January 13th, I recorded the movie November 11th. Meanwhile (December 16th), opposition (inside) and democrats (outside) blocked Parliament, Police used force to enable government leave Parliament. Public prosecutor charged democrats (innocent) during two weeks and published their photos. It looks like they just began investigation against fascists because they wanted to charge protesting democrats immediately. Police questioned me on March. They’re working so slow that it’s not real investigation. Public prosecutors are fully subordinated to Minister of Justice. Last week Police enabled another neo fascists march in Warsaw. It’s not about Hungary, it’s about Poland now. We have no social-democrats in Parliament so you are only one option who can formally act like left party against our government and public prosecutors. Regards, Maks