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Politico details how Hungary’s current prime minister, Viktor Orbán, “exploited the vulnerabilities in the EU’s legal and political system” and how the EU has failed to hold him accountable for Hungary’s “serious democratic backsliding”.

Politico writer Lili Bayer published a detailed article on how Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán basically “broke the European Union and got away with it.” The information in her article comes from interviews with current and former politicians and officials, including former commissioners, former European Parliament rapporteurs, and civil servants.

Bayer writes that

Orbán “exploited vulnerabilities in the bloc’s legal and political systems to hollow out Hungarian democracy without ever facing meaningful political or economic consequences from the EU.” Among many things, what really helped him succeed were his cooperation with the EPP and the fact that the EU is “not set up to deal with challenges from within.”

Supporters of Orbán often argue that he is not violating rule-of-law standards because his government respects the European court’s decisions. However, by the time the European Court rules, “the damage is sometimes already irreversible”, and it does not matter whether Orbán’s government wins or loses at the end. Orbán was able to make “fundamental changes to almost every aspect of Hungarian public life, from school textbooks to the electoral system to the ownership of media companies without immediately triggering EU sanctions.”

During the past decade, Orbán introduced measures, such as targeting civil society groups, reining in the media, refusing to respect EU asylum rules, and holding elections that were criticized by the OSCE, all of which “pushed the limits of what his fellow EU leaders were willing to accept.”

In 2019, Freedom House downgraded Hungary to “partly free” due to “sustained attacks on the country’s democratic institutions.”

freedom house democracy orbán trump
Read alsoFreedom House: Hungary not ‘Free’ anymore

One key element that soothed Orbán’s way within the EU was joining the EPP in 2000. However, he soon gained critics within the party, including Frank Engel, former MEP from the Luxembourg Christian Social People’s Party, who said:

“It became clear to me relatively soon that what was going on in Hungary was far beyond an election win and a power change. It was a state change, and in fact was going to become state capture.”

In 2018, the European Parliament formally triggered Article 7, and proceedings started against Hungary. However, not many expect real consequences from the process, as it takes a unanimous vote in the Council to impose sanctions. While Hungary would not get to vote on its own punishment, vetoes from “friendly governments” can help Orbán in the process.

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Read alsoFidesz supports speeding up Article 7 procedure

In 2019, the Hungarian government targeted then-EPP Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in a billboard campaign, accusing him of pushing migration plans that “threaten Hungary’s security.” Several EEP members looked at this campaign as Orbán’s final straw and wanted him expelled from the party. The party’s leadership then compromised and suspended the Fidesz Party instead.

Soros Juncker EU Hungary billboards
Read alsoEverything to know about the newest government campaign with Soros and Juncker

For more detailed information, please read the original article by Lili Bayer.

Source: www.politico.eu

2 comments
  1. “…without ever facing meaningful political or economic consequences from the EU”. For now, yes. However, the consequences will come sooner or later, in some form or another… irritating others and playing games with everyone/everywhere, in the end one pays the prize… he wont pay the prize, the country will… lets just hope its not another trianon 2.0

  2. First of all let us remember that Politico is a left wing website so Orban will never get a fair hearing there.
    Secondly, the rule of law debate is a total nonsense. In Germany, France and UK there is significantly more political interference in the judicial system than in Hungary. But of course that is not reported!
    Regarding the EPP it has moved so far left that it is indistinguishable from the socialists. That is the primary cause of the disquiet about Fidesz.

    And finally and most importantly please consider the total breakdown of law and order in parts of France, Sweden, UK, Hungary is a stable country unlike the western European countries. Do not forget that!

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