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Photo: MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd

Guardian columnist and historian Timothy Garton Ash expresses his opinion on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and how he has successfully demolished democracy in Hungary over the last decade.

The Guardian columnist and historian Timothy Garton Ash touches upon issues that many other politicians and journalists pointed out in the past before, criticising Orbán and the ruling state party.

He called the demolition of democracy in Hungary a “tragedy in the heart of Europe,” and he urges the European Union to take action: “What the EU does about Hungary matters not just for Hungarians but for Europe as a whole.”

Ash firmly states in his article that Hungary is an EU member state that is no longer a democracy, and he believes that the EU needs to take action, and it needs to stop letting “its own funds being used to undermine European values.”  

“The continent of Europe may have many different kinds of regime, but the European Union must be a community of democracies.”

He also points out that the human rights organisation, Freedom House, downgraded Hungary to the status of “partly free” country, about which Daily News Hungary also reported. Hungary is the only EU member state to earn this dishonour.

In his article, he lists all the actions taken by Orbán’s government, which eventually led to the current political state of Hungary:

  • “The state administration favours Orbán’s cronies and family members with government contracts.”
  • “The government punishes independent media owners and NGO or opposition supporters with arbitrary tax investigations.”
  • “The government uses state resources for Fidesz election propaganda.”
  • “Fidesz changed the electoral law so that in 2014, Fidesz got 66% of the seats in parliament on 44% of the vote.”
  • “Fidesz has effectively demolished the independence of the judiciary.”
  • “Much of the media, already dominated by owners closely tied to the Orbán regime, has now been consolidated in a so-called Press and Media Foundation, effectively a pro-government cartel.”

He lists all these issues to show that “governmental powers are routinely used for purposes of political control.” Ash also pointed out that Orbán is achieving all of this with the help of EU funding.

“The biggest scandal is that he uses EU funds as a means of enhancing his illiberal control, as well as generously rewarding cronies. Hungary receives more than €3bn net a year from the EU, equivalent to just under 3% of GDP. The funds flow directly through the party-state to those whom Fidesz favours.”

Ash’s suggests that the EU should distribute more EU funding directly to local government and civil society. He ends on a positive note: “Orbán’s demolition job is not irreversible … and this hybrid regime has many more vulnerabilities.” Ash believes that “a really effective coalition of opposition forces might yet win back Budapest” this fall at the elections.













Source: www.theguardian.com

1 comment
  1. Timothy Garton Ash, you spread rubbish about Hungary and Orbán Viktor. I wouldn’t be surprised if you have never even visited Hungary. These politicians you refer to, I would not be surprised if they are all Lefties, as you are and as the Guardian is and always has been. I have lived in Hungary for 10 years, and married here to a Hungarian. Unlike Britain and many other countries in Europe, Hungarian Democracy has got stronger over the years since 2010, while Orbán Viktor has been Prime Minister. Your right when you say the EU should be a community of Democracies. However, many countries in the EU do not look at Democracy the same. Democracy does not go hand in hand with with Socialism and Liberalism. Democracy is for the will of the people, their culture, their religious beliefs and the truth. These are the things you do not get with Socialists and Liberals, as they believe in dictatorship and oppression, lining their pockets and lies. There is none of this in the Fidesz Democratic Party. Get your facts right and leave Hungary alone. What you say in your report are nothing but lies. The people in Hungary will not allow the opposition or Communism to take over again. The rule of Communism is finished. Timothy Garton Ash, you are a liar and a Socialist propagandist, thats for sure.

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