Viktor Orbán Fidesz election2018
Budapest, 2018. április 10. Orbán Viktor miniszterelnök nemzetközi sajtótájékoztatót tart az április 8-i országgyûlési képviselõ-választással kapcsolatban az Országházban 2018. április 10-én. MTI Fotó: Soós Lajos

The only way to stop the spread of Orbán-style authoritarianism inside the EU is to expel the Hungarian Fidesz party from the European People’s Party, says Timothy Garton Ash in an opinion piece on the Guardian.

The Guardian columnist discusses similarities between Orbán’s Hungary and Kaczyński’s Poland in their dependence on EU money for public investments while offending the European rule of law through destroying the independence of courts and turning public media into propaganda outlets only echoing the position of the ruling party, a process the terms Orbánisation. Ash warns that here

“is a fundamental challenge to anyone who thinks the EU should stand for values of liberal democracy, pluralism, the rule of law and free speech. If it doesn’t defend these values at home, it cannot be credible advocating them abroad.”

Ash argues that Hungary and Poland are taking advantage of the decades-long disconnect between “the Europe of values and the Europe of money”. Originally an economic community, the EU has only been successful in influencing the behaviour of countries aspiring to be members; however, once inside the union, they find they can do as they please – hence Poland’s and Hungary’s descent into illiberal democracies.

Protesters in a human-chain demonstration around the Parliament building one day before the newly elected Parliament’s inaugural session, on 7th May 2018. Photo: MTI / Koszticsák Szilárd

Ash ponders the possible ways in which EU funding can be made dependent on the respect for the common rule of law, pointing to a recent proposal for the EU’s 2021-27 budget which would cut the flow of Brussels money in the case of “generalised deficiencies” in the legal system of a member state. Importantly, only a majority would be needed for this action to take place, meaning Poland and Hungary would not be able to veto it. Ash also appreciates the plans of the European anti-fraud office and public prosecutor to investigate corruption related to EU fund distribution.

Although he welcomes these proposals, Ash writes that more direct action is needed, namely the expulsion of Orbán’s Fidesz party from the European People’s Party (EPP), the EU’s main centre-right grouping, before the European elections of 2019. The EPP, whose members include German Chancellor Angela Merkel and European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker, are supporters of liberal pluralist democracy – so how is it, Ash asks, that

“it keeps in its ranks a party that is not only dismantling liberal, pluralist democracy at home, but fought its last election on an anti-Brussels, xenophobic platform,”

referring to the anti-Soros posters and the fictional “Soros plan” that supposedly works on flooding Hungary with Muslim immigrants.

Ash calls for urgent actions with immediate impact, warning that if Poland follows Hungary’s example, the bulk of the east-central European region will be taken over by a “creeping authoritarianism” – inside the European Union.

Featured image: MTI


  1. Orban the Dictator wants lots of EU money to build his football stadiums, but not the EU rules.

  2. @ E. wood,
    Anybody that has wood for brains would tell you as much. The EU rather non-elected EC really is the Dictator here telling countries how it’s going to be. Break all promises regarding protection of cultures and minorities, tossing a few coins at them and stealing cheap slave labour at truck load levels from them. The EC just want to keep countries like Greece, Spain, Central Europe down low so that they have a cheap slave shop. Multiply that by allowing in by blow horns, from every slum or war zone in the world that would probably enjoy living the stadium Orban built. How’s your country doing?

  3. 1. Under Common Law, the sovereignty of the electorate transcends the sovereignty of Parliament because without the public, parliament cannot exist – under 1868 Oaths Act any public servant had to swear a judicial oath where…
    and I will do right to all manner of people after the laws and usages of this realm, without fear or favour, affection or illwill. So help me God.”

    2. Without Sovereignty there is no democracy, they’re basically 2 sides of the same coin. if you see the situations in Catalonia, Poland, Brexit Referendum, Austria, Hungary, Slovakia The EU has passed its sell by date along with its accounts which it hasn’t signed off for 20 years while taxpayers still pour billions into it and run themselves into further debt slavery.

    3. When Ted Heath signed away our Sovereign Democracy in 1973, he did so without public consent but offered a referendum a year later which only allowed an economic union not a sovereign political union and we relinquished our economic independence.

    4. Those politicians who say they should have the final vote under democratic principles are those who’s allegiance is not to the UK but to foreign uber wealthy vested interests (Bradshaw, Leslie, Soubry, Umuna Campbell etc) which conflicts to the very issue of allegiance that I mentioned under the 1868 Judicial Oaths Act in point 1.

    5. The EU and their global elite masters want to deceive, manipulate, dumb down, dominate, and intimidate us by diluting or destroying our sovereignty, solidarity, unity, privacy, integrity, morality, community, democracy, heredity, property, masculinity, sanity and our identity through cultural Marxism, confirmation bias, neoliberalism, virtue signalling and its own self-serving lobbied monopolistic mainstream media echo chamber where we are encouraged to give them our wealth and they give us their debts. They hate referendums because they hate the idea of power transferred from the established elites to people power – they want a version of ‘democracy’ which is top down -not grassroots – they believe they have a right to LIE to us for their own ends, So, what kind of Govt does that? The EU – its why we want out

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