The two main pro-government dailies fully expected that the European Commission would propose sanctions against Hungary, and argue that such a decision would be unjustified.
In an interview published in Magyar Hírlap MEP György Schöpflin (Fidesz) says sanctions against Hungary are the last volley of the European left. Schöpflin thinks new EU members from Eastern Europe are treated unfairly, because „many resent the 2004 and 2007 enlargements.” Punishing Hungary „is only the first step,” says Schöpflin; „Romania might be targeted next”.
As to whether European critics might be able to topple the Orbán government, his answer is that although „there are people in Hungary who think a revolution might lead to the removal” of the present government, they do not realise that „the majority of voters still support Fidesz”. The European left, he says, might not yet be ready to go along with such a scenario but „Europe does not like” Viktor Orbán. They do not realise that the more Europe attacks, the stronger Orbán’s popularity becomes.
Schöpflin believes Orbán is „indeed a forerunner of a changing European (and to some extent social) system”. He quotes Ivan Krastev, a Bulgarian political analyst, according to whom „rainbow coalitions will become insignificant” and „the political agenda will be defined by the majority”. „This – says Schöpflin – destroys the ideological foundations of the left”.
In Magyar Nemzet, Anna Szabó writes that the country is being denied cohesion funds „on the pretext” that Hungary has a 1% higher deficit than required. Hungary is punished with unprecedented sanctions even though „some twenty member states have higher deficits”. Europe has to tackle several problems simultaneously. „We don’t know who is going to save Italy, Portugal, and Spain if the European Central Bank does not intervene, while unemployed youth and immigrants cause immense social tensions.” Under such circumstances, the action against Hungary is „a miserable pretence” that is bound to backfire, she concludes.