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EU sanctions can only help keep Orbán in power

March 3rd, 2012

A Marxist philosopher believes that the European Commission’s proposal to suspend 495 million Euros in development support simply reinforces PM Viktor Orbán’s power, and will only serve to help Fidesz win the next general elections.

On Wednesday, February 22, the executive body of the EU proposed the suspension of 495 million Euros in development aid, unless Hungary makes further efforts to reduce the public deficit below the required 3 per cent of GDP – a target which the country has missed each year since its admission to the EU (see BudaPost February 22., 23 and 24).

In Népszabadság, Gáspár Miklós Tamás writes that the EC’s decision was the climax of an all-European campaign against “PM Viktor Orbán’s new regime”.

The philosopher, who was a prominent dissident under the communist regime, and started out as a conservative liberal in the first democratic parliament, has more recently been active as the leading figure of a small Marxist movement. He suggests that the Hungarian government is criticised in the West for two very distinct reasons.

The left dislikes Orbán, because his pro-middle class policies remind them of Western conservatism (especially in the American Tea Party movement). Left wing European commentators fear that this kind of thinking might infiltrate the European Union.

Conservative westerners, on the other hand, are shocked to see that Viktor Orbán’s “unorthodox economic policy” has hurt the interests of multinational companies.

Hungarians fail to notice the difference between these two distinct types of Western criticism, Tamás suggests, so to them it appears as if the West as a whole is criticising the Hungarian government for protecting the interests of the local population. And since the Hungarian left-wing opposition appears to be an ally of those Western critics, it will have to pay a political price for any potential punitive measures from the EU.

On top of it all, after being so spectacularly put under pressure by the European Union, the government can blame all hardships on Brussels and its local allies, Tamás believes.

“The European Commission, the Marxist philosopher predicts, has most probably won the next elections for Viktor Orbán”.

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