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Europe vs. Hungary – a clash of interests or principles?

March 28th, 2012

A right-wing columnist accuses the European left of attacking the Hungarian government in order to restore the credibility of their battered ideological fellows within Hungary. A left-wing analyst, on the other hand, finds that Western criticism is only aimed at defending basic European values.

Under the pretence of promoting democracy, the European Socialists want to resuscitate the Hungarian left, Ferenc Sinkovics writes in Magyar Hírlap. The right-wing columnist suspects that the intense criticism emanating from the European institutions (see BudaPost March 15) is part of a larger “annexation scheme” comparable to the efforts of past totalitarian empires to maintain their regional influence. He likens European attempts to undermine the sovereignty and authority of the Orbán government in the name of democratic values to the “liberation movements” promoted abroad by Nazi Germany and the Communist Soviet Union in order to help their puppets grab power and thus gain influence over sovereign countries.

In Népszabadság, Károly Lencsés contends that the high number of conflicts Hungary is having with European institutions proves that Hungarian democracy is indeed in bad shape. The European Commission has already initiated an infringement procedure against Hungary (see BudaPost March 12) and the Council of Europe is currently scrutinizing several new laws in order to find out whether they are in line with European norms. The Venice Commission, the advisory body of the European Council has raised concerns about some of the provisions of the Basic Law and the Law on Churches, he remarks.

Lencsés is convinced that the European Union and the Council of Europe only require Hungary only to comply with the basic norms of democracy implied in the various international treaties Hungary has signed. If the Orbán government had indeed been committed to the pursuit of national consensus, it would have strengthened dialogue with the opposition and by doing so, could have spared itself such international criticism.

Lencsés thinks that in order to put an end to the array of humiliating procedures to which it has been subjected, Fidesz should end the “freedom fight”, and admit to having violated European norms, rather than blaming the international left for all the tension between Hungary and Europe.

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