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Migration still overshadows all other issues

October 12th, 2015

Leading commentators throughout the media still concentrate their wits on the migrant issue. Hungarians rarely shows such an intense interest in public affairs as they do towards migration at present.

On Mandiner, Gellért Rajcsányi writes that he doesn’t mind if migration temporarily puts everything else into the background. New fronts are being opened between supporters and opponents of migration, he suggests. And this brings us “nearer to western Europe”, although the participants are largely the same as the usual warriors of the Hungarian ‘culture war’. Nevertheless, by opening their eyes to the issue, people are getting interested in the complexities of international affairs, including the Middle East, and European local politics as well. People have started paying attention to local elections in Austria, for example, as these are strongly influenced by the refugee crisis.

On Mozgástér, Miklós Szántó thinks the crisis sheds a harsh light on the inner contradictions of the tenets of “political correctness and human rights fundamentalism” as established since World War Two. For one thing, he argues, liberal democrats welcome immigration because any other behaviour would appear to them tantamount to discrimination and racism. However, Muslim traditions are to a large extent incompatible with liberal democratic ideals. In another remark he thinks the Left and especially the trade unions are deeply mistaken in welcoming migrants, as they will end up pushing wage levels down and squeeze many union members out of their jobs. Ultimately, Szántó believes, Europe’s left-liberal élites will find themselves opposed by the majority of the population, which is deeply worried by the influx of migrants from the Third World.

Writing in Magyar Narancs, historian Krisztián Ungváry doubts if the newcomers of 2015 can be integrated into European societies. Many former immigrants live in virtual ghettos in France and in Germany, and Islamic communities segregated from the majority may become a fertile soil for radicalism. The author even doubts if states will always be capable of maintaining their institutional order in these ethnic ghettos. Radical Islam is increasingly popular in his view, mainly because it is an anti-capitalist and anti-imperialist ideology. People plagued with everyday frustrations are prone to espouse such ideals, he continues. Radicalism easily penetrates communities where liberal democracies fail to solve people’s problems, as in the black ghettos of America or in the famous French prefabricated suburbs. All in all, Ungváry thinks, the European Union is facing the biggest challenge of its history. It will have to realise that it cannot avoid cooperating with antidemocratic regimes in the Third World because the alternative would be a series of failed states. He compares this prospect to the decision western democracies were forced to take in siding with the Soviet Union against the more lethal enemy – Hitler’s Germany.

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