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EP Speaker wants dialogue with PM Orbán

October 17th, 2016

Two left-wing pundits find it sad that Martin Schulz, the Speaker of the European Parliament wants to start a dialogue with PM Orbán.

In a comment on the Hungarian quota referendum, European Parliament President Martin Schulz said that the EU should start a dialogue with the Hungarian Prime Minister rather than try to punish him. Mr Schulz suggested that it could be counterproductive to victimize those politicians including Mr Orbán who express the public’s mistaken, but nonetheless widely shared view that the EU wants to replace national culture with a multicultural identity.

The EU neither wants nor could it force the Hungarian government to respect basic democratic norms, Gáspár Miklós Tamás comments in Heti Világgazdaság on Martin Schulz’s statement. The Marxist philosopher goes so far as to suggest that the Social Democratic Schulz with his remarks “betrayed the Hungarian ‘democratic Left’ ”. Tamás finds its highly disappointing that the EU is willing to tolerate what he considers as major violations of EU law and basic democratic principles. Tamás fears that as a result of the EU’s willingness to accommodate illiberalism, “the liberal western European island is shrinking”, as “authoritarian, racist and xenophobic” regimes become stronger and stronger both in the West and in the East. In conclusion, Tamás writes that ‘it is not such a big deal’ if the EU and other external powers cannot be expected to defend Hungarian democracy, as this should be the task of Hungarians themselves.

Népszava’s Róbert Friss interprets Mr Schulz’s words as an indication that the EU is unaware of the threat posed by PM Orbán’s policies. The left-wing columnist thinks that the rise of right-wing nationalist politicians throughout Europe is the result of the crisis of Western liberalism. Friss contends that unless the EU solves this crisis, right-wing nationalist parties will transform Europe into an illiberal continent. Friss lambasts Mr Schulz for trying to start a dialogue with Orbán and compares him to a blind democrat who on arrival at his scaffold starts discussing with the executioner whether his axe is sharp enough.

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