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Right-wing interpretations of the divisions within the EU

January 8th, 2018

One pro-government analyst criticises the European Commission and leading European officials for trying to impose majority opinions on Hungary and its partners, while another believes a war is underway between the supporters of multiculturalism and those of the nation state.

As Hungary and its V4 partners find themselves increasingly at odds with Brussels, Magyar Idők publishes two analyses on the background to the dispute.

Political scientist Tamás Fricz writes that the adversaries of the Hungarian government are bending the rules of the democratic game to suit their own interests. Left-liberal opinion makers in the West regularly accuse the Hungarian government of creating an illiberal democracy, leaning towards autocracy. They argue that the system of checks and balances is dysfunctional in Hungary, the executive is not checked by strong institutions and thus the dictatorship of the majority prevails. The problem with this argument, Fricz explains, is that the critics believe that they are the ones who should decide whether the majority is right or wrong. In other words, they believe that elected governments are not free to take decisions or pass laws without the consensus of those who lost the elections. He finds this logic faulty as if it were to be followed by governments, they would have to put into practice the programme of the losers of the election, which would deprive elections of any sense. Strangely enough, however, the proponents of that logic don’t follow it themselves when it comes to decisions to be taken within the European Union. In fact, they advocate majority decisions against the will of the minority on immigration, namely, they urge the Union to impose migrant quotas on countries who want to decide themselves to whom they should grant asylum or immigrant status. They are doing so despite the fact that under the Lisbon Treaty member states did not transfer their sovereignty in matters of immigration to the European Union. It looks as though liberal elites are not so keen on checks and balances or the rights of the minorities when it comes to implement what Fricz sarcastically calls the ‘Eurabia project’.

In the same daily, László Földi who used to serve as director of operations at the Hungarian Intelligence Service until 20 years ago, thinks that today’s open controversy within the European Union between those who favour mass immigration and those who would jealously protect Europe’s outer borders is an expression of the choice Europe has to make between multiculturalism and the idea of nation states. He finds it quite natural that as the West has been waging wars in Afghanistan and in the Middle East against Islamist forces, they would try to retaliate behind the front lines, that is in Western cities. However, he believes the core conflict underway in Europe is not of a religious character, but is based on oppositions within our own continent, between supporters of multiculturalism and those who want to keep nation states alive. Földi suspects that the former camp sees ‘auxiliary troops’ in the masses of immigrants in its war against the defenders of the nation state. He predicts however that those ‘auxiliary troops’ will eventually become the mainstream and will squeeze ‘their sponsors’ out of power and perhaps even out of Europe, because they will chase away all those who will not convert to Islam. The former intelligence official also takes up the issue of minorities, and just like Fricz, the author of the previous article, he also finds the leaders of Europe guilty of duplicity over this issue. He reaches this conclusion on the basis of the staunch opposition of the European mainstream to the cause of Catalan independence.

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