Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Attempt to shut down National Conservativism conference in Brussels fails

April 18th, 2024

Pro-government commentators liken the attempt to ban the conference, at which PM Orbán was due to speak, to 20th century communist practices.

The series of National Conservatism conferences in the United States and in Europe are organised by Israeli-American political scientist Yoram Hazony and his Edmund Burke Foundation. Invited speakers in Brussels this week included Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, former French presidential candidate Eric Zemmour, former Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, senior right-wing British politicians Suella Braverman and Nigel Farage, and German Cardinal Gerhard Müller. A conference hall and a hotel cancelled their bookings following claims of political pressure from the left-wing Brussels mayor. On Tuesday, after the meeting kicked off in a third hall, the main entrance was blocked by police demanding its closure with immediate effect, on the grounds that speeches at the event could cause public disorder, be homophobic or offend minorities. The owner of the hall refused to shut down the event, whereupon officials ordered his car to be towed away and catering firms were blocked from delivering supplies. Various leaders, including PM Rishi Sunak of the UK, Prime Minister Alexander De Croo of Belgium and Hungarian Momentum MEP Katalin Cseh called the attempted ban an unacceptable violation of free speech. A Brussels court finally overturned the banning order, and the conference could continue on Wednesday.

In Magyar Nemzet, Tamás Antal Tóth writes that banning events not to the taste of political leaders is a practice reminiscent of the Brezhnev era Soviet Union or contemporary North Korea. Brussels district mayor Emir Kir, the new personality symbolising dictatorship, he adds, will overshadow North Korean dictator Kim Jong Un.

On the Mandiner website, Zoltán Veczán dismisses as ridiculous the opinion voiced by the mayors of Brussels and of the local district where the conference is being held, who branded the participants extremist right-wingers. ‘Fascist meetings must be banned, and it is up to us to tell who is a Fascist and who is not’, Veczán suggests is the thinking behind the attempted ban. True, Brussels is not Moscow, he admits, adding however that ‘the difference between the two is shrinking’.

Tags: , ,