International / Let's talk about Europe

Meanwhile, in Hungary

Meanwhile, in Hungary, democracy is increasingly dying

Indeed, some days ago, Attila Mesterhazy, MSZP leader – the Hungarian socialist party – has been arrested during a demonstration against the Viktor Orban conservative government’s authoritarian actions while he was helping protesters taken to task by police. The arrest was firmly condemned by the Party of European Socialists (PES) – in which the MSZP is part of – but was not mentioned as in the Hungarian press (the contrary would have been surprising) as the European one.

This new episode shows that, once again, Hungary is experiencing some worrying behaviours since a moment and the huge FIDESZ domination in the Parliament. The Hungarian conservative party is doing whatever it wishes with no counter-power, as Philip Cordery reminded in the PES press release declaring: “It is clear that Viktor Orban has lost respect for even the most basic democratic standards. Hungary is descending into a ‘one-party state’ scenario”

Viktor Orban already made the news when he implemented a law on the national press control via the creation of a national media authority, one year ago. Many journalists inside Hungary and in Europe strongly protested against the introduction of the law but not the European Union and the Member States while Budapest was holding the Council of European Union presidency for the 2011 first semester.

Viktor Orban, current Hungarian PM and FIDESZ (Conservative) leader

 Since, the situation did not improve and even became worse if we refer to the demonstrations of the previous days and while the EU and some Member States are encouraging the Arab spring, they are still unable to call Hungary to order or extend pressure on its government in order it to respect the fundamental values it accepted joining the EU.

There exist some provisions to sanction any EU Member State not respecting such values, as we can find in article 7 of the Treaty on the European Union. Thus, Hungary can be sanctioned and suspended during a vote within the Council of European Union and the European Council. But such a provision is still not applied, maybe the expression of the EU Member States indifference.

However, European Union, which wants to be credible on the international, should be credible vis-à-vis its citizens and its Member States especially when it experiencing some difficulties to do the cleaning up. But Europe has no longer the choice and will have to focus on the Hungarian issue, sign that democracy is still fragile in Eastern and Central Europe even twenty years after the fall of communism. Let’s hope the future EU Danish presidency will be vigilant and impose itself, in case.