Marek Siwiec MEP on Poland & Europe

If the 100 thousands of people did not protest yesterday in front of the Opera in Budapest, few people would really notice the sort of coup d’etat, which was made last year by Victor Orban. I am writing about a coup d’etat since Hungarian Prime Minister and his party Fidesz took over the whole executive, legislative and judiciary power.

At the beginning of 2011 Orban terrorised the media establishing the principle of editorial self-censorship and the draconian punishments for breaking the new media law. He put his own people at the head of the Hungarian Media Council. The European Parliament protested at that time but Orban did not give in.

Thus Hungary has:

  • Constitutional Court dominated by people from the ruling party, to which may complain institutions supported by Fidesz
  • Courts, from which 200 most experienced judges have been dismissed as a result of lowering the retirement age to 62 years; the loyal people have been promoted instead
  • The central bank, which has lost its independence
  • 14 legal religious organisations, instead of 300 that existed until now

Finally, they have also the new constitution, which has been in force since 2 days and legitimises the practice described above. In addition, it provides repressive and penal measures against members of the Socialist Party (Magyar Szocialista Párt) as a criminal successor of the communist party.

Hungary is becoming an open-air museum of authoritarianism in Central Europe. The country will soon be put in the pillory of the European institutions because what Orban is doing is contradictory to the EU law. The complaints and protests will continue, and Victor Orban will still be in power for some time. When finally the democracy sweeps him away, the system will continue for many more years because all the new appointees have been given extended terms up to 12 years.

The Polish right wing is discreetly silent on this topic. The reason is obvious, the leader of Law and Justice (PiS) Jaroslaw Kaczynski is simply envious of Orban. What is outrageous, however, is the silence of the Civic Platform (PO), which pretends that its sister party (both Fidesz and PO belong to the European People’s Party) is not doing anything wrong.

Silence of the Lambs?

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  1. thank you for your post, and for caring about Hungary… I would only add that the Orban government has spent all the savings made by austerity measures during the previous caretaker government of Bajnai, so now new austerity will be coming which will most likely lead to a Greece-like situation :o( so legal, political and economic situation is very dark at the momnet in Hungary, we can only hope for a caretaker technocrat government as soon as possible, to minimise the damage… :o( :o( :o( that is to reinstall the democratic checks and balances through and undemocratic move, but if that is what is necessary then I am all for an externally (or EU) installed technocrat government…

  2. I obviously wanted to add sad smileys, just somehow messed up… 🙁

  3. What is going on in Hungary today is a classical example of establishing an authoritarian state. It’s a situation that we haven’t seen since the fall down of the Soviet Union, which perhaps explains the incredible absence of reaction of the European governments.
    The Hungarian constitutional reform openly violates the values of freedom, democracy, equality, rule of law, human rights (and I’m not speaking only about the Roma threatened in the Parliament itself), which are the fundamental values of the EU, as the Chart of Fundamental Rights to which Orban gave a kick in the butt.
    MEPs should urge the Council to apply the Article 7 of the EU Treaty in order to suspense Hungary’s voting rights in the Council. Otherwise we will be able to really affirm this time that the European Union does not exist anymore.

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