August 14, 2022

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Index – Abroad – Deutsche Welle: Beginning of the end of the Orbán model?

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has been causing serious headaches for the EU for more than a decade. Brussels has not found a way to effectively allow Hungary’s anti-democratic transition. Discussions have already stopped: what to do, how – Written by Originally analyzed in German by Deutsche Welle. Meanwhile, Orbán threatened the EU with tactical games and vetoes on foreign policy or budget issues.

Orban’s organization on all fronts facing headwinds, and reached a turning point. By taking a pro-Putin stance, the prime minister isolated Hungary within the EU and even kicked up the dust with its closest ally, Poland. Brussels was unexpectedly hard-pressed: because of allegations of corruption, it did not even pay aid earmarked for the pandemic.

A decision on whether the bloc will allow a country to be part of the new legal mechanism is expected in the coming months. Based on the latest decision, Brussels will have the opportunity to withdraw all funding for Hungary – thus depriving it of access to the billions that the country needs more than ever.

On top of all this, there are problems on the domestic front as well. It is already clear that Hungary is facing a serious economic crisis. Viktor Orban’s expensive social model, where he controlled much of society, is no longer sustainable. Although the prime minister and Fidesz are in a historic election in April wonThe current international and domestic political situation may mark the beginning of the end of the Orbán model.

Failure to Condemn Russia’s War in Ukraine

Unlike the governments of all other EU member states, Viktor Orbán and his cabinet have not unequivocally condemned Russia’s war against Ukraine. According to Orban, by grossly distorting the facts, the West is actually responsible for the war.

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A few days ago he said: Perhaps it is time for Western Europe to understand that it is not about winning the war against Russia, but Peace will come ideal.

He repeatedly accused the EU of financing war instead of peace. In the West, some “business circles” act as “warmongers”, typified by American billionaire George Soros, he said.

He also spoke out against EU sanctions against Russia. The Hungarian government successfully vetoed the EU accession bid Patriot grillHead of the Russian Orthodox Church glorified war crimes.

Poland secedes from Hungary

Jarosław Kaczyński, Poland’s deputy prime minister and head of the ruling national-conservative Law and Justice party, but actually the country’s de facto leader, interrupted Orban earlier when he told him he was blind, if he was blind. He should investigate war crimes in Ukraine vision.

As in Poland, Orbán’s pro-Putin approach in Brussels and other EU member states may lead to the perception that it is no longer possible to hold constructive and effective negotiations with the Hungarian prime minister on democracy, the rule of law and the EU’s core values. .

That could have consequences for Hungary, where the European Commission and the bloc’s member states will decide in the coming months whether to withdraw funds from Budapest after breaking the law.

Until now, Budapest could count on the support of some member states. This is already questionable in the future.

All EU funding could be cut

EU legislation in April was initiated against Hungary. It is the first time the mechanism has been used against a member state since it came into force in early 2021. The procedure makes it easier to sanction EU members for breaking the law.

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In other procedures, a unanimous decision of the member states is required, but in this case, the agreement of a qualified majority of 55 percent of the members, who represent at least 65 percent of the population, is sufficient.

Last week, a new law was published in Brussels ReportIt assesses the potential level of financial sanctions against member states.

The report concluded that it was justified and necessary to freeze all EU aid to Hungary.

Violations of the law are so serious, long-standing and systemic that the fate of every euro is uncertain in an environment of corruption and abuse.

Merkel’s lack of political will

Although the report was drafted by German MEP Daniel Freund, its report was endorsed by all major factions of the European Parliament, including the Greens, Social Democrats, Liberals and the conservative European People’s Party, of which Fidesz is a member until March 2021. .

“The report sends a strong legal signal that nothing stands in the way of a full withdrawal of aid to Hungary,” Freund told Deutsche Welle. “The only question now is whether the Commission will have the political will to implement it.”

Freund is skeptical because he has expressed harsh criticism of Ursula von der Leyen, the president of the European Commission: “Several resolutions of the European Parliament accused her of inaction, which is very exceptional and speaks for itself.”

The EU has long had the necessary legal instruments for sanctions against Orban, says a political scientist at the American Princeton University, one of the authors of the report.

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“However, the political will is lacking, and one of the biggest obstacles is former German Chancellor Angela Merkel,” said Kim Lane Scheppel.

“The committee must understand that all government institutions, without exception, are under Orban’s political control. If money is not taken from him, he will continue as before,” he said.

Social protests in Hungary

The European Parliament’s “recent harassment by the liberal mob simply serves political malice and their own fringe political agenda” – which Written by Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács in his latest blog post.

Viktor Orbán said: Hungary was attacked in scenes like “intifada and decay” in the European Parliament. He implicitly accused Hungarian doctors and teachers of treason for participating in anti-Hungarian activities, while their salaries were raised from EU funds.

The harsh rhetoric is no accident. Orbán and his government have high financial stakes. Over the years, Hungary has pursued generous social and budgetary policy to keep Fidesz voters united. Ahead of parliamentary elections in April, the government distributed tax breaks and financial aid. However, this seems to be over.

In recent days, the same government has hastily withdrawn social measures and tax incentives. Strict austerity measures may follow.

Enraged by this, people have already taken to the streets. The first major social protests in these years. “Signs of Fall” – See After what happened a In vernacular Published by Deutsche Welle.

(Cover photo: Viktor Orban at a rally in Brussels on June 23, 2022. Photo: Ludovic Marin / AFP)