MEPs yesterday adopted a very harsh report against Hungary by a majority of 433 votes, concluding that the country is no longer a democracy, but an electoral autocracy.
This report undermines the position of the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Nevertheless, Hungary serves as an inspiration to many far-right parties in Europe. It is also a leader of Chinese influence and Russian influence in the European Union. That is why EU governments are trying to neutralize Orban and put Hungary back on a democratic trajectory.
1. Who is Victor Orban?
Viktor Orban became Prime Minister for the first time in 1998 at the age of 35. Then he brought his country to NATO. After losing the 2002 elections, he spent a few years in the opposition and became Prime Minister again in 2010. From this moment his policies started taking a dictatorial turn. In the same year, he passed a law that gave him great control over the media. In 2011, he changed the constitution by including very right-wing policies, such as restrictions on the right to strike. In 2013, he passed several undemocratic laws, including unlimited pretrial custody. In later years, he increased the role of the government in the economy and placed loyal supporters at the head of all-important Hungarian organizations.
2. What is Orban’s policy towards illegal immigrants?
Orban’s policy towards illegal immigrants is much harsher than in most European countries, earning him strong animosity from Europe’s very pro-immigrant left. In 2015, he created a barrier between Hungary and Serbia while he authorized the military to shoot illegal immigrants with rubber bullets. Orban believes that Muslims are a threat to European civilization. He even said this summer that he did not want Hungarians to become a “mixed race” mixed with non-Europeans, who has accused him of racism.
3. What are Orban’s relations with China and Russia?
Although very anti-communist, Orbán invited China to open a university campus in the Hungarian capital, which has a serious problem of espionage for all European research. Orban also wants to attract the Chinese capital to Hungary. In addition, Orban began contacting Vladimir Putin in 2010 to guarantee the supply of cheap gas to Hungary. In addition, Russian energy freed Hungary from sources that could come from Muslim countries. Both Putin and Orban believe that European civilization should be based on Christianity.
4. What can the European Parliament do?
The European Parliament can withhold a part of the money it has to pay through the European Union. In the context of current inflation, it would hurt Hungary and Orban very badly.
5. What is Orban’s reaction?
Orban tries to persuade EU countries to give him time, specifically to set up a commission that would be in charge of the fight against corruption. Orban could make the justice system more autonomous and streamline the electoral system. But it is doubtful that he will back down from policies he sees as protecting Christian values.