The only electoral promise Fidesz has
fulfilled has been the “restoration of order”, through a myriad of laws,
decrees and regulations, a particularly harsh new Penal Code and several new
The drastic higher education reforms the Hungarian government has introduced in the last months of 2012 have sparked nationwide protests. But while the government continues to implement contradictory reform, resistance from below is gaining ground.
Does the EU
deserve its Nobel Peace Prize? 2013 is the European Year of
Citizens, dedicated to the rights that come with EU citizenship. It seems
utterly remote and removed from the reality facing millions of Roma across the
Amid nationalist resurgence and severe recession in Hungary, many observers fear that the reforms undertaken by Viktor Orban's government in the cultural sector will severely jeopardize the country's heritage.
Collusion between the press and politicians
is not confined to western Europe. Central and Eastern European countries are
also plagued by their own mini-Murdochs – and in these more fragile democracies,
they represent an even bigger threat.
takes creative and alternative forms in the street demonstrations, which may
appear, at first sight, contradictory – one week anti-government, pro-European,
the next week pro-government, anti-EU.
If we want to develop effective
co-operation within and among the member states of the EU, history should be
kept at a distance. Living in the past is not feasible, and this is equally
true for Euro-scepticism, the application of human rights as well as the fight
against racism and extremism.
The author seeks a right to reply to the three recent anti-Fidesz articles carried by openDemocracy (by Anton Pelinka, Gábor Schein and László Bitó). Politics in Hungary, he argues, are indeed vehement and passionate – but also free
When the Media Law of the authoritarian Hungarian government meets with strident
criticism in the free press of
the world, and from heads of established democracies, as a major attack on the freedom of
speech, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his people ask for time, arguing against the avalanche of criticisms that no one
should assume that the Media Council established in 2010 will
abuse the unheard of powers with which it was endowed until it has shown an
inclination to do so. Meanwhile they are eager to export their ideas.
The greatest concern with regard to EU criticism aimed at influencing the political course of Hungary is that without a good understanding of the political realities, even the best intentions may unintentionally play into the hands of Jobbik. Meanwhile Government statements are meant to convince those who are disturbed by the usurpation of power to give up all hope for the next forty years. Now the situation is more complex and in a way more precarious than in 1956.
Now whoever asks a question is arrogantly refused the moral right of posing the question at all, and is actually faced with a threat that has been openly codified in law. That’s new. But Hungary's authoritarians still have to speak to the outside world in ‘European’. Europe is key.
The sweeping reform programme of Viktor Orbán's Hungarian government is provoking alarm among its domestic critics and European partners alike. But its economic policies as well as its political ambitions deserve to be put under the microscope, says Anton Pelinka.
The portrayal of Hungary and its current government by the international media and external actors is one-sided and lacks context, says the academic and Fidesz member of the European parliament, György Schöpflin. The effects are felt within the country, and raise deeper questions about the European Union and its underlying values.
The government of Hungary led by Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party is alarming many by its establishment of ever-greater control over the country’s institutions and public life. A group of thirteen Hungarian intellectuals and public figures, who opposed Hungary’s communist regime in the 1970s - among them Gabor Demsky, Miklós Haraszti, György Konrád, and László Rajk - outline their concerns and call on Europe to help halt a slide to a new dictatorship.
The Copenhagen criteria for EU accession set strict democratic pre-requisites for any country wishing to join the club. But how should the EU react when members turn anti-democratic? This question of principle is given burning relevance today as Hungary's democracy comes under executive assault – even if Britain's parliamentary absolutism remains historically legitimate.
Viktor Orbán, Hungarian Prime Minister, is busy creating a nightmarish "managed democracy" while Europe has its gaze turned to its other crisis. The political conditions of EU membership are more fundamental than the economic ones, and Hungary should not be allowed to stay in the club while flouting basic democratic principles
The Norwegian massacre and the gun attack on a US congresswoman were both dismissed as the work of deranged loners. But instead of signifying nothing, they were extraordinarily expressive of current political life. The author trawls through a host of supposedly pathological murders in the richest societies of the West to find deep and recurring patterns.
The EU has to deal with a government that came to power democratically and uses its power to dismantle the democratic institutional system. Fidesz' ‘solutions’ are desperately wrong. But the problems are real. Europe can only offer attractive alternatives to its peoples, if it finds viable solutions to these problems. What happens in Hungary is not the internal affair of 10 million Hungarians. It is a litmus test for Europe's capacity to defend its basic democratic values.
There is a vital need, for the sake of the future, for new forms of collective action to combine feeling with thought, neither denying the seriousness of the crisis nor closing our minds to a ‘radical hope’ that deep political change is possible. Empathetic imagination is as necessary as science.