Hungary loses ‘democratic status’ in EU Parliament
The EU Parliament has agreed that Hungary is not a democracy. A “hybrid system of electoral autocracy” prevails in the country, according to a non-binding resolution voted for by a majority of MPs on Thursday, the AFP news agency reported. The resolution had been pushed by several factions, including the Greens and the Social Democrats.
Published: September 16, 2022, 8:45 am
The Brussels parliamentarians criticized the fact that the EU had not shown enough commitment against alleged abuses in Hungary. It is partly responsible for the alleged collapse of democracy, the rule of law and fundamental rights in the country.
Green politician calls for Hungary’s exclusion from the EU Council
In addition to the left camp, the Flemish NVA from the European Conservatives and Reformers faction also voted in favor of the resolution. Likewise, Hungarian Jobbik MP Márton Gyöngyösi supported the push against his country.
German MP Daniel Freund , who is part of the Greens parliamentary group, praised the decision as an important signal. “Hungary should be called what it is: a hybrid system of electoral autocracy. Orbán is responsible for this. He shouldn’t receive EU funds,” he wrote on Twitter. In addition, the country must now be excluded from the European Council, since these are reserved for “democratic states”.
‘Ideological dumbing down is becoming more and more frightening’
The President of the German-Hungarian Society, Gerhard Papke, described the decision as “disrespectful” towards a people who bravely fought for their freedom in the past and defended Europe’s borders. “The ideological dumbing down of the left mainstream in Brussels is becoming more and more frightening!” he responded on Twitter.
Meanwhile, things are threatening to get worse for Hungary: the EU Commission could decide on a proposal from the member states on Sunday that aims to cut funds for the country. In that case, Budapest would lose billions in support. The reason for this is the alleged corruption that is said to be “rampant” in the country. Hungary has already been in the sights of the Brussels authorities, which activated rule-of-law proceedings against the country in April.
EU is the biggest loser
The President of the Hungarian National Assembly, László Kövér, has attested to the EU having suffered serious political and economic damage as a result of its handling of the Ukraine conflict and can already be clearly declared a loser.
Kövér, who is a member of Prime Minister Orbán’s Fidesz party, also accused Brussels of not using political means to prevent the conflict. The EU is incapable of “restoring peace through diplomatic channels”.
The accusation that the EU countries allowed themselves to be bullied from outside and in doing so betrayed their own interests is particularly bitter. Kövér noted: “Under external pressure, the EU is acting against its fundamental economic interests and should already be seen as a loser, regardless of which of the parties directly involved in the fighting will declare itself the winner.”
Powers outside Europe are trying to push the members of the European community of states into “military vulnerability, political subjugation, economic and energy policy inability to act, financial debt and social disintegration”, added Kövér – and Brussels is helping them to achieve this goal.
Hungary itself has remained largely neutral since fighting erupted in late February. Unlike the rest of Europe, Budapest continues to rely on Russian oil, was able to obtain an exemption from the EU ban on Russian imports and a few weeks ago negotiated favorable delivery conditions for further gas imports from Russia.
Germany runs the risk of becoming isolated in foreign policy
There is no doubt: the rifts within the EU are getting deeper. The much-vaunted European unity is reaching its limits. The EU’s solidarity with Ukraine is also likely to come to an end at the latest when the battles over the distribution of gas and electricity pick up speed.
In particular, Germany’s complete exit from nuclear power and the announced shutdown of the last three German nuclear power plants in the midst of a serious supply crisis are met with a lack of understanding from an increasing number of European partners. EU Internal Market Commissioner Breton was still diplomatic when he declared in Berlin last Thursday: “It is the responsibility of all countries to do everything in their power to ensure the availability of energy production.” Breton declined to “comment on the energy mix of individual countries”, but praised Belgium for having postponed its own phase-out of nuclear power for the time being.
“I want to make sure we have everything we need to get through the winter,” he said. “I think it is important that every country that is able to do what it can during this period. And that is also a question of solidarity.”
As early as July, Breton had warned in the German business daily Handelsblatt that it was “extremely important to let the three German nuclear power plants that are still in operation run longer”.
Greens outside Germany perplexed
Despite the dire warnings, German Economics Minister Habeck (Greens) is sticking to the shutdown of the German nuclear power plants. They are to be shut down completely and replaced by floating oil power plants.
Greens from other EU countries have expressed a lack of understanding for such foolhardiness. As Take Anstoot from the Swedish Greens commented: “If Germany does not take any responsibility for its energy security, I will propose to our government that we cut the Baltic cable. Solidarity only works as long as no one is inflicting injury on itself.”
An analysis carried out by the German network operators recently showed that the effects of the continued operation of the German reactors would be greater abroad than at home. The scenario envisaged gas savings of 0,9 terawatt hours in Germany and 1,5 abroad. “Our European neighbors have been very angry for months,” admitted German MEP Peter (CDU) on Tuesday. Because: “The German decision to take the last nuclear power plants off the grid right now makes electricity more expensive for our neighbors too.”
While German gas storage facilities are now around 87 percent full, other countries are at a disadvantage.
Liberal MEP Nils Torvald from Finland noted: “The price of gas has skyrocketed. And why? Because Germany bought a lot of gas after July 23 when they said this was the second phase of the alert. It’s hurting a lot of our member states, a lot,” Torvald added.
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