Is the EU Too Soft on Hungary?

Strategic Europe – Judy Asks - 15/9/2022

Pol Morillas, director of CIDOB, answers this question by Judy Dempsey in her latest post on Strategic Europe: “As a community of values, the EU should not compromise its most fundamental ones. Democracy, rule of law, and individual rights, particularly those of minorities, have all been questioned by Viktor Orbán’s ideology and government practices.

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Pol Morillas, director of CIDOB, answers this question by Judy Dempsey in her latest post on Strategic Europe: “As a community of values, the EU should not compromise its most fundamental ones. Democracy, rule of law, and individual rights, particularly those of minorities, have all been questioned by Viktor Orbán’s ideology and government practices. 

True, many member states have internal flaws that prevent them from fully complying with these values. But no other compares to the way Orbán challenges the EU’s fundamental principles in the name of his particular “culture war.” Let’s be clear: Orbán’s attack on a “mixed-race” Hungary is not a form of acceptable “family-friendly” conservatism, but an outspoken and contemporary version of the politics of stigmatization. 

On Ukraine, Orbán builds his current position on a longstanding attempt to cultivate links with Russia and China at the expense of the EU’s interests and common positions. He would like to be seen as a useful, impartial mediator when the time of negotiations arrive, but the rest of the EU is well aware that Orbán has promoted disrespect for the EU and its institutions, so no loyalty on his part can be expected. Hence the distance of traditional friends, such as Poland, from Orbán’s Russia policy. 

The anti-Brussels alignment between Warsaw and Budapest is being tested against more material and tangible issues: security in Europe, energy dependence, and access to EU funds. The union has shown remarkable resilience as a political project when subsequently confronted with the challenges of disintegration, the pandemic, and the war.”