2011. 10. 17.
From György Schöpflin MEP.
Sir, Ian Bremmer accuses the Hungarian government of “democratic rollbacks” since coming to power (“Hungary’s new path is the hidden danger to Europe”, October 10). In doing so, he demonstrates that he has failed to understand what is happening in Hungary.
When the Fidesz-led coalition took office, the country was on its knees. The economic situation was dire, public administration falling apart, the socialist government mired in corruption. The two-thirds majority won by Victor Orbán was a demand from the Hungarian electorate to clean up the mess. The government is doing that and, predictably, it has outraged those on the left who present Fidesz’s reforms as anti-democratic, authoritarian, autocratic, xenophobic (take your pick).
Reality is different. The constitutional court has retained virtually all its functions; only in one restricted area of economic policy can it not intervene. The National Bank retains the same independence that it had under the socialists. The rule of law has been strengthened, not weakened. The procuracy and the investigative authority have been pursuing criminality, including by politicians and regardless of party affiliation. The media law, which attracted the unthinking opprobrium of the opposition and those abroad who parroted its views, has produced none of the horror-filled outcomes that were predicted. The citizenship law, the aim of which is to ensure that Hungarians from neighbouring countries are not treated as foreigners in Hungary, is likewise working well. The new constitution is well within the bounds of best practice in Europe and has considerable popular support.
The real danger to democracy in Hungary lies elsewhere, with Jobbik, the far-right party, which is successfully holding on to its 12-15 per cent support. Opposition voices at home and abroad seem quite unable to grasp that Fidesz is the most effective defence that democracy in Hungary has against Jobbik. If, as seems to be the case, the strategy of commentators like Mr Bremmer is to undermine Fidesz by discrediting it, they should really be careful of what they wish for.
György Schöpflin, Fidesz, European Parliament, Former Jean Monnet Professor of Politics, University of London