Europe’s Orbán dilemma – The Weekly 60

Viktor Orbán’s policies have sparked yet another heated debate recently. We have heard many thunderous statements on how we should get rid of Orbán eventually. The growing outrage caused by Europe’s most corrupt prime minister is clearly shown by the progressive warnings: a few years ago, his colleagues just wanted to chat with him, then they drew red lines for him and nowadays they are openly talking about Hungary having no place in the European Union. Meanwhile we, Hungarians just keep sighing: will it ever end? How could Hungary and Europe actually get rid of Orbán?

Sorry if I am raining on your parade, but if you thought it’s going to happen the way it went with the Brits, you are about to be bitterly disappointed. Don’t get me wrong, I am not downplaying the complications caused by the Brexit. However, there are a few differences that I should like to point out to anyone who is sick and tired of Viktor Orbán and his party for one reason or another.

Although Europe would certainly have been better off without the Brexit (and as it later turned out, the UK would, too), but even if the ties between London and the continent weakened, the United Kingdom still remains a democratic country and our close partner both politically and economically. 

While our relations will inevitably weaken due to the UK’s departure from the European Union, we don’t need to worry about the present and future British governments acting as the vanguard of counter-interested powers, trolling international politics or trying to convince others to follow their example and leave the EU, too.

Viktor Orbán, on the other hand, is a horse of a different colour. That’s why the pleas, demands and even “red line” warnings aimed at him from European capitals have remained ineffective over the years. As a matter of fact, we only wish they had remained ineffective, but the bad news is that Orbán have used every criticism to his advantage in domestic politics, thus driving his fans into the illusion of a permanent “freedom fight” in which the enemy is the whole of Europe. He was able to do so because Hungary has hardly any independent media outlets left, while the supposedly independent bodies of the Hungarian state are openly serving the now authoritarian Fidesz, just like they served the Communist regime before 1990.

So let me use this opportunity to inform my European colleagues how useless this approach is. 

They will never force Orbán to back down by any warnings or ideological issues, because he has had no real ideology for a long-long time.

Neither will they stop him by withholding the EU funds from Hungary, because Orbán would not suffer from that. On the contrary, it would only cause suffering to the Hungarian people who would be told by Fidesz’ propaganda machine that the EU wants to harm Hungary.

Europe won’t get rid of Orbán even if they perhaps show him the door sooner or later (although he likely pulls Hungary out of the EU before letting them kick him out), because Hungary is a part of Europe both geographically and economically. If they push Hungary out of the EU, all they can achieve is that Moscow’s and Beijing’s sphere of interest expands that much closer to Europe, since Orbán will obviously run to those powers for help.

So what’s the solution then? Orbán must be ousted from the government.

That’s the only way, and that’s where Hungarian people expect help from Europe, for example, in the form of establishing a European public media that is accessible for everyone and provides objective information.

At present, Fidesz’ propaganda channel is the only accessible media outlet in a significant part of Hungary…

Hungarian people are no fools, and neither do they like being tyrannized over by crazy dictators. It’s just that many of them don’t even know that things could be done differently. So let’s bring the news to them! It would be worth more than a hundred tough communiqués and warnings. - JOBBIK MEP MÁRTON GYÖNGYÖSI Europe’s Orbán dilemma – The Weekly 60 - Gyöngyösi Márton (