Avengers – commentary

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Mariann Őry

Western Europe’s liberal politicians are unwilling to admit that there are viable alternatives to liberal democracy and they look down on Central European countries’ efforts to shed their second-rate status, Magyar Hírlap columnist Mariann Őry writes .
EU decision-makers do not like criticism, especially when it concerns liberal democracy. First, they believe that liberal democracy is the only conceivable form of democracy. Secondly, if they are confronted with the application of a double standard when picking on, for example, Hungary and Poland, they reluctantly admit that neither German nor French democracy is perfect and say that they are dealing with this as well. Of course, they don’t really believe this, nor are they dealing with it.
In the eyes of Western liberals, our region, including the Visegrád Group and the countries that joined the EU after 2004 in general, are second-class members. The regime changes may have happened 30 years ago, but we are still the ones in need of supervision, reprimands, rebukes, punishments.
One sign of the crisis of authority already mentioned is that Central Europe, and especially the Visegrád Four, no longer want to be second-class, and this is very annoying to intellectuals in Brussels, Berlin and other major cities who consider themselves first-class. We are talking about economies that are now growing above the EU average and are confident players in European politics. And it turns out that copying Western models and doing everything they say — liberal democracy, open society, Soros Foundation — is not the only viable alternative for the countries of this region. There will be no national pride in daring to be small. Because why should we be small?
More and more people believe that Western authority, which was slavishly accepted 30 years ago, is now much worse for wear. Parallel societies, no-go zones, terrorist attacks, economic problems, identity crises — there are many examples, all of which show that most countries in Western Europe have for decades been on a path that we should not follow. The Hungarian and Polish strategies, on the other hand, are to find a specific national path, to respect sovereignty and subsidiarity. Within the European Union, we are building a democracy that respects our own traditions and principles, which are accepted by the vast majority of citizens, and promises a safer, more stable country than an open society.
However, important decision-makers in Brussels, Berlin and elsewhere are unwilling to accept this and refuse to acknowledge that democracy can be something other than liberal. So they find a way to force the reticents into the same dead end they are heading towards.
The so-called “rule of law” charade and the years of fighting within the European People’s Party are also indicative of this. Just yesterday, the Advocate General of the EU Court of Justice said that the Hungarian action on the Sargentini report should be dismissed, saying that the Hungarian Government was wrong in claiming that a document full of lies was pushed through disregarding the number of abstentions.
The Advocate General’s arguments even included some linguistic reasoning to the effect that abstention was asking to be treated as if one had not voted at all. Regardless of the apparent absurdity of the argument before the European Court of Justice, the only point of the long-awaited opinion is that the perfection of the Brussels democracy cannot be questioned under any circumstances.
Double standards? Of course, as always.
The defenders of EU bureaucracy are violent and angry avengers. Let us have no doubts, there are some fierce battles ahead of us.
Title image: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. (MTI/Zsolt Szigetváry)


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