Liberal Democratic parties have restored the democracy and market system in Hungary, but Viktor Orbán has answered Hungarians's cry for national emancipation. His success and the faintness of the opposition tempt FIDESZ to concentrate power.
Endangered Justice, Media, and Universities.
The Vice-President of the European Commission for EU Values, Věra Jourová, recently stated that disturbing reports are coming from Hungary (and Poland), especially when it comes to the independence of justice, freedom of expression and academic freedom. The EU executive therefore initiated proceedings on this issue with Budapest (and Warsaw).
When it comes to the Hungarian media scene, its development was described, for example, by the local investigative journalist and editor-in-chief of the independent website, Tamás Bodoky, in an interview for INFO.CZ. According to him, the public media released journalists who wanted to promote public ideals and replaced them with new people after 2010. Since then, the public service media has become de facto a one party media (FIDESZ). Besides dominating the public media, the oligarchs around the Prime Minister and President of FIDESZ, Viktor Orbán, has begun buying up existing media: newspapers, radios and regional newspapers, television stations, etc. in exchange for public procurement. Last year, these media owners decided to group their media businesses into one giant media foundation (CEPMF), which covers all pro-government media and includes nearly 500 titles.
Our reporter, who attended the Inspiring Hungary conference in October 2019, also gained a personal experience of how it goes in Hungary. The conference took place in the presence of the Hungarian political and economic elite and its aim was "to introduce one of Europe's most powerful economies and its innovative industries". That is why journalists from across the Union were also invited. Orbán's government would like to correct the unflattering image created by the western media. There is an absence of criticism of this cabinet in Hungary, but there are no positive reviews abroad. However, a few positives could surely be found. To the surprise of the invited journalists, however, it was not possible to directly address politicians or entrepreneurs. Journalists first had to officially ask for an interview first. In the end, however, all interviews were cancelled anyway; probably because most of them concerned opposition politicians.
Ten Election Victories. So Everything Happens by the Will of the Citizens.
Orbán's party, FIDESZ, has a constitutional majority in the parliament and has achieved indisputable economic success within ten years (annual GDP growth in 2018 was 4.9% and inflation 2.8%). This allows this grouping to facilitate government, for example, by influencing the media. “We base our policy on the will of our citizens; we have won ten consecutive elections, including local elections to the European Parliament and the national parliament. In the last election we achieved a two-thirds majority in the Hungarian Parliament, so what we do is based on the will of the Hungarians," Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said on Czech Television.
Right-Wing Populists and Fear.
Richard Herzinger, a correspondent of the German Daily called Die Welt calls FIDESZ right-wing populists and, following his meeting with democratic activists, he claims that Orbán succeeds in appealing to voters by feeding concerns - onslaught of Muslims or the invasion of homosexuals determined to destroy the traditional family model, etc. However, Herzinger notes that the situation is complicated for democratic parties due to their defensive conduct, when they basically only call for the restoration and defence of a democratic legal state.
It Is Rather the Search for Identity That Is Popular.
Szijjártó also told CT that Hungary is tired of the approach of the European institutions, as if Central European countries merely benefited from European Union membership. As he also noted, "we need to get rid of the approach we have experienced from the European Commission on the basis of lectures and the failure to respect Member States".
The mission of the aforementioned Hungarian media foundation is "to support the activity that strengthens the Hungarian national identity". This is a very problematic concept in terms of European history and it is also very dangerous from the perspective of past political practice. On the other hand, it should be understood that Hungary, after losing the Cold War (whether people like it or not) and restoring democracy and the market economy, set out on a journey of emancipation towards Western Europe and the search for its own identity.
Unfortunately, the democratic parties that carried out the restoration had little to offer. So those who heard the call for the return of self-esteem, pride, self-confidence, etc. came to the fore. Too bad that in Hungary, they relied mainly on nationalism.
The Opposition Has a Long Run Aghead.
Hungary's emancipation is what wins the election for Orbán. So much that it tempts him to concentrate power. This is what is unhealthy and harmful in Hungary.In the May municipal elections, the Hungarian opposition won the seat of the Mayor of Budapest against the candidate of Orbán's FIDESZ party. Alexandra Daam, of the Momentum liberal party, which has become the largest opposition party in two years since its founding, believes the solution is formulating positive future prospects for young people, which is probably a long run task