The European Parliament has recently declared that Hungary no longer holds the status of a full democracy. Instead, it is dubbed an electoral autocracy in view of the legalized mistreatment of minorities, refugees, and the LGBTQ in Hungary.
According to a report by Reuters, the European commission is about to recommend the withholding of Hungary’s share of the EU funds including the Covid-combat funds. If the commission’s recommendations fly, Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s government is poised to lose upward of 40 billion Euros which is equivalent to a tenth of Hungary’s GDP.
There have been a series of disagreements, even legal conflicts between the EU and Hungary over the last few years. Hungarian prime minister, Viktor Orban has re-written the Hungarian constitution to curb the rights of women, LGBTQ, refugees and minorities. So much so that the Washington based advocacy agency, Freedom House, that assesses political systems, had removed Hungary’s status as a full fledged democracy in 2019.
The European Union’s issues with Hungary have intensifies following the landslide victory of the ruling party led by Orban in the recent election. It has expressed doubts about Hungary’s corruption and cited that very reason for withholding funds.
Orban, despite having promised anti-graft agencies, hasn’t shown any keenness to modify the new laws curbing human rights. The EU is calling it a “systematic dismantling of the rule of law”.
Orban has dismissed this criticism and indicted EU’s report as biased against a conservative, Christian government, however, we are little likely to witness another exit from the EU. Hungary is an export heavy country and it depends on the free flowing trade across the nations in EUs 27 bloc. Moreover, the security afforded by the bloc has found greater appreciation following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
So, even with major economic repercussions on the cards Hungarian governance is reluctant go back on the laws that curb human rights. Although there have been changes in the refugee policies over the last couple of years, real change is scant. The stage is set for an elongated dramatic exchange between the EU and Hungary.