Hungary's choice: Europe or Moscow. Perspectives on the Rule of Law

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

Hungary's choice: Europe or Moscow. Perspectives on the Rule of Law

Together with the office of MEP Márton Gyöngyösi we co-organized a panel discussion at Thon Hotel in Brussels regarding the breaches of the rule of law in Hungary and the various ways the EU institutions have responded. We have focused on ECPM's values of relational economics and on our propositions for EU reform in the Hungarian context.

Since Hungary is holding the Presidency of the EU Council at the moment and since there have been rule of law breaches in other Member States as well (Spain, most recently), we believe the discussion was of a far-reaching relevance.

Prof. Róna stated the importance of Christianity and its concept on human dignity in the European culture and politics. He also commented on some EU politicians’ intentions to lead a more Moscow-friendly foreign policy, underlining that he does not see the necessity of building bridges with countries he regards as dictatorships. Róna also talked about the demographic challenges of Hungary - the massive demographic downturn and the migration of Hungarian citizens to Western Member States. He advocated for more power being returned to the citizen level and to villages and towns' councils who should have a higher autonomy in how to spend their resources strengthening their communities.

Mr. Gyöngyösi echoed the gravity of the demographic situation and decried the fragile economic state of affairs as the reason most Hungarians move to Western Europe. A secondary reason is the gradual deterioration of democracy in Hungary. He gave as examples the shutting down of several media outlets that were critical of the Orbán regime, as well as educational institutions that had to relocate in the last several years because of state pressure and interference.

MEP Gyöngyösi stressed that Russia and its propaganda poses a great threat to the European democracies. He explained how that has already permeated Hungarian society and how Orbán's recent diplomatic games regarding Sweden's accession to NATO and the veto for Ukraine aid are telling signs of Putin's influence on a EU Member State. Mr Gyöngyösi also warned about the real danger of Hungary being taken out of the EU.

The conclusion of the event was that Europe has to strengthen itself in the face of authoritarian challenges fuelled by Moscow and that the EU should hold fast to and enforce strictly the Rule of Law, respect for the freedom of the individual based on the Christian ethics and of the freedom of information and free speech.

On behalf of the European Christian Political Movement, the General Director Maarten van de Fliert spoke about the importance of the European elections, about ECPM's focus described in our slogan: Elevate.Empower.Engage and about the 7 spearheads which bind our members from all over Europe together.

The panel discussion was moderated by journalist Balázs Gulyás.

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