Espreso. Global

Orban blackmails EU, but also pushes it to change

16 November, 2023 Thursday

"Orbanization" of the EU is dangerous not only for Ukraine's future accession to this European organization.

Taking into account all the anti-Ukrainian statements made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, he is definitely the absolute winner among all world politicians in the category of causing the most trouble to a neighboring state. Viktor Orban's attempts to harm Ukraine wherever possible have already entered the phase of a persistent manic anti-Ukrainian phobia. His main task now is to block Ukraine's path to the European Union. Orban's statement that "Membership negotiations should not begin is a clear statement of Hungary's position. Ukraine is in no way ready to negotiate with the ambition of EU membership. Ukraine is as far from EU membership as Mako is from Jerusalem." In making this unfortunate comparison, the prime minister was referring to the city of Makó in southeastern Hungary.

While twisting the arms of the united Europe and constantly blackmailing it, Viktor Orban, an ideological supporter of Russian dictator Putin, is pushing the EU to reload. After all, he uses the veto power in the European Union exclusively to discredit and boycott the decisions of the vast majority of its members. Therefore, there is an urgent need for the EU to abandon the current consensus rule and replace it in such a way that the general consent for decision-making in the European Union will be considered when at least 75 percent of the members of this respected European organization vote for a decision.

It is quite clear that the archaic rule of absolute consensus of all EU member states, which is still required for any decision, allows Hungary to endlessly blackmail the EU, trying to pressure decisions that Orban needs.

The "Orbanization of the EU" is dangerous not only for Ukraine's future accession to this European organization. It has turned Brussels into a political hostage of Budapest. Since, using clumsy mechanisms for coordinating the necessary decisions, Hungary has long been blocking financial assistance to Ukraine, and now it will also be impeding Ukraine's progress toward EU membership.

“The EU's tactics of delaying decisions on Ukraine and attempting to slow down the start of negotiations on its accession to the European Union by using far-fetched harassment of the Hungarian minority in Transcarpathia are meant to guarantee Moscow's vassal Viktor Orban cheap Gazprom gas, which he then successfully converts into votes from politically indiscriminate voters.”

But the time has come to abolish Budapest's veto over EU enlargement. Dictator Putin's best friend in the EU should no longer constantly put a stick in the EU's wheel. The restructuring of the EU should start with the recognition that the organization is now too big to continue using the outdated principle of unanimity. In addition, why has the EU been so lenient in its condescension to the anti-European activities of dictator Orban for so long? His pro-Moscow behavior is doing enormous damage to Europe's reputation, and no one is doing anything about it.

Does anyone even know a party, association or club from which you cannot be expelled if you violate their statutes, rules or customs? So why didn't the founding of the European Union provide in advance for exclusion or at least suspension of membership if one of its members pursues a policy that goes against its principles and the Treaty on the Functioning of the European Union itself?

And where in the Treaty on the European Union does it say that a state that is an ally of the Russian Federation should have the decisive vote in the EU? This is utter nonsense. This once again shows that the current EU structure is in fact completely unsuitable for today's geopolitical realities, and therefore needs to be urgently reformed.

“Orban, dreaming of implementing the revanchist idea of restoring a Great Hungary, has obviously long ago signed an agreement with Putin to divide the territory of Ukraine and annex Ukrainian Transcarpathia to Hungary.”

But if we assume for a moment that all of Viktor Orban's demands to Ukraine will be fulfilled, that the Hungarians of Zakarpattia (Transcarpathia) will not have to learn or know Ukrainian at all, and will study in Hungarian schools where only Hungarian will be taught from grades 1 to 11, what will this restless anti-Ukrainian prime minister come up with next?

He will probably demand that all ethnic Hungarians have the right to dual citizenship and that areas of compact Hungarian residence in Zakarpattia receive national autonomy.

If these political demands are met, they will be immediately followed by others, such as the idea that, in addition to Ukrainian, the languages of national minorities-Hungarian, Polish, Slovak, Romanian, Bulgarian, and Russian-should become the official languages of Ukraine.

After all, Orban's political fantasies are inexhaustible when it comes to what else can best hinder Ukrainians in our quest to join the European Union, NATO, and the Western world.

Today, the Hungarian prime minister has become a classic saboteur of EU agreements until he gets at least some benefit from them. Despite the fact that Hungary itself is critically dependent on other countries, for example, for access to the sea. However, it sees itself as a competitor when it comes to EU subventions and is constantly trying to put Russian interests on the agenda.

“Those who live in a glass house should not throw stones. Hungary is currently very vulnerable to the lack of press freedom and the Orban regime's peculiar interpretation of the rule of law. After all, Orban's standards of democracy are completely inconsistent with the fundamental values of the European Union.”

It is likely that the Hungarian prime minister needs to be dealt with more specifically than before. As long as he is blocking geostrategically important EU projects, he should refuse all multibillion-dollar injections from the European Union.

Viktor Orban is well aware that there is still no procedure for removing problem states like Hungary from the EU. But as an alternative to this solution, we can think of other EU members joining forces to isolate Hungary politically, i.e., no more trade agreements, freezing EU funds to Budapest (and there are already enough reasons for this), and imposing travel restrictions on the territory of a united Europe.

Without financial injections from the European Union, dictators like Orban will quickly lose power, as they need them to pay for the services of their corrupt bureaucratic networks and the social bribery of the Hungarian electorate, which is brainwashed by propaganda.

There is another delicate issue. Namely: Viktor Orban constantly behaves as if he has become Putin's authorized representative in the European Union. And this is not an exaggeration at all. And the authorities in the corridors of Brussels are helpless against this and have been forced to watch him constantly sabotage EU projects for years.

But the worst part is that there is no guarantee that all the conference information discussed in the EU or NATO will not be on the desks of those interested in it in Moscow thirty minutes later. This turns Hungarian diplomats and officers into potential Kremlin informers. The excessive tolerance of open societies leads to laxity, which is unacceptable when it comes to protecting the security of European states. 

It is clear that Ukraine's progress towards the EU will not be easy, but the Hungarian prime minister is ready to create more and more artificial obstacles to this end. Orban does not care about signs of solidarity with anyone. He prefers to play on the keyboard of anti-Ukrainian sentiments and aims to demonstrate short-term conditional achievements to those representatives of the electorate who cannot distinguish long-term policy from political gestures and populist opportunism.

“It's time for the European Union to start calling a spade a spade: Viktor Orban is systematically destroying democratic institutions in his country, feels more comfortable with world dictators like Putin and Xi Jinping, and constantly blocks EU and NATO decisions.”

Hungary is ruled by one of the most corrupt clans in Europe, but the EU faithfully pays for Orban's dubious projects, with orders usually going to family members and friends, and pensions conditionally increased to bribe his voters. And if you add to this the cheaper Russian gas for Hungary, you can fully understand what the foundation of Orban's power really rests on.

The phenomenon of Orban the politician is that despite the fact that he constantly opposes the EU, Hungary receives financial donations from the EU, without which his regime could not exist. Orban is corrupt, but to his citizens, he wants to appear to be a man of honor who allegedly represents Christian conservative values, stands for traditional families, and blocks immigrants from third-world countries from entering Hungary.

In fact, Viktor Orban should be the last person to criticize Ukraine's accession to the EU. And if Orban is such a convinced supporter of Russia and wants to pledge allegiance to Putin, wouldn't it be easier for him to withdraw Hungary from the EU altogether and declare it one of the new objects of the Russian Federation? Perhaps it would be easier for everyone.

After all, how can one dishonest politician be allowed to muddy the waters in the EU for so long? The EU cannot afford to have this pro-Russian perpetual prime minister, who does not share any of its common European values, blackmailing, intimidating and blocking its work all the time.

And here a natural logical conclusion suggests itself: if Hungarians constantly bring a pro-Moscow prime minister to power by voting, it is solely due to their pro-Russian sentiments. This means that the Hungarian people themselves, in their overwhelming majority, do not share the values of the European Union.

Does a united Europe need such a country? And whom should the EU choose if it comes to choosing between pro-European Ukraine and pro-Russian Hungary?


About the author. Viktor Kaspruk, journalist

The editors do not always share the opinions expressed by the authors of blogs.

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