Opinion: Weeklies on Hungary as 'An Outlier' in the EU

  • 30 Jan 2023 10:08 AM
  • BudaPost
Opinion: Weeklies on Hungary as 'An Outlier' in the EU
Left-wing commentators wonder if the government is paving the way for Hungary to eventually leave the European Union, while a pro-government columnist lambasts left-wing members of the European Parliament who accuse Hungary of corruption, while their peers are under investigation for taking hundreds of millions of Euros in bribes.

In his Élet és Irodalom editorial, Zoltán Kovács accuses PM Orbán of flirting with ‘Huxit’ – at least at the back of his mind.

To prove his thesis, he refers to those he calls ‘government propagandists’ who put the national interest first, rather than addressing international expectations of Hungary.

Kovács quotes pro-government analyst Tamás Fricz, who in a recent interview with Mandiner said that Hungary should remain in the European Union but only as long as it is possible and worthwhile.

Pondering the same problem across a full Magyar Hang page, six authors write that the popularity of the European Union is decreasing among Fidesz supporters, and less than two thirds of them still support Hungary’s membership.

Overall support for the EU is still well over 70% in the country, they continue, but they find it worrisome that Hungarians are more pragmatic about the European Union than citizens of other member countries. Their main reasons to support continued membership in the EU are the financial transfers to Hungary and job opportunities in western Europe.

Magyar Narancs goes so far as to suspect that Prime Minister Orbán wants to lead Hungary out of the Western alliance – NATO as well as the EU.

In their regular first page editorial, the editors draw that conclusion from new legislation that makes it possible to allow army officers over 45 years of age after 25 years of service to retire with a ‘dignified pension’, which would permit them to take up jobs elsewhere without giving up that allowance.

Magyar Narancs dismisses the government’s argument that command posts should be open to the younger generation and believes that the authorities want to get rid of officers faithful to NATO, since these might refuse to support what they call ‘the catastrophic policies of a gambling Prime Minister’.

In Jelen, Tamás Fóti finds it telling that Olivér Várhelyi, the Hungarian EU Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement is under attack in the European Parliament, where a majority of MEPs accuse him of neglecting rule of law criteria in preparatory talks about the accession of Balkan countries to the European Union.

The liberal author believes that by appointing a new general director to lead Várhelyi’s office, EC president Ursula von der Leyen has severely curbed the power of the Hungarian Commissioner.

Heti Világgazdaság’s András Németh, on the other hand, is convinced that the accelerated accession of Serbia to the European Union which Mr Várhelyi has supported is a hopeless enterprise.

Meanwhile, he also remarks that the mandate of the Commission will end in 18 months, which makes the proposal by the European Parliament to launch an investigation into the policies pursued by the Hungarian Commissioner practically senseless.

In Mandiner, Tamás Pindroch, a senior analyst at the pro-government For Basic Rights think tank describes the accusations of corruption and rule of law infringements levelled against Hungary as ridiculous, in light of the ongoing corruption scandal within the European Parliament.

He finds it revolting that left-wing MEPs who are now suspected of taking hundreds of millions of euros worth of bribes, only a few months ago vehemently accused the Hungarian government of corruption and tried to cut EU financial transfers to Hungary.

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Launched in May 2011 to provide a balanced picture of matters covered in Hungary’s national press. Their aim is to make it easier for English-speakers to understand where this country is now and where it’s heading according to the full spectrum of media opinions.