The social and political situation in Hungary – response to the Information Sheet of the Hungarian Government on the issues raised by the draft report of Judith Sargentini on ’a proposal calling on the Council to determine, pursuant to Article 7(1) of the Treaty on European Union, the existence of a clear risk of a serious breach by Hungary of the values on which the Union is founded’
Concerned Hungarian citizens find themselves in a difficult position when their government enters into a conflict with the European Union, especially when that conflict risks the triggering of Article 7(1) EU. Nobody is interested in seeing their own country accused and sanctioned. However, we also believe that adherence to the principles that form the basis of the European community also serve the best interests of our country. Therefore, having read the information sheet provided by the Hungarian government in response to the Sargentini-report, we were both saddened and shocked to find the apparent lack of understanding by the Hungarian government of the issues at stake, and the deliberate strategy of using misinformation and distortion in their response to the report.
Therefore, we believe that it is our patriotic duty, as Hungarian citizens and social scientists to critically examine and respond to the government’s information sheet. The following document presents our point of view and research about the social and political situation in Hungary, following the structure of the Sargentini-report and the information sheet provided by the Hungarian government. Unlike the Hungarian government, we do not claim to be unmistakable: what follows is our best effort in contributing to the discussion relying solely on our personal resources and knowledge. We also intend to show other concerned citizens that such individual efforts are necessary and effective tools for change.
Anyone who believes that the findings of the Sargentini-report reflect accidental breaches caused by the activities of an overzealous Hungarian government, should know that the flag of the European Union was taken down from the building of the Parliament in 2014. It is a conscious decision and a strategic intention of the ruling party to create distance and generate conflict between Hungary and the wider European community. But they should also know that we, Hungarians and Europeans alike, have a say in the matter. Therefore, we call on everyone who shares our concerns to send this or similar reports to Members of the European Parliament and raise the issue in their respective communities and urge them protect our common values.
We would also like to express our gratitude to the numerous experts, researchers and academics who generously contributed to the document below with their advice and suggestions.
Our response in English.
Rafael Labanino, Research Fellow, Institut für Politikwissenschaft, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main, Germany
Zsofia Nagy, Assistant Professor, Eötvös Loránd University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Budapest, Hungary