Criticize the government of Viktor Orban, prime minister of Hungary since 2010, all you like. But the European Union’s despotic and disgraceful attempt to bring him to heel, which came to a head with a vote in the European Parliament on September 12, has nothing whatsoever to do with the purported “erosion of democracy” in his country.
First, let it be said that the vote itself was a result of a report by Judith Sargentini, a Dutch MEP who belongs to her country’s GreenLeft Party. In the report, Sargentini accused Hungary of “a serious breach…of the values on which the Union is founded,” namely “the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights.” She proceeded to reel off dozens of complaints about the way things work in Hungary.
For example: “Patriarchal stereotyped attitudes still prevail in Hungary with respect to the position of women in society.” (Well, yes, compared to the Netherlands.) She accused Hungarian authorities of prejudice against Roma, or gypsies, because an inordinate percentage of gypsy children are placed in special-education classes. (She gave no indication of entertaining the possibility that the children in question might actually require such classes.) Another grievance was the domination of Hungary’s media by pro-government voices. (As if you couldn’t say the same thing about the media in much of Western Europe.)