Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán apparently used the coronavirus pandemic to further implement his dream of omnipotence. Since Monday the law of emergency applies in the country with no time limit which allows him to rule by decree and without the approval of parliament. Elections are suspended and the freedom of speech has been further restricted. Allegedly, in a move to fight “fake news” it aims to silence unpopular critics since “wrong” information of any kind can now lead to imprisonment of up to five years.
These actions, seeking to turn Hungary eventually into an autocracy, must not be tolerated by the European Union. President of the Commission von der Leyen needs to demand adherence to European values and rules and if necessary sanction the Hungarian government. Her tame response of any measures better being proportionate and not lasting indefinitely, lacks any call for action and once again demonstrates the hesitation of decision-makers when dealing with the ever more unilaterally acting Eastern states of the EU.
It cannot and may not be the goal of the European Union to tolerate dictatorships among its member states. It is time for decisive voices and actions so that the Hungarian people can move freely and without fear in a democratic country again.
President of the EL