We haven’t checked in on Viktor Orban’s government in Hungary lately to see how their rather rocky relationship with the European Union has been going. As you may recall, the EU has been insisting on quotas of migrants and refugees for all of the member nations to accept. It’s a system which nearly cost Angela Merkel her job and has resulted in outright revolt in some of the more eastern nations in the union. For their part, Hungary was, shall we say… the most blunt. Rather than accepting the quotas, Hungary built a new wall on their southern border and shut down unauthorized migration to nearly zero this year.
So have relations begun to thaw yet? Not if the most recent release from a government spokesman is any indication. Describing the migration quotas as, “limitless and permanent,” Hungary’s government continues to draw a red line in the sand, saying they value the integrity of their nation more than membership in the union. (Breitbart)
In a stinging new op-ed, Hungarian government spokesman Zoltán Kovács has accused the European Parliament of surreptitiously removing all limits to the European migrant quota, effectively making it “limitless and permanent.”
The Hungarian Parliament roundly rejected the European Parliament’s decision, Kovács notes, saying that “the decision would change irreversibly the continent’s future.”
In his essay, Kovács harkens back to a 2015 proposal by the European Commission to resettle 40 thousand migrants among EU member states “in what would later become known as the infamous quota system.”
“That number quickly tripled, jumping to 120 thousand, but all the while, the proponents of this solution were insisting that it was just a one-time measure. Brussels is now pushing forward with a proposal for a permanent quota system with no upper limit,” the spokesman observes.
What we’re seeing from Brussels these days is some sort of utopian, socialist vision of a borderless world where everything will supposedly be just fine if we just do away with the idea of independent nations with their own national identity and mix up all the different societies sufficiently. How has that been working out so far? As Kovacs pointed out to the EU, they’ve seen 27 terrorist attacks in Europe, claiming the lives of 330 people and injuring 1,300 others. As millions of new arrivals, many from decidedly different cultures, flood into these historically established societies, there’s a lot more than just “diversity” taking shape.
Kovacs went on to demand that the European Union, “respect Hungary’s sovereignty and the will of its people.” It sounds to me as if the member states of the EU are now wrestling with some of the same issues our Founding Fathers had to cope with a couple of centuries back. States’ rights vs a strong, central government of a union. But we had one advantage the EU can’t match. At that time, the individual states were comprised largely of people coming from subsets of the same cultural heritage and not all that much “blending” was required. Not so for Europe, where people regularly drive along highways past buildings (or in some cases ruins) which have been standing since the middle ages. Most of those countries are not only comparatively ancient and unique in their societal heritage, but spent significant parts of previous centuries at war with each other.
Meanwhile in Austria, Sebastian Kurz is turning heads across Europe as he leads his party and nation in a decided turn to the right. (Politico)
Sebastian Kurz — the 31-year-old leader of the Austrian People’s Party (ÖVP) — is set to lead a right-leaning coalition that includes the far-right Freedom Party. The last time Austria’s populists won more than a quarter of the vote and played kingmaker, in 1999, the other EU members isolated Vienna through bilateral sanctions. But what shocked EU leaders then is barely causing a stir now.
In part, this is simply because the inclusion of the far right is not as shocking as it was 20 years ago. Since then, governments across Europe — from Hungary to Italy — have turned rightward and a host of mainstream political leaders have adopted anti-immigrant rhetoric in an effort to keep the political fringes at bay.
Exclusion is no longer an option. The EU is too busy trying to figure out how to respond to the most blatant challenges to its rule of law and other key values — from self-proclaimed “illiberal” governments in Budapest and Warsaw — to consider imposing sanctions on newer arrivals.
Does anyone seriously think that the EU is going to even attempt sanctioning and isolating Austria at this point? Several other member nations with the same complaints would be immediately up in arms. The union is walking a fine line between cohesion and collapse at the moment and if they push some of these countries too far they’ll have more “exits” on their hands. And given the current lay of the land, the EU wouldn’t survive too many more beatings like that.