The hospitality offered by Hungary to a convicted criminal, and the failure of EU officials to speak in one voice, will inevitably decrease the appeal of the pro-European narrativeby Ljupcho Petkovski / December 21, 2018 / Leave a comment
In Hungary, thousands of protesters have taken to the streets of Budapest and other cities to challenge Viktor Orban’s illiberal policies.
The passing of the so-called “slave law”—which entitles employers to seek up to 400 hours a year overtime for their staff—and new laws placing the courts under government control has brought together a disparate coalition of Hungarian citizens in massive rallies.
This combination of constitutional and bread and butter political issues has led to far more domestic protest than previous Orban policies that have threatened liberal and democratic norms, from the hostile treatment of refugees to restrictions on press freedom to the clampdown on civil society.
The arresting images from the protests are in danger of obscuring two other recent events in Hungary that are just as significant but have received far less sustained international attention.
Firstly, The Central European University (CEU)’s recent move from Budapest to Vienna after repressive policies made its academic operations impossible was a first in an EU country. Secondly, the decision by Hungary’s government to offer shelter to a convicted criminal fleeing justice, the former Macedonian Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski. His asylum request, in a country known for the toughest immigration policies in the European Union, was accepted on a…