Guardian: Orban was threatening the EU “…

Guardian: Orban was threatening the EU “Orbán made clear he would cause maximum embarrassment if Brussels insisted on meddling in his domestic policies. “If you mix up the two, obviously I am ready to fight … It won’t just be detrimental or damaging to Hungary alone but … to the EU as a whole,” he said in Strasbourg. It was an extraordinary statement: in effect, the EU’s standard-bearer was threatening the EU. […]

The impact of Orbán’s behaviour on EU influence in the world is another worrying issue. Angela Merkel, Germany’s chancellor, has warned Europe’s collective authority in dealing with abusive regimes could be undermined. If Hungary’s flouting of EU standards goes unpunished, other EU states with questionable human rights and civil liberties practices may feel encouraged to persist. And what is EU candidate Turkey, often accused of curtailing media freedoms, to make of it all? […]

The controversy has sparked an overdue discussion about maintaining common standards, Dennison said. “Until recently EU governments and the Commission have found it inappropriate to discuss domestic affairs at a European level, and certainly not in public … Instead they operate a gentlemen’s club …” she said in an ECFR analysis. But now, outrage over Orbán’s antics suggested “the long-standing civil society message [is] finally being heard: that breaches of the EU’s fundamental values, even in only one member state, are still a source of collective shame.” “

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