Washington and Human Rights Watch also expressed concerns on Monday that Orbán and his conservative Fidesz party, which holds a two-thirds majority in Hungary's parliament, are systematically limiting democratic rights with their fourth amendment to the new constitution since it took effect just over a year ago.
When the right-wing politicians in Hungary pushed their new constitution through in 2011, European leaders didn't want a big conflict. They had to save the euro, thus their crisis-ridden, non-euro neighbour Hungary remained the target of their concern. After Budapest successfully ignored the complaints of Europe's leaders, the West returned to business as usual. The European Council passed a friendly resolution, and Brussels gave the green light for budgetary aid in Budapest. They had said their piece, and eased their conscience.
The half-hearted European reactions have not only failed to improve things in Hungary, they have also made them worse. Criticism without consequences only serves to convince doubters that their government is strong and will prevail against powerful enemies. If Brussels only makes a show of strength when it's about money, then it just confirms the clichéd image that Orbán has created of Europe.
Democracy thrives on the painstaking art of compromise. The opposition must be included; it needs to be heard. This is not a luxury, but a necessity. Orbán isn't protecting his country. He is leading it into a dangerous rigidity. But things that are too hard break all too easily.
By Guylain Gustave Moke
Photo-Credit: AFP: Victor Orbán