The strain is the worst of my lifetime

Hungary is no longer a full democracy. The European Parliament reiterates its concerns in relation to the following issues in the country.

  • the functioning of the constitutional and electoral system;
  • the independence of the judiciary and of other institutions and the rights of judges;
  • corruption and conflicts of interest;
  • privacy and data protection;
  • freedom of expression, including media pluralism;
  • academic freedom;
  • freedom of religion;
  • freedom of association;
  • the right to equal treatment, including LGBTIQ rights;
  • the rights of persons belonging to minorities, including Roma and Jews, and protection against hateful statements against such minorities;
  • the fundamental rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees;
  • economic and social rights;

It believes that, taken together, facts and trends, Hungary is turning into a hybrid regime of electoral autocracy.

The conclusions of this report are clear and irrevocable: Hungary is not a democracy. It was more urgent than ever for the Parliament to take this stance, considering the alarming rate at which rule of law is backsliding in Hungary. Beyond acknowledging Fidesz’s autocratic strategy, the large majority of MEPs supporting this position in the European Parliament is unprecedented. This should be a wake-up call for the Council and Commission

Gwendoline Delbos-Corfield, Greens/EFA, FR, Parliament’s rapporteur on the situation in Hungary

But the story goes on.

On September 25th Italy will hold a general election at which around a quarter of the vote is expected to go to a party, the Brothers of Italy, that traces its origins to neo-fascism, flaunts the symbol of neo-fascism in its logo and has a leader, Giorgia Meloni, who as a teenager belonged to the defunct, neo-fascist Italian Social Movement (msi).

Giorgia Meloni takes a selfie with Viktor Orbán

Mussolini has rarely been taken seriously as a totalitarian dictator, but that seems to be precisely his present appeal.

Hitler and Stalin have always cast too long a shadow. But what was a negative judgement on the Duce, considered innocuous and ineffective, has begun to work to his advantage. As has occurred with many other European dictators, present-day popular memory of Mussolini is increasingly indulgent; in Italy and elsewhere he is remembered as a strong, decisive leader and people now speak of the ‘many good things’ done by the regime.

Paul Corner, Mussolini in Myth and Memory, The First Totalitarian Dictator

I hate to remember the overused maxim “Those who forget their history are doomed to repeat it.” But Europe seems to be going down precisely that drain.

Even one of leading members of the irredeemable optimistim club has to admit that the strain is the worst of his lifetime. Though, of course, he is staying optimistic.

Brexit, Hungarycracy, Italoamnesya… They sound like not too friendly patogens. The strain is certainly the worst of my lifetime, but let’s keep optimistic.

Evo Morales: “We welcome the meeting of the brother presidents Xi Jinping and Vladimir Putin who, together with the leaders of India, Pakistan, Turkey and Iran, will define in Uzbekistan the course of the free peoples towards a just world order as an alternative to US arms race and interventionism.”

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Featured Image(s): Ernest Hamlin Baker, Benito Mussolini, National Portrait Gallery (this post), Georgia Meloni (main blog page)

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