Viktor Orbán of Hungary is not to be hectored to. Arching with fury at the EU’s September motion to sanction Hungary for bad behaviour under the Article 7 process, he was resolved to ratchet things up. The motion, while getting 448 votes concerned about judicial independence, corruption, freedom of expression, academic freedom, the rights and migrants, amongst others did have 197 opponents. (48 abstained.) Spot, as it were, the east-west European divide.
There was a time when Hungary was known as the “merriest barracks in the socialist camp” dominated by more tempered form of “goulash communism”. The merriment, not to mention any gastronomic softness, has long soured, substituted by a more patriotic, state-centred sludge. Protesters are now being given the treatment that would not have been unseemly in the times of the Cold War.
A week-and-a-half of protests against the overtime law passed by the Fidesz majority yielded the police forces fifty arrests. Orbán’s ruling party could not see what the fuss was all about. The law in question increases the number of overtime hours employees can be made to work from 250 to 400, a calculation to be made after three years. Pity for those workers, given the exodus of Hungarian employees to western Europe.
Opposition members of Parliament keen to get more coverage from the state media on the protests have also been frogmarched out of the broadcaster’s headquarters. In future, they can expect…