Jobbik

Hungary to be stripped of its EU voting rights?

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The EU is voting to strip Hungary of its EU voting rights for consistent failure to heed their values, including migrant quotas. Last year an apathetic turnout to a referendum held on the subject said 98.4% of Hungarians were against forced migrant quotas. Putting to one side the altruism of the EU, trying to force a member state to tow the line is absurd, not so much for the country but the migrants.

Let’s not forget this is the EU making up for Merkel’s single-handed poorly executed thought bubble in the first place. She put forward a come one come all rhetoric on her own.

In a sense the EU can rant on all it likes about humanitarism (although 80% are economic refugees (i.e. not fleeing war zones) according to figures by Eurostat) but forcing asylum seekers into a country that doesn’t want them doesn’t seem optimal. We can snigger at Hungary and call them bigoted, racist or worse but the fact of the  matter is migrants on the whole won’t be welcome.

The EU forcing unwanted guests to a Hungarian dinner table has obvious consequences. The embittered host is likely to ruin the goulash and spoil the palatschinke in an attempt to get the visitors to leave.  Many are unaware the third largest political party in Hungary is Jobbik (won 21% of seats in the 2014 election) which has all the hallmarks of Roehm’s SA, right down to the uniforms. Jobbik has a record of roughing up Jews, Gypsies and Roma so before Brussels tells Budapest it must accept migrant quotas perhaps an assessment of the reality would be wise. Jobbik is left to do its ruffian business and Hungarian authorities turn a blind eye. That is the bigger issue at sort before imposing quotas.

Surely if refugees were asked Hungary is the last place they want to go after leaving their homeland. Refugees aren’t cattle but the EU is treating them so. Aren’t they surprised when the majority seek Germany as the end destination because of the relative generosity? Do the EU authorities think these migrants don’t have excellent internal information networks? Of course they do.

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To rachet this down a notch what are EU values anyway? The Brits are leaving because they don’t agree with EU values. The Greeks are being trodden on for refusing to accept EU austerity values. The Austrians were threatened with sanctions and punishment if they democratically voted in a right wing president. Are these worthy values? The Swiss handed back a 30 year free pass to join the EU presumably because they didn’t believe in EU values. The list goes on.

Sometimes it is had not to think of the EU as the Gallactic Senate from Star Wars trying to get aliens from different galaxies to agree on everything.

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We all know how unwelcome visitors are treated in the Star Wars Bar when different backgrounds and cultures literally don’t see eye to eye. The EU would do well to respect the diversity of its members, which includes diversity of thought and culture. It is not to say the EU doesn’t have a point from time to time they are dreadful executors of it.

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Euro(di)vision contest?

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Does the above surprise you? Europe’s long history almost guarantees it. Don’t get me wrong. I love Europe. Cross a border and the architecture, culture, language and food changes instantaneously. I recall at the time of listing Airbus (EADS) in 1999 and the management wanted to point to their cultural differences by getting three actors to play a German, French and Spaniard with a satirical twist. The German arrived 10 minutes early and was all prepared before the scheduled presentation time of 9am. The French actor rocked up 20 minutes late talking on his mobile phone as he joined the stage to the visible but contained ire of the German actor. 45 minutes later the Spanish actor showed up. The German actor banged the table, stood up and asked him “Where the hell have you been? Didn’t you know the presentation started at 9am?”He replied, “Yes, I know…I just had something better to do!”

However when European member states are told by a bunch of unelected bureaucrats how they must conform against the norms of their individual joie de vivre it can only ever end up as the continent of discontent. I wrote a report on elections 13 months ago pointing to the rapid shift of right-wing parties across Europe (refer to Fig.2 in that report). I’ve since updated the table and it has only gotten more extreme. People are sick and tired of politicians who have lost touch with the average man and woman on the street. Expect Italy’s referendum to be a NO and the right wing FPO’s Norbert Hofer to take the presidency in Austria.

I find Jean-Claude Juncker’s about face perhaps the most telling sign of the EU’s inevitable failure. Pre-Brexit, his aggressive vitriol and arrogance toward member states has slowly dawned on him half a year after the event. He even threw barbs at Farage immediately after his victory speech and told the Brits they’d be punished for their betrayal.

I doubt he had any sleep Saturday night nor Sunday. The Europroject has been a failure. It was always a good theory to unite tribes often at each other’s throats but when a federalist bunch ignored the will of the individuals they sought to rule over then they only have themselves to blame. Such as the plan to fairly distribute refugees among member states. I actually thought the problem was more to do with trying to resettle asylum seekers into countries that didn’t want them. Regardless of the humanitarian angle to helping them, when countries vote 98% to reject them I wouldn’t want to be sent there.

At the end of the day, populism will rule the day in Europe. It has been a long time coming. A Trump win is cited as the reason Europeans are feeling the courage. I doubt it. They’ve been buried under a rock for the last decade as the table above explains clearly.

Would asylum seekers really want to be relocated to Hungary? I would argue not

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It was no surprise to see the Hungarian referendum return 98% “NO” on EU imposed immigration quotas.While accepting c.1,300 asylum seekers on a pure economic cost basis is unlikely to move the needle, one might question asylum seekers willingness to move there in any case.

The above picture shows members of the Hungarian nationalist “Jobbik Party” who look awfully like Ernst Roehm’s SA storm-troopers in 1920s and 1930s Germany. Jobbik garnered over 20% of total votes at the 2014 parliamentary elections, making them the third largest party in the National Assembly. This is up from 2% in 2006.

While the turnout of only 43% did not legally qualify it (requires 50%) as a valid referendum it still showed clearly that Hungarians do not want immigrants decided by the EU. So Hungarian PM Viktor Orban says he will change the constitution to make the decision binding.

This referendum was a double edged sword for Jobbik. On the one hand they want to keep true to their credo, “movement for a better Hungary” but at the same time want to take over from Orban’s Fidesz Party, something they felt more attainable after its first by-election victory in April 2015.

Jobbik has had a pretty fearsome reputation inside Hungary for its tough treatment of Gypsy and Roma minorities because the party claims they rarely contribute to society, sponge off welfare and disproportionately feature in crime statistics. The Jobbik Party’s anti-Roma and anti-Jewish rhetoric and actions have become increasingly virulent in recent years in Hungary, bolstered by organized paramilitary groups, extremist organizations, and private individuals. Several instances of racially motivated crimes and violence by both extremists groups and civilians have been recorded by civil society organizations and the media, including the killing or injuring of Roma victims, the use of firearms, firebombs, grenades, and Molotov cocktails against Roma, and the humiliation of Romani children and adults.

In no way do I suggest Hungarians all share such beliefs but parties like Jobbik have been growing in popularity only highlight the surge in nationalist sentiment.

With that in mind, I very much doubt that legitimate asylum seekers would really wish to be sent to Hungary for resettlement. From being uprooted from their war-torn homeland to potential victimisation in their new home does not exactly sound promising. I haven’t forgotten the pictures of journalists tripping asylum seekers up or ferrying them as fast as possible toward Germany. Then again, if the asylum seekers were asked where they would like to be settled, the EU’s quota allocation sums would be well out of whack.  Therein lies the problem. Enforcing other’s humanitarian beliefs on those that have little or no intention of respecting those aims is hardly a recipe for mutual cooperation.