Another way of reading the results of the Hungarian Anti-refugee-quota-referendum

2903One may indeed ask the question whether it was wise for Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to call a referendum on the EU-imposed refugee quuotas, given (a) the foreseeable difficulty in getting more than 50% of the electorate to the polls, (b) his intention to reject the EU’s quota idea in any case, and (c) the practical impossibility for the Commission and for Member States, including those agreeing with the idea, to put the quota into practice. The voter turnout has been just 40% instead of 50%, the referendum is “invalid” from a legal point of view, and all the international mass media are writing about “Orbán’s defeat”. Continue reading

Juncker & Schulz: The EU’s Problem, not its Solution

h_51481703Jean-Claude Juncker and Martin Schulz, respectively European Commission and Parliament Presidents, have been repeatedly telling anyone who cares to listen that they alone can save Europe from the problems it currently faces. A damning article in German weekly Der Spiegel, however, concludes the very opposite: Juncker and Schulz are the epitome of the self-serving elite at the very heart of the EU’s  “exisistential crisis”. Continue reading

Catholic bishops’ EU office bemoans “Christian post-fascism”

Pope Francis’ policy of aligning the Catholic Church with the secular “zeitgeist” appears to have enthusiastic followers at COMECE, the Brussels-based lobby bureau of Catholic Bishops’ Conferences in the EU. Since the new pontiff came into office in 2013, the focus of COMECE’s activities has shifted from themes such as bioethics, the work-free Sunday, religious freedom, or the situation of Christians in the Near East and China, to issues where the Church can find areas of convergence with the fashionable left. As one hears, under the aegis of its new President Cardinal Marx the new priority is to campaign against TTIP, the EU/US trade deal currently under negotiation, and to help the European Commission in averting climate change. Good Catholics, it appears, think and do the same as everybody else does. This is what makes them a socially relevant group.

Given the new partnership between the Church and the political left, it perhaps should not come as a surprise that in COMECE’s latest newsletter one finds a rather astonishing article on the political situation in Hungary by one Hans Schelkshorn, a lay professor at the Faculty of Theology of Vienna University. In this article, which is as soundly Catholic as the rants one might always expect to hear from certain MEPs like Guy Verhofstadt and Sophie in ‘t Veld, the professor bemoans the “ideology” of Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán. Continue reading

“Hello, Dictator!”

Upon watching this video footage from the EU’s Eastern Partnership Summit in Riga one has all reasons to wonder whether a meeting of Heads of States and Governments is the appropriate place for Jean-Claude Juncker.

Apparently his way of greeting Hungary’s Viktor Orban is an attempt to be witty, but the Commission President rather looks like someone who hasn’t got all his five senses together. Suppose he were to greet a real dictator in that way, how would that kind of behaviour be helping the cause of democracy? Continue reading

Showdown at the EP: Orbán thinks there should be “no taboos”, Schulz quotes the 5th Commandment

orbc3a1n-viktor-3Recent statements by Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that the death penalty might be a solution in the fight against crime have today led to a showdown in the European Parliament.

Commission Vice-President Frans Timmermans indicated his willingness to use the mechanism foreseen in Article 7 TFEU and push for a suspension of Hungary’s membership rights, should the country re-introduce the death penalty. Rather unimpressed by this threat, Orbán replied that attempts by the Commission to control what may be, or not be, discussed in Hungary are “themselves a violation of the EU’s founding principles”. Continue reading