Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last week attended a summit of the so-called “Visegrad Group” in Budapest with the leaders of “V4” states – Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and Czechia. The host of the summit, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, described the four plus Israel as “patriotic nations”. Continue reading
The European Commission on 13 July sent a “letter of formal notice” to Hungary over that country’s new law on foreign-funded NGOs adopted just one month earlier. The EU Commissioner for Fundamental Rights, Dutch Socialist Frans Timmermans, has alleged that Hungary is in breach of EU fundamental rights law. Continue reading
The well-known Jesuit Henri Boulad, former Provincial of the Jesuits in Egypt and director of the Jesuit Cultural Center in Alexandria, has a life-long experience of what it means to live as a non-Muslim in a predominantly Islamic country. A few weeks ago, he has accepted Hungarian citizenship in order to support the restrictive migration policy of the Hungarian head of government, Viktor Orbán, and to exert a corresponding influence on the European immigration policy. Continue reading
Despite criticism from outside, the Hungarian Parliament has adopted a new law that imposes new requirements for Universities in Hungary – requirements that, apparently, George Soros’s “Central European University” (CEU) is currently not able or not willing to fulfil. Immediately it is rumoured that the new law is specifically targeting the CEU, and that it it is part of a larger design to crack down on “liberalism”… reason enough for the EU’s Deputy Sheriff Frans Timmermans to issue a lengthy press statement in which he not only expresses “concern over the situation in Hungary”, but (indirectly) even brandishes the threat of a “Rule-of-Law-Procedure” against Hungary to defend “our shared values”. Continue reading
One 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
Jean-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
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