The increasingly autocratic tendencies observed in Poland and Hungary during the COVID-19 crisis have alarmed the EU. With street protests currently banned, human rights activists fear that the pandemic will be used by national conservative governments to consolidate their power and undermine democracy and human rights.
Typically, there exist two forms of anarchy. The ‘nation-state-anarchy’ and the ‘federal-movement-anarchy’. Together they pave the way for the arrival of a European strong man.
On March 30, 2020, the Hungarian Parliament passed the so-called “Enabling Act”. In the future, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will, therefore, be able to govern by decree without parliamentary approval. Despite the spread of the new coronavirus, this shouldn’t have happened.
Hungary is loth to leave its past behind, with radicals reemerging annually to celebrate the historic bloodshed of WW2. Athough the news was awash with the marching boots of neo-Nazis in Hungary, there is another story behind the black uniforms parading through the streets of Budapest.
Hungarian politics in 2020 will be different from 2019 in a number of ways. After years of paralysis and disarray of the Hungarian non-Fidesz opposition, they are back in the political game after a surprise non-defeat at the municipal elections in October 2019.
Family Protection Action Plan, which bears all the hallmarks of an authoritarian staple, is dehumanizing, pits demographic groups against each other and distorts the markets. It also creates a distraction for the citizens and puts the opposition in a corner where their only option is a bidding war.
The liberal order is still a relatively young system by and large. Over millennia before the industrial revolution and the ascendancy of liberal ideas did tribalism of some sort or the other prevail. The legacy of liberal order is undeniably impressive.
The Visegrád Cooperation is not nearly as united and indissoluble as the Hungarian Government wishes to present it. Member states often have conflicting interests which are pursued to the detriment of each other and cooperation.
With electing the PiS government for the second time in a row, the hope for ending the crisis in the country ended. Any further delay of the ongoing processes from their further development in a hope that Poland shall return to the center of the political debate on the future of Europe seems futile.