news letter

Weekly newsletter

Guardian: PM Orbán and Eastern Member States Could be Bigger Threats for EU than Brexit in 2018

By Fanni Kaszás // 2017.12.28.

Europe may face an unprecedented challenge from the authoritarians in the east, in addition to economic problems, the uncertain German political situation and two elections, according to an article published by Guardian. 

In the coming year, it will be much harder for the EU to deal with its eastern Member States, who  “deliberately flouting core western liberal norms and values it strives to embody” than the problems with Brexit, predicts Guardian’s publicist, Jon Henley.

Henley outlines how the European Commission took Hungary to the European Court of Justice (ECJ)  concerning three areas: EU migrant quotas, the law on foreign-funded NGOs and the law on higher education known as “Lex CEU”, and Poland’s article 7 proceedings, the so-called “nuclear option” whose ultimate sanction is to deprive a member state of its EU voting rights.

The article also quotes from Jaroslav Kaczynski, head of Poland’s ruling PiS party and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s nationalist, fundamentalist speeches in which they are  calling for the defence of Europe’s “Christian culture” against a “Muslim invasion”.

The calls to make EU funds – of which Poland and Hungary are among the largest net recipients – conditional on upholding the rule of law are also becoming more and more popular.

The author added that besides the upcoming Hungarian election, two other “potentially tricky” elections are due in two other member states: Sweden and Italy, while last year’s German poll is still far from settled as well as it is unlikely that there will be a new government before Spring 2018.

The article says that “populist Eurosceptic insurgents fared less well in last year’s polls than they had hoped” but the threat remains, as the European Union faces other challenges – economical problems, the Italian debt, weak banks and complicated politics – that may strengthen the populists.