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Double standards on Hungary

By György Schöpflin MEP   -  20.12.2012 / 03:45 CET
EV columnist took a "left-liberal outlook while seeking to hide partisanship".

John Wyles, writing on Hungary and the EU (“Dangerous and undemocratic”, 6-12 December), adopted the position of the detached, Olympian observer. In reality, he reflected a left-liberal outlook while seeking to hide partisanship.

Critics of Hungary try to establish a single EU standard. But this standard can be legitimate only if it is applied even-handedly to each and every member state, not just Hungary. The left, the European Commission and Mr Wyles have raised various issues, whether politically, legally or both. On the other hand, in each case there are analogous issues in other member states that are not regarded as being in breach of this notional ideal European standard. This comes close to a double standard. Here are some examples. Lack of space precludes me from detailing them at more length, or citing more examples.

Golden Dawn, the far-right party in Greece, is as deplorable as Jobbik in Hungary.

The murder of immigrants in Germany and Sweden raises issues similar to the murder of Roma in Hungary.

Media freedom has become a media licence in the UK, per the Leveson report, while the Hungarian media law has not interfered with media freedom.

Mr Wyles, however, further adds to his argument by referring to “Nastier cousins to the east”, implying that central Europeans are somehow inherently undemocratic. Is there a whiff of racism here? He then adds to it by relying on the “virus” metaphor to bulk out his argument, presumably so that he can conceal his own political agendas behind a veil of scientific objectivity.


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