Twenty-five years ago the Iron Curtain fell and countries including Hungary, Romania and Bulgaria finally left the long shadow of the Soviet Union. In those revolutionary days, Viktor Orbán was in the vanguard of protesters fighting for the fall of the old regime.

However, after two decades of adapting to Western European (liberal constitutionalist) values, the ruling Fidesz party in Hungary is now arguing that the experiment with liberal democracy has well and truly failed.

In July 2014, Prime Minister Orbán announced his plans to create “a new Hungarian state” that replicates political systems in Singapore, Russia, China, India and Turkey. An English translation of the speech was uploaded on the governments website and international news media reported that Orbán intends to end liberal democracy and create an “illiberal state”.

Why is Hungary drifting away? Can it remain a member of the EU if it is no longer a liberal democracy? And will other ex-Soviet countries in the region eventually follow Orbán’s lead?

We had a comment send in by Wouter, who argued that liberalism and democracy are not the same thing, and one can exist without the other:

I think recent election outcomes throughout Europe have shown that liberalism and democracy are not synonymous. In fact, there a quite a few examples of democratic societies in history that didn’t aspire to the liberal utilitarianism that we champion today.

We put this comment to György Schöpflin, a Member of the European Parliament (MEP) for the Fidesz party. How would he respond to Wouter?

How “illiberal” have Viktor Orbán’s policies been in practice? Among other things, the Hungarian government introduced a controversial new media law in 2010 which critics argued has undermined media freedom in the country; amended the constitution in 2013 to reduce the power and independence of the Constitutional Court; and, in 2014, instituted a crackdown against foreign NGOs and civic groups, leading US President Barack Obama to include Hungary in a list of countries using “endless regulations and overt intimidation” against civil society.

One of our users, Sebestyén, said he was worried that democratic institutions were being eroded in Hungary. To get a reaction, we put this comment to Cecilia Wikström, a Swedish MEP who sits with the Liberal Democrats:

Sebestyén also thinks that Hungary’s media laws are harming freedom of speech in the country. The 2010 law established a “Media Council” – a group of Fidesz-appointed members which has the power to fine media outlets that do not comply with the act. We put Sebestyén’s comment to Zoltán Kovács, spokesperson of the Hungarian government. How would he respond to Sebestyén?

Finally, we had a question send in from Bastien, who argues that different EU Member States clearly have different values when it comes to issues such as civic rights and freedom of speech. So, are Orban’s ambitions to create an illiberal state compatible with EU membership? How would Kovács respond to Bastien?

What do you think? Are Hungary’s plans to create a new “illiberal state” compatible with EU membership? Is the EU to blame for Hungary’s change of course? Will other countries in the region follow suit? Let us know your questions and comments in the form below, and we’ll take them to policy makers and experts for their reaction!

245 comments Post a commentcomment

  1. avatar
    Gabor Molnar

    It didn’t failed completley, but they messed it up properly, but they are still doing better, then Ukraine.

  2. avatar
    Jorge Qoqe

    Liberal democracy isn’t the only way of democracy. Let’s look to Escandinavia, democracies can also take care of people.

    • avatar
      Guillermo Passas

      Actually, Escandinavian countries are liberal democracies. I wonder that you are mistaken simply because you are thinking of liberalism as a political ideology, instead of liberal democracy as a whole political system. A liberal democracy exists always if individual rights and freedoms are safeguarded under the framework of a Rule of (democratic) Law system.

  3. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    They are coming back , no problem , they are just a bit Hungry . They love EU there .

    • avatar
      Ananda Weerasinghe

      The EU won’t change any. Look still The Germany seems dividend?? What EU have done for Eastern part?? It became worse than ever. Under Socialism They made so many achievement At lest their lives were comfortable enough. But now? Only one thing has change Eastern woman became a Chancellor of Germany.

  4. avatar
    Kovács János

    Notice that the phrase “illiberal democracy” means something else in Hungarian context. It’s not an antithesis of the “classic” term, it’s something else. According to PM Orban, he was referring to Christian democracy as an opposing idea.

  5. avatar
    Máté Foki

    Yeah,failed much. EU does nothing,Merkel does nothing,don’t expect anything.

  6. avatar
    Josephine Cassar

    Also in Malta, depends on the government in question too, but EU did nothing about this govt granting citizenship to others we know nothing about & these will penetrate EU through Malta then

  7. avatar
    Alex Tselentis

    EU is a total failure, shifting attention to those countries WISE enough to be expanding their horizons is silly, Hungary will be fine though its found itself in a new “shadow” that of the unelected Brussels Bankers or as they call themselves the “EU”

  8. avatar
    Gyula Császár

    Yes failed! For example, in the name of liberal democracy: wages are too low compared to market prices, a usa owned company here payed half of the wage verbaly contracted for months, independent liberal media is a maffia doing manipulation for decades, banks does wrong tactics to gather money (from low wages): missleading ad-s, verbal infos. In short, liberal democracy pushed millions near slavery. So yes, liberal demokracy done by post-communist is failing and NEVER succeed!

    • avatar

      You’re right!!!

  9. avatar
    János Máté

    Hungarian voters said no both in 2010 and in 2014 to that kind of false liberalism which is advocated by the New World Order Matrix Masters of Mankind and started to follow the white rabbit of common sense patriotism where the Government don’t take IMF loans, sell the country for the lowest bidder and shoot at peaceful protesters (as the left and liberal governments had done for 8 long years between 2002 and 2010) but strenghtens the national human capital, creates more jobs sets higher taxes on international conglomerates and lower on people, and behold it’s working :-). On the other hand there are many “Agent Smith” on the international payroll who try to persuade the EU citizens that Hungary is dangerous because it’s good to be in debt and on the dole, moreover “ignorance – as far as the present cynical, hypocritical and unequal (see the tax cheats of Luxembourg for example) EU model is concerned – is bliss” :-(… http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/39/Smithposter.jpg

    • avatar
      Ingemar Grahn

      Patriotism is not good tho it’s Leeds to to mutch hatred towards other nationalities and also the Wold is now so small we reeled need to be united

    • avatar

      I agree.

  10. avatar
    Máté János

    Hungarian voters said no both in 2010 and in 2014 to that kind of false liberalism which is advocated by the New World Order Matrix Masters of Mankind and started to follow the white rabbit of common sense patriotism where the Government don?t take IMF loans, sell the country for the lowest bidder and shoot at peaceful protesters (as the left and liberal governments had done for 8 long years between 2002 and 2010) but strenghtens the national human capital, creates more jobs sets higher taxes on international conglomerates and lower on people, and behold it?s working :-). On the other hand there are many ?Agent Smith? on the international payroll who try to persuade the EU citizens that Hungary is dangerous because it?s good to be in debt and on the dole, moreover ?ignorance ? as far as the present cynical, hypocritical and unequal (see the tax cheats of Luxembourg for example) EU model is concerned ? is bliss? :-(? http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/3/39/Smithposter.jpg

  11. avatar

    Orbán has never announced to create a state which replicates the political systems of the mentioned countries. He’s just interested how is it possible that these countries are economically successful today while they aren’t even democracies. Please read the whole sentence:
    “This, Ladies and Gentlemen, is the explanation for the fact that the most popular topic in thinking today is trying to understand how systems that are not Western, not liberal, not liberal democracies and perhaps not even democracies, can nevertheless make their nations successful. The stars of the international analysts today are Singapore, China, India, Russia and Turkey.”

    “We had to state that a democracy does not necessarily have to be liberal. Just because a state is not liberal, it can still be a democracy.”

    Also regarding to “illiberal state” he didn’t mean a state which denies the 19th century fundamentals of liberalism and democracy (like freedom). So he doesn’t want dictatorship. He just wants to remove liberalism as a central ideology of state organization.
    “And so in this sense the new state that we are constructing in Hungary is an illiberal state, a non-liberal state. It does not reject the fundamental principles of liberalism such as freedom, and I could list a few more, but it does not make this ideology the central element of state organisation, but instead includes a different, special, national approach.”

    “We had to state that a democracy does not necessarily have to be liberal. Just because a state is not liberal, it can still be a democracy.”

    The quotations are from the English translation of Orbán’s speech, from the homepage of the Hungarian government: http://www.kormany.hu/en/the-prime-minister/the-prime-minister-s-speeches/prime-minister-viktor-orban-s-speech-at-the-25th-balvanyos-summer-free-university-and-student-camp

    • avatar

      So it is.

  12. avatar
    Jorge Qoqe

    Not failed states of today are that: social-democracies or autoritarisim.

  13. avatar
    Nikolas Kalaitzidis

    Liberalism shares common political values with democracy even if democracy is not a stagenant political system but a political system on the move. We should expect elaboration from the citizens thmeselves in Hungary . Leaders play just a Role they create as individuals. .

  14. avatar
    Rudi Spoljarec

    Liberalism is not a synonym to democracy. Because liberalism is usually accompanied with tendency to exclude conservatism out of the society.Both of it should be a part of the society and compete on free basis through free elections.In any case, free speech must not be harmed.

  15. avatar
    Imre Bártfai

    It failed because it has been not fully developed in Hungary and the new governement started to develop authoritarism instead of mending democracy.

    • avatar

      Do you think the previous gov. was more democratic.
      That is your opinion about democracy???

  16. avatar
    Mathias Darmell

    Thats a stupid question. Democracy isn’t a experiment. Democracy Is threatened by nationalistic forces not saved by it

  17. avatar
    Jason Pi

    No, the EU and the Western central banking debt mafias are about to collapse and take its citizens with them to the grave.

    • avatar
      János Máté

      It’s interesting to hear it from that from a Romanian whose country was so eager to please the Germans that killed cca. 250000 Jews in 1941-1942 (Matatias Carp – The Black Book) by themselves. On the other hand Jewish people in Hungary were safe till the German occupation in 1944 (John Fluornoy Montgomery – Hungary: The Unwilling Satellite) and even after a Hungarian Army Battalion blocked the deportation of the Budapest ghetto saving cca. 250000 Jews. Moreover we never stabbed our allies in the back as Romanians have repeatedly done it both in the I. and the II. World War :-(…

  18. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    making European values the freedoms Democracy sustainable Uungary

  19. avatar
    Aris Georgiadis

    The expirement had to fail because of the south-stream as any other EU goverment that want to serve their own nation insted of US and their compound countries like UK,Germany….

  20. avatar
    Gyoergy Kohut

    Az illiberlis szrnyeteg az krlbell feudlkapitalista dzsentroid
    plyzati alapokon nyugv, rbeszlember-lecktflmondanituds /bullshit/
    mrgezetalma hpiumuvl altat az oligarcha-maharadzsa kaszt
    privilgiumait konzervni segit nihilista bolshevik szrnyeteg, ami a
    npgazdasgot visszatapossa, a FEUDKAPITALISTA DZSENTROIDIZMUSBA.—-
    NEMZETGAZDASGI FORMA A GYGYSZER!!!!!!!!!!!!!  http://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/53577/fareed-zakaria/the-rise-of-illiberal-democracy

  21. avatar
    Dana Voicu

    seriously? are we going to consider the words of a “wanna be putin”.. ??? he is an autocrat trying.. desperately to preserve power.. at all costs for his own benefit.. and against the benefits of his country.. and hungarian people.

    • avatar
      János Máté

      You should look around you at your country first where the majority of the population – including the opresssed Hungarian native minority in Transylvania – has bacome so fed up with you neobolshevik, schauvinistic and EU puppet Romanian political elite that just voted the last remaining Saxon (who were also present in Transyilvania from the XIII. century but were allowed to escape to Germany after the II. World War for hard currency) for President :-(…

  22. avatar

    When you´re in the EU, you´re not a democracy. So following the Turkish model would make Hungary more democratic. He should go further and pull Hungary out of the EU before the IMF/ECB/EC demand that Hungarian tax payers pay a surcharge to fund bonuses for Franco-German bankers.

    No country that doesn´t control its own currency, immigration policy and laws is a democracy. No country that has laws imposed on them by foreign politicians is a democracy.

    • avatar
      Tarquin Farquhar

      Bravo! Well said!

    • avatar

      Or it’s simply no country any more.Bavaria got rules imposed on it bye the king of Prussia,after Germany was created.Basically there wasn’t a country only a state named bavaria.That doens’t say anything about the democratic standarts of the country that imposes the rules on this new state.That’s what counts

  23. avatar
    Mark Adam Harold

    Hungary a “liberal democratic experiment”?
    What are you smoking?
    Can you legalise it and sell me some?
    (answer: probably not in Hungary)

  24. avatar

    Classical liberalism and neoliberalism are not the same. The first is centered to individual true freedom, authentic good will, civic responsibility, Christianism, small (familial) economic initiative in a disperse, equalitarian market and respects national identity and culture (in a good, non-xenophobic way) even if it is cosmopolite. ALDE represents these values nowdays. Neoliberalism is banks/megacorporations centered, globalist (in a bad way), overly-authoritarian, anti-ecological, atheist, “politically-correct” (in a bad way), has no respect for national values and for SMALL entrepreneurs and puts profit above all moral values. For neoliberals (as PPE, with no real, well-defined political and moral doctrine), financial gains and stock market speculations are more important than the real products of the industry that generates those gains, let alone people. Between socialism and neoliberalism, classical liberalism is the way to go.

  25. avatar
    Driton Smakaj

    I live in Hungary since 2006. I just wanted to add that when people are translating something from Hungarian to English, often the translation is misleading on the real sense of meaning what was intended to be said in hungarian language.

    Beside that, in Hungary was very necessary to make these changes that have been made from Orban’s government. It shouldn’t be tolerated that the banks gives credits to poor people with interest rates 35%. Find another EU country that banks are doing so!?
    Liberalism doesn’t mean that the state must stay and see how a big fish is continously eating the small ones.

    Recently there are some actions of government that even the supporters of FIDESZ don’t like, but this remains to leadership of FIDESZ to reflect and change.

    There is no perfect democracy. We must improve it everyday.

  26. avatar

    If you did not know, Hungary is among the first ranked in suicidal rate countries in EU. Don’t ask why, friendly advice.

  27. avatar
    Costi Ciudin

    it failed because the so called transition from communism to democracy lasted so long it actually prevented a fully democratical system to be established and became a political system itself, and the same goes for at least 2 other former communist nations: Romania and Bulgaria, where the issue is not the authoritarian tendencies of the government but the generalized corruption

  28. avatar
    Oli Lau

    Europe as a whole has failed. There is no liberal democracy anymore but merely a technocracy.

  29. avatar
    Carlos Miranda

    One of the most important requirements for any country to join the European Union has always been to have a democratic regime, free elections, freedom of speech, and so on. However once a country is a member state of the European Union there are no rules to restrict anything regarding the regime. Any member state can put in place a dictatorship and EU can’t do anything. Isn’t this odd? I think this would be an interesting subject to debate.

    • avatar
      James Campbell

      EU requirements for democracy in member-states are sadly lacking in the EU institutions themselves.

      As a post-communist country, Hungary needed time for its democratic spirit and practice to revive and flourish. Western European countries helped only by dumping the huge weight of 40 years of acquis communautaire on Hungary, as the price for EU membership.

      Now Orban is throwing his toys out of the pram because he’s fed up of EU meddling and megalomania. Populism in Hungary and elsewhere in Europe is made in Brussels.

  30. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    It is very interesting to see negative comments from people who never lived in Hungary! This is how the mainstream media through the world can influence people by posting lies or half of the truth! The prime minister of Hungary never said that he will build a so called illiberal state, he just criticised some liberal issues in western states and that is a big difference! The most of Hungarian, including myself believed and trusted the western values in 1989, some of my friends even sacrificed their life for it! After 25 years we experience that many of western companies, banks and politicians don’t really want to help us to create a wellbeing state like Sweden, Belgium, UK, they are just interested in high profits and pushing the east Europeans down to the south American economic level! Some of liberal politicians from West even like to sympatize with our post communists leaders as they managed to privatized some of Hungarians banks and assets together! We also watched many corrupt business people and politicians here, who stolen euromillions from privatization, but they could not be prosecuted because we live in “liberal state”! In those circumstances that the ” liberal west” has showed us most of their corruption and unsolidarity it is not miracle that 85percent of Hungarians would not like that kind of “liberalism”!

    • avatar
      James Campbell

      Good post.

  31. avatar
    Kovács Andor

    There was never a real liberal democracy in Hungary so you shouldnt really use it as an example for this question.

  32. avatar
    Ștefan Bădiță

    Yes! And also in Rumania! Hungary is side by side with Russia and in Rumania is not democracy, is anarchism …..

  33. avatar
    Йордан Василев

    The traditions of Eastern Europe are different from Western. The democracy is a product of the Renaissance and the Enlightenment. Before WW1 Hungary had been a part of Austro-Hungarian Empire. Before WW2 Hungary had been managed by the dictator Horty. After this she was a part of the Soviet block. Such are the Hungarian traditions – illibelarism. The Bulgarian traditions are similar. One leader, one party and people nearby him.

  34. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    Some nations in the East Europe has been isolated for very long time . They was creating their own national fantasy based on nationalism , religion and tradition . Countries in west Europe has been very long together and they had a free media . Now by entering EU many people are scared to loose something . That is like when you tell to some religious Croat Catholic that there is no God and all that is just fantasy . People are grown up with something and they accept it so hard that even that fantasy is better than the truth . That is the reason that Putin can keep Russia under control agains West. That is my theory .

  35. avatar
    John Smith

    I just LOVE how the entire west didn’t give a shit when the corrupt and anti-democratic but pro-EU left was in power in Hungary. No one, absolutely no one outside Hungary said a word. Now everyone attacks. Who is monitoring freedom in Poland? In the last years there has been many laws passed to complicate street protests and the government is manipulating the media scene to be its own instrument. Did anyone hear about the leaked tapes where one of our ministers met on a secret lunch and negotiated increased powers to the central bank (which should be apolitical) in exchange for the central bank printing a shit-load of money for the government to use during election year to guarantee it winning the elections? No heard of them? EU-comission isn’t investigating? The prime minister responsible instead got to replace Von Rompuy as chairman of the European Council! The EU and the West in general don’t give a damn about democracy, they only care about eastern countries being subjugated to theirs!

  36. avatar
    John Smith

    If the EU ever cared it should have required lustration laws in all eastern countries before they joined the EU. Instead we have been governed for almost 25 years by corrupted communists that claim that they have become socialists or liberals while they protect the murderers and thieves from 1945-1989. Every eastern country has had its Kuchma (Ukrainian president 94-04 who personally ordered the killing of opposition leaders and independent jurnalists) in power. The west just didn’t care to look closer at the issue since it colud have disturbed business.

  37. avatar
    Andrew Lally

    you could say democracy has failed in Ireland too – we don’t elect a parliament, or at least we don’t elect a parliament with any meaningful powers – 100 years after the third oldest democracy in Europe came into being, Ireland is still struggling to make its governments accountable via the parliament. Ireland is still struggling against corruption. Ireland is still struggling with serious recidivism, 100 counts and you’re not out yet, carry on assaulting.

  38. avatar
    Markus Weber Sjkba

    It doesn’t really matter how a government is elected. If it’s too big, then it’s a problem for society.

  39. avatar
    Erich Scheffl

    Since we joined EU nearly nothing became better. More and more the society is disrupted. Only by the Pressure of money. We need more than only greed. http://www.WWSEEP.com . Welfare system on a cooperative base. With democratic and legal states.

  40. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Dear Costi, it is interesting how you think that you know all about Poland(you saying Poland is doing great compared to other 3), or Hungary. The facts are that you being informed and manipulated by some media, however you never experienced living in Poland or Hungary! You should watch some details as well, such as internet tax was introduced just for multimedia companies and that is the reason why the Hungarian MP is being attacked fiercely by the media groups!

  41. avatar
    Ivan Drvarič

    What.good of liberal democracy if it supported economic.crime, chaos in values, supporting.education for the rich who gained their wealth through manipulation and.crime, supporting.tax oasis and tax avoiding rich.elite classes, supportong corruption, projects of limited secret group intetests, supporting public infrastructure exhaustion, supporting non healthy and.stressfull living concept with expensive poisonn food, supporting exhaustion of urban areas, discrimination of the people for employment ignoring knowledge, experiences, own invested skills but hire employees.according.to nontransparent connections based on.familiraity in political or other non professional aspects.
    Many.wild and almost disgusting manipulations and behaviours with big words but hipocrisy and tricks of how to.transfer the responsibility for the general situation from individuals to some objects in the cloud of liberal democracy where nobody is responsible but system with inertia is slowly in steps differentiating people make them irrelevant incapable and loosing.dignity. values like compassion, solidarity , cohabitance, mutual creativity, open access to education, health, personal growth and development , vision, goals, motivation become only.hollywood show for public popularity media and.virtual commodity .

  42. avatar
    Catalin Rizea

    Hungary had the most aggressive approach to transition. Hungarian companies were privatised very quickly, kicked in and the new market equilibrium was reached. It brought about competition in open markets, and Hungary had to deal with relatively lower prosuctivity, poor innovation and lack of high-margin businesses. The country borrowed aggresively and was heavily exposed to currency fluctuations. Orban is creating the authoritarian order which is expected by the average Viktors.

  43. avatar
    Olivia Sena

    God have mercy, Orban been conspiring with Putin for some time! I hope Hungarian ppl will stop him!

  44. avatar
    Giannis Lainas

    You should stop attacking Hungary.They got a democraticly elected goverment.Enough with the propaganda.

  45. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    There’s not such thing as “liberal” democracy. But anyway the real question is: “Has democracy failed in EU???”

  46. avatar
    Gastone Losio

    The point is that the mnds of the europens must escape from the concept, preconcept of the survival of tha crazy, outdated nationalisms. The sovereign naton states in Europe do not have any further chance today and tomorrow, they must be cancelled.
    THIS IS THE PROJECT: http://www.losio.com#vision
    Even the regions are nets of dirty nationalisms, and they too have to be cancelled.
    The founder of Europe said once: “The question which must be resolved first failing which progress is but mere appearance, is definitive abolition of division of Europe into national, sovereign States.”
    “Nothing to say on the reform of the Constitution. But I’m not favourable to the regions, to federalism. I’m a big supporter of local government, but not of the regional one. That’s only a way to find “places for the boys”. works for bureaucrats and officials. I’m opposed to federalism also for Scotland, which is also a nation, and if we look at the Spanish regionalism, we see that’s an unhappy story. ..”

    • avatar
      James Campbell

      This is a recipe for violence. The peoples of most European countries place their primary political loyalty in the nation state. Of course, you can seek to persuade them otherwise in a democratic fashion. The EU on the other hand has no respect for the legitimacy of nation states.

  47. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    The european distortion of the word liberal the last decades (on contrary with the american meaning which is the correct), is the most undemocratic form of cruel capitalism and the underdevelopment of civilization!!!
    In fact the correct word is neoliberal, or even better… monetarist!
    It’s ridiculous and sad to present it as democracy!!!

  48. avatar
    John Smith

    Gastone, we will fight to our last drop of blood. Your ideas would most likely cause a ww3 situation in Europe..,

  49. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Dear Olivia Sena! Your concern is tottaly false and is clearly seen how your mentality became manipulated under the 40 years dictatorship rule of Ceausescu! Firstly Orbn is democratically elected MP, who never talked about any agressivity or war for the 1.5million Hungarians in Transylvania, he only mentioned the autonomy concern which are valid in E.U. For regions of south Tirol, Scotland or Katalonia! Secondly the revolution against your Ceausescu was started by a Hungarian protestant priest in Transylvania, one “nomad Hungarian” how you call us..:-)

  50. avatar
    Ioanna Geor

    Define liberal democracy. Then ask. Whose liberal and whose democracy? Because it’s diferrent for citizens and politicians

  51. avatar
    Paul Moldovan

    It is not important if the liberal experiment succeeded or not in Hungary. The most important is that Hungary is not anymore a free country. Hungary is under Russia, under Putin. Putin seems to be using Hungary as a troyan horse inside the U.E.

  52. avatar
    Jaume Roqueta

    Liberal democracy is an utopy, it dont exists… what we have today is nothing to do with liberalism (anarchism)… but more related to modern forms of feudalism.

  53. avatar
    John Smith

    Romania and Hungary need to overcome their differences, just like Ukraine and Poland need to overcome theirs. Without these two changes central-Eastern Europe will never be able to withstand the western (German/Eu) or eastern (russian) pressure. Let’s get our region sorted out!

  54. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    How can we sort out John Smith?! We had 3.8 million Huns in Transylvania(west region of Romania) only 40 years ago! Now we have only 1.4 million because Romanian government takes every opportunity to humiliate them, so they running away from the country! The Romanians should talk about the 250.000 Jews and 500.000 German saxons as well who were forced to live Romania in the last 40 years because of humiliation! They should concentrate about their wide spread corruption and child poverty before they looking into others mistakes! I guess their huge psychological complex is that the Romanian dictatorship was collapsed with the revolutionary start of our Hungarian priest in Timisoara! If Mr. T?kes Lszl wasn’t there they might still live with same prospectives now as Ukraine!

  55. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    making european values of democratic social sustainable liberal Hungary

  56. avatar
    Marissa Wyant

    If the EU wants to maintain influence in the region, it will have to provide further assistance for these states who went through the transition from communism to liberalism. These are the poorest and least stable states in Europe, and giving them loose benchmarks via acquis with little to no REAL support is not going to keep them on track. Just because a state becomes a member of the EU does not mean it is automatically on pr with other EU states economically, democratically, or with regard to stability. If the EU wants to succeed in keeping liberalism the goal in the post-Soviet space and at keeping Russia at bay, it will have to be more attractive than Russia. This means more money and more actual action, not just lip service.

    • avatar
      James Campbell

      I agree but the EU believes that the solution is a united states of Europe. Why should an institution based on the belief that nation states need to fuse into a United States of Europe support the structures of weaker nation states? There is no mechanism I know of to facilitate such support.

  57. avatar
    Parászka Máté

    I think this Viktor guy has no clue what is he talking about as generaly, he do everything for some atention.But the sad part of the story is that since he is on power there is a massive propaganda against all the other political views, so if after him the most of the people votes on the right, the fascist will come to power and thats gonna be a very dark era not only for hungary, but for the reagon.And because of the new election system is very difficult to change this better.The left is dead.My only hope is that to much nationalist brainwash will make people to say that ok it’s enough, let’s do something else.

  58. avatar
    Davide Zoran Parenti

    Not compatible! But the arouse of this illiberal but popular (and populist) movements is a direct consequence of EU wrong policies and acts… EU must be a lot more democratic and closer to the social matters instead of being so much closer to the US idea of (strictly capitalistic) state, so close to the economic interests of big private companies and banks. For example, stop TTIP! Or, at least, stop to negotiate TTIP secretly!

  59. avatar
    Máté Foki

    He is an idiot and 10% of our people supporting him. This means he has 1 million loyal followers. The problem is that the other 90% doesnt want to go vote. Most of them are disappointed from the left side thanks to Viktor’s propagand machine.

  60. avatar
    Jaroslaw Wanczewski

    there is a lot to learn fron orban..how he treat banks 9provide taxes for them, take care there is more hungarian business not foreign one only),very good known in poland as well swiss frank loans what cause huge problem, what orban did forced banks to keep the same value swiss frank bank loans like it was in time of signing contract.

  61. avatar
    Jaroslaw Wanczewski

    there are few important changes implemented by orban in HUN. first elimination private retirement funds (huge profits go to non hungarian firms) 2.tax banks 3. higher taxes for rich and huge companies in meantime decrease taxes for lower,middle size firms 4. forcing banks change foreign currency loans to forint in reasonable value for hungarian heand klaus are showing how middle europe should take care own business

  62. avatar
    Mirko Celii

    Ah ah ah and what about EU technocracy compatible with democracy?
    Seriosly here people need some of the intensive care….

  63. avatar
    Lee Lovelock

    The key to the bias within the Frgn (question) is the byword ‘liberal’. Lose that and that Frgn mge stand rightly.

  64. avatar
    Rudi Špoljarec

    Strange , in July , they want to pronounce ” new state” . How come ? They have the rise of gnp for 4 % allready , why should they pronounce different “state” . Looks like political game or nonsense

  65. avatar
    Mathias Darmell

    Liberal democracy has proven to be the most sustainable system in the world. Therefore democracy isn’t a experiment. When it comes to Hungary, true liberal democracy was never fully implemented

  66. avatar

    The truth is just known and understood by the people of the former communist countries, because they compare their lives in our days with the lives they had before the iron curten fell…and unfortunately, many consider that it was better before.
    – Why? Because the unemployment was not existing, schools were for free, apartments for free when the couples got married, medical etc. for free.
    The system was very well structured and the education was very important. But the freedom of travel in West and freedom of speach was very limited and owner of properties as well.
    Comparing with our days lives, there is a big difference olso negative in many ways, as such: the focus is a lot on profit and money, you do not have job stability, plenty of corruption and use of influence, instability and insecurity are dominant. To buy apartments is so expensive and uncertain that better forget about it…the payments for student life gets higher and higher. Just those who have a lot of money have a good life, there is plenty of speech, but unfortunately is used more for all kind of scandals and untruth. The food is getting more and more sintetic and expensive, the living cost is very expensive, you need at least 2 salaries in the house, unemployment payment and timing is more a joke, etc.

    – Who to blame for all these changes???

    EU had not accepted easily these countires and the helped came quite in late and the poor eastern countries needs to pay anually lots of money as fees to EU without being sured they can get any back through fundings. To get in debt is incouraged by EU, that’s the reasons why some of the EU member countries have too much debt…
    The eastern counties do not have a good structured social system yet and that means lots of money involved in it. – Who to pay for it?

    When it is about Hungary in particular, I think that they follow their historical tradition, they always pled for good relationships with the most powerful countries in the regions and in their consideration now Russia is one of them.
    They have just to win after such collaborations. They have already good relationship with the West, all is needed is to keep that one with Russia which is quite a difficult task now.
    – The conclusion…?? They act for their own interests!!
    – Should EU tolerate such betrail?

    I think NOT, because EU is in the total opposition of Russian system and understandings…and Russia has not yet a democrasy, they are under comunism dictature, so the EU member countries should not have close ties with Russia at this point.

  67. avatar
    Christos Saroglou

    The question isn’t if this illiberal state is compatible with EU, which obviously is not, but what made the Hungarians to turn into such form of government. Obviously they turn their back to EU and give a glance to Russia. The Russian danger becomes more threatening because of the stiffness of the Brussels and the austerity imposed from Berlin.

  68. avatar
    Malcolm Seychell

    The article should read. Is hungary the only democratic state which opposes the dictatorship of brussels

  69. avatar
    Ed Cocks

    Country’s so committed to corruption will never survive whether as democracies, monarchies or totalitarians.

  70. avatar
    Su La

    All Central Europe countries are same.. so why you blame only Hungary :)

  71. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    I am Hungarian and I am happy and content that our PM, V. Orbn wasn’t doing all what the E.U. Banks and IMF wanted from the government in 2010! If he would have done all those expected monetary and political steps, we would now be in much worse situation than Greece! In 2008 our debts towards IMF was 85percent of GDP and thex wanted total austerity above Hungary! Orban P.M., his government stopped that, payed off the IMF and introduced high taxes on banks and multinationals present in Budapest! That’s why he is attacked nonstop from the mainstream media, as he was the first in E.U. who started different approach to handle country’s debts towards world’s banks!

  72. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Paraszka Mate, if you live in Kosovo and you’re Romanian, please don’t talk in the name of Hungarians! As well as don’t talk lies, because in Hungary everybody knows that Viktor Orbn was the only political leader in 1989 who had the balls to criticise the communist leaders and the Russian army which was present in Hungary that time with 20.000 troops! He was a 26 year old student that time and became a great political leader changing down the Hungarian post communists in 1998!

  73. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    In fact the biggest problem and popularity loss of E.U. in east European countries is the fact that THE LIBERAL AND SOCIALIST PARTIES FROM E.U. BACKING UP AND SPONSORING THE POSTCOMMUNIST PARTIES OF EAST EUROPEAN COUNTRIES! This is a huge problem as citizens of Poland, Czech, Hungary, Bulgaria etc. are fed up with those who have been the biggest communist leaders and now enjoying the western European support for the corrupt profit and big time stealing of so called “privatization”

  74. avatar
    Ivan Drvarič

    Seems people of.Hungary try to tell us.something when gives space for such experiments intermix of various concepts and on the edge of democracy. Seems when.being unable to answer on recession, taking care for own health, being unable to provide education, provide working pjobs with added.value to maintain local communities,,being unable to answer on desintegration of communities and families ..makes people opened for various experiments and hope for some order and more equal society.

  75. avatar
    Guillermo Passas

    I totally agree with Cecilia Wikstrom MEP, but it is true that there shall be mechanisms to strenghten the Rule of Law in those countries where there is a lack of it, and there are regrettably not. I disagree with the term “experiment” regarding to liberal democracy in Hungary, since we are talking about a Member State, which has passed two levels of Constituency.

  76. avatar
    Daniel Dimitrov

    Hungary never experienced the communist rule in it’s raw form like Romania and Bulgaria, not the accession to EU where it joint only the benefits and discarded all the responsibilities. Compare financials with Greece. You will be amazed.

  77. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    OHungarian P.M. Viktor Orbn abd his Young Democrat party was reelected for the 3-Rd time by Hungarian people in 2014 with the majority of 72 percent! After the postcommunist socialist party put Hungary under the austerity of Trojka like in Greece, so it was very difficult to come out from that situation, but he managed.

  78. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    The so called ” illiberal democracy” which he mentioned in a speech, for east Europeans it means stopping the corrupted politicians and institutions to steal under the flag of “liberal privatisation”! What the people of France or Italy, U. K., Germany would say if their state owned gas, electrical, post offices would be sold for peanuts under the flag of “liberal pricatization”?!

  79. avatar
    Costi Ciudin

    it isn’t the liberal democracy that failed in some eastern european countries, it is the transition from totalitarianism to democracy that ended up in failure

  80. avatar
    Eva Benko Zoltan

    There appeared a class of new rich and a lot of theves and the majority of the people live wose than before.At least they ate , now they don’t.

  81. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    From control from Moscow to control from Brussels, only the colour of the flag as changed.

  82. avatar
    Catalin Durlă

    Yes, Orban would be the next Erdogan if he had the chance. And Erdogan more like Putin. Their path is clear

  83. avatar
    George Titkov

    And why is liberal democracy the best thing that has happened to mankind since vanilla ice cream?

  84. avatar
    Suncica Cvitkovic Anderson

    It is a shame that EU politician allowed ex communists and criminals from secret communist services, to try to kill democracy, under the name social democracy! Instead of working with local patriots, conservatives, democratic parties, Church, you destroyed young democracies all over Eastern Europe, and specially in Hungary. You have done that in Croatia too! You send us your criminals and the worst political garbage to pick future politician and you picked the worst commie garbage! They slaved you, until they were BACK in old positions! Today they are on Russian side!

  85. avatar
    Suncica Cvitkovic Anderson

    What was the name of that “socialist” and left politician in Hungary that destroyed economy and was recorded as he was telling how he lied to Hungarians? That was your lefty darling, right EU politicians?

  86. avatar
    Vári László

    Orban failed. This is a fact. The problem is only that there is nothing after him. Why? Because orban is only a part of the problem. The other parties, and politician are the other parts. And how could it be changed? It will be changed, when the system of the EU will change! No capitalism, no parties, and the sovereignity belongs to individuals, there is basic income, natural resources does not belong to a nation, rather they are a joint wealth etc……. In other world orban is only a phenomenon of a european/global problem, thus the solution should come from that way.

  87. avatar
    Wén Zé

    Unfortunately I do not see anything resembling liberal democracy in Hungary

  88. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Dacii Sunt Stramosii Mei, you’re a huge former communist liar! Your Romania would have never got out from the communist Ceausescu dictatorship if the friend of P.M.Orban would not have started the revolution in Timisoara 1989! Orban himself has started the revolt as a law student against Russians in 1988, but the E.U. Commissioners backing up the former communist leaders in Hungary. I WOULD SAY THE DEMOCRACY FAILED SOMEWHERE IN E.U. BUROCRACY IF THEY’RE ATTACKING ORBN BECAUSE OF HIS TAXES ON BANKS AND REVOLT AGAINST I.M.F.! THAT IS WHY YOU PREFER THE FORMER COMMUNISTS THROUGHOUT EAST EUROPE BECAUSE THEY EXECUTE YOUR ORDERS AGAINST THEIR NATIONS WITHOUT QUESTIONING YOU- I’M SORRY BUT THAT ISN’T DEMOCRACY…

  89. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    Dacii Sunt Stramosii Mei, you’re a huge former communist liar! Your Romania would have never got out from the communist Ceausescu dictatorship if the friend of P.M.Orban would not have started the revolution in Timisoara 1989! Orban himself has started the revolt as a law student against Russians in 1988, but the E.U. Commissioners backing up the former communist leaders in Hungary. I WOULD SAY THE DEMOCRACY FAILED SOMEWHERE IN E.U. BUROCRACY IF THEY’RE ATTACKING ORBN BECAUSE OF HIS TAXES ON BANKS AND REVOLT AGAINST I.M.F.! THAT IS WHY YOU PREFER THE FORMER COMMUNISTS THROUGHOUT EAST EUROPE BECAUSE THEY EXECUTE YOUR ORDERS AGAINST THEIR NATIONS WITHOUT QUESTIONING YOU- I’M SORRY BUT THAT ISN’T DEMOCRACY…

  90. avatar
    Laurinda Seabra

    until we have truly representativeness in all 28 countries within the EU backed by regular referendums … there is no real democracy, what exists is a bunch of plutocrats answering to a minority made up of elite individuals, bankers and big corps. That in no true democracy.

  91. avatar
    Laurinda Seabra

    until we have truly representativeness in all 28 countries within the EU backed by regular referendums … there is no real democracy, what exists is a bunch of plutocrats answering to a minority made up of elite individuals, bankers and big corps. That in no true democracy.

  92. avatar
    Daniele Laganà

    I have friends in Hungary who are enthusiast of Orban and he has recently won the election conquering the 44% with the only Fidesz-KDNP. I think that his attention to some people problems and his critics against some EU problems have convinced the EU to formulate these accusations to defame him. ;)

  93. avatar
    Emmanuel Rodary

    The first question was “Are Hungary’s plans to create a new “illiberal state” compatible with EU membership”?

    This question seems strange: It is not compatible with today’s rules.
    But who can modify the rules if it is not members of European Council (government leaders or state leaders) ?
    The question is not to know if it is compatible with today’s rules: It is not.
    The question is to know if Orbán wants to exits Hungary from EU or find an agreement to change rules and make it compatible with his idea.
    It seems Orbán didn’t act in one of this two directions.

  94. avatar
    Nikolaos Sotirelis

    Ultra Nationalists at: Belgium 30%, Denmark 27%, France 25%, Austria 22%, Finland 15%, Holland 15% etc
    It looks like that democracy all over Northern Europe, suffers from heavy infection! “Something is rotten in the State of Denmark”!!!

  95. avatar
    eusebio manuel vestias pecurto

    together become European values of liberal and democratic social classics sustainable seriously

  96. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    I think the biggest problem is that some percentage of people don’t like to have contact with other nations. They had national borders before and now when you example let Syrians to enter the EU they turn mad . I think that is for the most big problem with old people , they don’t like to have person from other village to enter their village .

  97. avatar
    Rui Duarte

    Hungary never experimented «liberal democracy». The ultra-liberal régimes of the post-Thatcher era are NOT liberal democracies. Flat income tax rates, derregulated finance, increasing inequality, complete disregard for high unemployment rates.. that’s NOT «liberal democracy».

  98. avatar
    Imre Bártfai

    Ex-soviet might be not a good word. Rather ex-state socialist. And yes, it failed. Will others follow our example? No one knows, this is a matter of future policy. Practically the democracy in Eastern and Southern Europe was never truly working.

  99. avatar
    Nikolas Kalaetzidis

    Is it a question on geopolitics??? Otherwise who ‘d give a damned penny about the ideology of a well based parliamentary democracy? parliamentary elections every other 3-4 years. party elections every year referendums, sociopolitical statistics every day… Market uniformity may imply other priorities. However, letting societies mature, is a secure product to invest on the long term.

  100. avatar
    Nikolas Kalaetzidis

    Is it a question on geopolitics??? Otherwise who ‘d give a damned penny about the ideology of a well based parliamentary democracy? parliamentary elections every other 3-4 years. party elections every year referendums, sociopolitical statistics every day… Market uniformity may imply other priorities. However, letting societies mature, is a secure product to invest on the long term.

  101. avatar
    Stelios Peppas

    Seems that the experiment of liberal democracy has failed everywhere not only in the post communistic countries…

  102. avatar
    Γιώργος Κοτλίδας

    liberal democracy is just a mere shadow of what it once was…banks and financial institutions have found loopholes given by economic liberalism,so that in the present they are the dominant political influencer in the western world…democracy needs radical changes on every front,so it can once again serve the whole of the population,than being just a puppet…our generation has to work on that…

  103. avatar
    Péter Sebők

    unfortunately yes, Hungary is no more democratic…as the constitution does not ensures first generation human rights.

  104. avatar
    Máté János

    The New World Order Matrix project “liberal democracy” has failed everywhere Hungary just frankly stated the truth…

  105. avatar
    Olivier Dutreil

    WHY ONLY SOCIALIST parties are supposed to be democratic and not the right ones . IF THEY ARE NOT DEMIOCRATIC THEN BAN THEM IF THEY are then let them represent the people

  106. avatar
    Bart Van Damme

    What democratic insitutions? In a democracy, as the word implies, the people are in power. Name one country in the EU where this is the case.

  107. avatar
    Dóris Cavalcanti

    Since politicians have misused and abused democracy to keep their power, Europe in general in a turn point and never will be the same again, to keep order and control, democracy will be only memory very soon. Wait and see.

  108. avatar
    Tomasz Mazurek


  109. avatar
    Tamás Kovács

    It looks like an imitated democracy.. the balance is definitely broken. But it is not only the government fault, other problem, there is nobody really want to listen to citizens, what issues make them scared.. Years ago, the politicians could lead the nation they were governing.. now it more looks like the nation lead the government.. as it broke the balance.. and leaded the country in a huge mess.. the left is finished up in Hungary.. and so far everything they are doing just pushing them down even more.. They have lost the connection to nation, FIDESZ use this out.. and it also miss lead the nation but when everyone is disappointed it is not so hard.. as most of the people now just no interested in politics any more.. It is very good for Jobbik.. less people take a part in election that makes them stronger..

  110. avatar
    Sebastien Chopin

    Hungary, Poland and Denmark and anyone thinking like them should be suspended for a year from the EU and not given access to the markets during that period and there people should be prevented from going on holiday outside their respective countries… .. until they get it acceptably right…

  111. avatar
    Vicente Silva Tavares

    Is European Union – EU democratic? Has the European Parliament the full legislative power? Is the European Commission elected? And several other institutions imposing rules on European States elected? Or is a directory leaded by Germany?

  112. avatar
    Ivan Burrows


    There was a time that terms like ‘xenophobic’, ‘populist’ & Nationalist’ were used as an insult by the pro EU press & Brussels and its supporters.

    The peoples of the EU now see the labels as a mark of reliance, trust & truth.

    The EU fanatics have already lost the argument, the only thing left is the dismantling of Schengen and then of the antidemocratic EU. It will not be missed.

  113. avatar
    András Hrahovina

    Europe, and the European values are existing only in Poland, Hungary, Czech Republic, and maybe in Slovakia today. EU and Brussels’ Mamluks are not liberals and not democrats.

  114. avatar
    Dimitris Kasapakis

    Debating Europe should ask the same question for the entire of Europe. Its not Hungary, its this EU that encourages turning away from democracy.

  115. avatar
    Ferenc Lázár

    The liberals of Brussels like to attack Hungary, because premier Viktor Orban was the firstafter global recession in 2010, who taxed the banks and big corporations in all Europe Union! Since than other countries like Slovakia, Poland, Spain, Italy etc. followed the way…it just shows that liberals and socialists of Europe are not for the citizens, they are bought up by big corporations interests! All socialist parties of Europe should think again their politics- are they really up for the middle class citizens or they became the political power of corporations?!

  116. avatar
    José Agustín González

    Democratic Institutions are being eroded in Hungary and in many other countries worldwide. Democracy is being manipulated by unethical people.

  117. avatar
    Gergo Toth

    The PM of Hungary is buliding and an illiberal state or if you like converting the system into a dictatorship STEP by STEP, people should recognize and realize what is happening!

  118. avatar
    Antal Szabados

    Norberta, According to me , no problems with democratic institutions in Hungary! Let see freedom of word: German newspapers 4 days even did not mentioned, what has happened on the New Year’s eve in Cologne! They dislike Orban, because he was right in ALL question regarding moslim migration!

  119. avatar
    Jánosné Fekete

    Sokszor úgy érzem,Orbán Viktor Magyarország miniszterenöke nagyon egyedül van a Magyarország megvédésében!Ilyenkor az emberek összefognak delektöbben most saját magukkal foglalkoznak!Nincs Hazaszeretet! Igy elveszik a Haza!Gondolgozanak!!!

  120. avatar
    Yordan Vasilev

    The democracy has no alternative for me, but soon or last it will go to the end. What will we do after this?

  121. avatar
    Wilhelm Unrau

    and the biggger problem: many hungarian people don’t know, what it is democracy, as you see here in the comments

  122. avatar
    Jónás Péter

    Dear Wilhelm! We live in Hungary, you’re just a liar television and newspapers know Hungary!

  123. avatar
    Enric Mestres Girbal

    When “democracy” is a partitocracy like the EU one is, all movements in behalf of one’s own country should be acepted. Hungary, Poland, Britain…Wish more countries would react against Brussels (or Merkel) dictatorship..

  124. avatar
    Stephen J Gorog

    No, democratic institutions are being eroded by EU leaders in western Europe. The people of Germany and Austria have lost freedom of speech! Eu leaders are no longer representing the people of Europe.

  125. avatar
    Stephen J Gorog

    No, democratic institutions are being eroded by EU leaders in western Europe. The people of Germany and Austria have lost freedom of speech! Eu leaders are no longer representing the people of Europe.

  126. avatar
    Oliver Leicher

    look at that title – they have the nerve to say this outloud in the face of the obvious which is that democracy has ceased to exist in western Europe being replaced by western liberal dictatorship. They tell people what to do, what to believe in, manipulate, censor the press, and worst of all demonize those who think differently and have the courage to say it outloud.

  127. avatar
    Ferenc Barna

    eROzió, ROzsda, ROthadás, tORzulás, zORdulás ……………nem érdekesek ezek a szavak ????

  128. avatar
    Juliska Clivia

    The liberals of the hurt that 66% of people can not replace Viktor Orban választotta.Igy. Therefore vile media attacks trying to weaken the government’s work. They attacked everywhere in politics, government regulations, laws, and reputation. Aa foreign undermine people’s eyes Hungary to the European Union segitségével.Sajnos the press on Hungary only look bad hazámat.Mert I have indicated in my country. !!!!! 1000 years of our state van.A Catholic idea alapján.Miért idea to attack when the majority of people that happens is good. It’s not a liberal when the majority will win ???? Hungary was the one who attacked liberalism attacks. It does not pay to read the articles in the liberal papers, but also to be informed on the spot !!!!! Today, our library there that everyone wants to live in Hungary, because there is no migration here. Germany is ….! You see Cologne,, etc ….

  129. avatar
    János Bednárik

    I’m very sad to read more of these comments. I agree, foreign people can just read about what is happening in Hungary but I do see. I don’t talk now about how the government is dealing with the EU. Just how they are dealing with their own nation. And it is terrible. This can be the answer to foreign people about the democracy in Hungary. If the government would be one of the bests in EU, this country would be a sample of freedom and democracy. But look around please in the hospitals, schools and see how many people leaves the country.

  130. avatar
    Vinko Rajic

    YES , in Croatia , Hungary , Germany and Poland . Croatia is not democracy , they had elections but it was bluff . German elections are financed with church spiders like those in Croatia and Poland .

  131. avatar
    Jimi Sowa

    Democracy is most stupid system ever known in universe. I’m waiting for the day when Kingdom age is coming back. The age of stupid, bloody and disgraced democracies age should pass away.

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