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Europe dies in Hungary
by Thanos Kalamidas
2015-09-20 11:05:45
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The European Union born from the ashes of the WWII. It was a declaration of never again, never again in this continent. Europe through millennia saw the birth of democracy, philosophy, art and culture. The same time the same continent saw millions of deaths, endless rivers of innocents’ blood. But it had to end. And it had to end with one action that would unite all the European nations.

This exactly were the foundations of the Union lay. The European Union had to end millennia of pain not with materialistic excuses that would postpone events as experiences had already shown, but with principals and idealism. With ethics that would reach everybody beyond policies, colour or believes. The European Union’ fundamentals are democracy, culture, tolerance and diversity. The common market was just the side excuse and a reference not a prime principal.

The weight of the WWII was unbelievable for the Europeans – monstrous and inhuman crimes happened in this continent - and if they wanted to forget and forgive these four principals was the only way. Also the only way to succeed was the fact that should do it all together, united. And this is the European Union. A Union that had its own martyrs in the years to come after the WWII. But never had victims.

The European Union for decades gave settler to the defenceless and the needed. The European Union became the preferable mediator in conflicts and the neutral ground to negotiate peace. Brussels, The Hague, Strasburg, Vienna, Paris and many other European cities have seen their names accompany international treaties to protect and guarantee global peace, to guard human rights and secure justice.

The European union for decades have been the place where persecuted and hunted have found settler despite their own believes. Even when the Union opposed them in the name of democracy always gave them protection. Ayatollah Khomeini the simplest example. But there were many many others, from famous stars like Nina Simone who wanted to escape the never ending discrimination and racism to the anonymous Chileans who were running from Pinochet. Europe was always there. Even the European embassies abroad where always the place to find settler and protection.

The union was not perfect. Far from perfect but at least they were trying and they had the vast support of the European people who wanted this common dream to come true. Never in history had a union enjoyed so much acceptance from its citizens as the European Union did during 1980s and 1990s.

But the beginning of the 21st century also marked the beginning of the end of the dream. The excuse, the reference, became a principal leaving aside democracy, culture, tolerance and diversity. To strengthen a currency that was NOT ready for the market, based only in marketers and bankers wishful thoughts, the leadership of the European Union misrepresenting its citizens and despite all objections opened the doors in 10 new nations, fast promoting them full members without fulfilling the criteria of the Union.

hung01_400_02Hungary should have not become an EU full member in 2004. Neither Estonia, not Lithuania, Latvia, Poland nor Slovenia. Out of the ten that entered that year EU, perhaps (emphasis on the perhaps) the only ready ones were Malta, Cyprus, the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Especially Hungary and Poland had and obviously still have not the criteria to make full members in a Union that champion democracy, culture, tolerance and diversity.

The reasons that led these countries into full EU membership are three. Military, political agendas and greed.

Military because the west (and I mainly mean USA) wanted desperately to take them away – especially Poland and Hungary - from the Russian influence without paying the cost and EU was the obvious perfect and practical solution.

Political agenda because the cold war was not never over and the western pact had to show that it is stronger. And the best way was turned allies.

And greed because the European leadership saw 38 million Polish and 10 million Hungarians willing to adopt the new currency. In months a continent of 380 million consumers became a market power of 460 million consumers.

Poland and Hungary had just come out of the chains the Warsaw pact had enforce on them and they turned to the other side. Corruption, discrimination, racism, hate were their reality and I’m afraid nothing has much changed. The Roma were the first victims in both countries with Africans and people with Russian background soon to follow. Then it was just anybody who was not American or western enough to their stereotypes or better their racism. Greeks were not good enough and Italians not liked, French are cowards and Spaniards greasy. On top of that came the invasion to Iraq to boost their arrogance with the American defence minister, Donald Rumsfeld calling them “new Europe” in contrast with the “old” tired, coward, useless Europeans. An intentional insult to the European skeptism into the invasion to Iraq.

What we see today in Hungary is neither new nor a surprise for anybody who follows this country the last twenty years. What we see today is a corrupted, racist country turning into a fascist bully under the protection of the EU when it should have NEVER be a member of the European Union before it is ready. And ready would mean years’ process and not an overnight political decision for the domination of a currency.

hung02_400Hungary’s refugee inhuman behaviour is just the peak of the iceberg. The last ten years – while full member of the EU – Hungary has violated every single principal the European Union is standing for. Free elections, freedom of speech, freedom of press, violation of human rights, discrimination among her citizens, racism, imprisonment for political reasons and the list goes on and on. Actually Hungary makes Turkey look like innocent bystander and no excuse why they shouldn’t be full EU members.

Poland is coming second but not far behind with the rest following and proving that EU should have never be their alibi for their violations. But still is. For Hungary as well. And not only has that, the powers an EU membership gives to a bully like Hungary become a weapon to threaten neighbours like Croatia. Supposedly allies and partners in the same Union.

The European Union has too many open wounds this moment, from the Euro crisis that obviously expands in the North with the Finnish boat trembling dangerously to the refugee crisis that is definitely not ready to face even though it is unveiling every hour in the south. All these wounds constitute the lack of ideological principals that led the Union in its beginnings and instead of a never again I’m afraid we see, here it comes …again!

The refugee crisis was a chance for all of us including the European Commission and the European leadership to realise that there is something seriously wrong in this union. They had already seen it with the euro-crisis but now they cannot cover it or avoid it no matter what.

The need to return to the four fundamental principles - democracy, culture, tolerance and diversity – is urgent and if nothing happens here and now I’m afraid we are going to see Europe dying in the fence Hungary has risen for the refugees.


Note 1: In the past EU has taken special measures against a xenophobic Austrian government that governed for a brief time. Perhaps EU should do the same now with Hungary or take the measures one step further, putting Hungary in a penalty box without full membership privileges, until the criteria have been fulfilled.

Note 2: The temporary stop of the Schengen treaty from the German government shows how fragile is everything in EU at the moment and how even the country that supposedly guards the application of the EU laws violates them, even temporarily.

Note 3: When Hungary said that Greece is obliged to guard her boarders better and stop the boats with the refugees we all thought, well Nazi talking. But when Germany said the same we all felt uncomfortable. What they really mean? That Greece should start shooting those one-way nearly sunk boats so Finland will not get more 1,500 refugees a year when Greece receiving the same amount every few hours. Should put them in another boat and send them back to ISIS or Assad to be slaughter so some Europeans will not lose their sleep? What exactly Chancellor Merkel meant? Or do we need to remind her that she was East German and hoping one day to escape to the west? Always illegally?

Note 4: while a lot of people in all Europe have welcomed the refugees and helped in many ways there is an amount, a serious amount of people who have shown that the dark ages haven’t end in Europe. And it is our obligation to do something because in the end they are going to identify all of us with their despicable actions.

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Emanuel Paparella2015-09-20 13:47:29
Indeed Thanos, the above is quite an insightful geo-political analysis. Obviously the center does not hold… things fall apart…We are witnessing those centrifugal forces as we speak, or better as we write, given that in the end we have no political power and the pen is our only weapon. To its credit, Ovi magazine has already dedicated dozens of article to the horrendous refugee crisis. One hopes that that there are ears to hear; for the pen can be a powerful weapon in its own way.

The EU founding fathers, who left plenty of documents spelling out their principles and ideals, must be turning in their grave as they witness the betrayal of their cherished principles. And yet those principles, as written and as enunciated in the above piece and as voluminously spelled out by the likes of Eidenauer, Schuman, Monet, De Gasperi, Spinelli, are still there waiting to be rediscovered and implemented anew. The forthcoming meetings of the Symposium will attempt an in depth exploration of those principles and ideals. The return to origins is always a sine qua non before a new bold beginning, but not a return to the Dark Ages; although even in the Dark Ages nobody hypocritically pretended to be living in the age of Enlightenment and solidarity. Now we have a whole country (Hungary) which is a member of the EU but that sort of participation is a charade, if truth be told; the participation has no commitment to the ideals of the EU as it has become obvious from the press interviews conducted here with the Hungarian ambassador to the US; the commitment is only on paper and not in practice and for less than ideal reasons.

The spirit of the EU is betrayed when its principles are egregiously violated. Then the union does not hold and things begin to fall apart. Am afraid that this refugee crisis will be the litmus test for the viability of an idealistic political polity such as the EU. Will Machiavelli return on center stage? I am afraid that letting the managers, bankers and greedy entrepreneurs take over the destiny of the polity was a great mistake that needs to be urgently corrected; I am afraid that the question of the unity of the West falling apart, the question What does it mean to be a “Westerner and a European,” the question, that is, of cultural identity, needs to be explored anew so that the cart is not put before the horse; the question “What is the EU” is a secondary one. I am also afraid that the Trojan horses which are the proliferating neo-fascist parties all over the EU are biding their time for the appropriate moment to strike and subvert the EU.

Since heroes and wise men are presently lacking, I am afraid too that all we are left with are politicians with their miserable utilitarian goals. But the ideals of the visionary founding fathers remain, shining as the sun in the sky, and they will either save us or condemn us. All we need to do is read their principle, ponder their vision and commit ourselves to it.

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