How to turn a country into a corrupt autocracy – the Orbán way.

Spoiler: Hungary have benefitted enormously by joining the EU. Joining the EU meant that Hungarians were guaranteed civil rights that were unthinkable when Hungary was a communist country. The EU membership also meant that living standards increased to levels far higher than before. Hungary has also received more of EU funding than average of the ten countries that joined the EU in 2010. Despite this, Orbán has since he became prime minister, again 2010, set out on a path violating Hungarians’ civil rights, freedom of the press and rule of law. These are steps towards a more autocratic and corrupt society where elites are free to enrich themselves.

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The corona virus and democracy

Spoiler: The number of democracies has fallen during the last decade. For the first time since 2002, there are now more autocracies than democracies in the world. The EU now has its first autocracy, Hungary.

The Polish government is following close in the path to autocracy. The governments in Hungary and Poland have systematically attacked the media’s and judiciary’s independence the last years. Without an independent media and judiciary, the regimes’ next step on the road to autocracy is to manipulate the elections.

The corona virus has made it necessary to implement measures restricting the freedom om movement and assembly. While these are justifiable measures which will be revoked in most countries, the Hungarian government wants to use the state of emergency powers in ways that violate civil rights also after the Corona crisis is over.

These developments are deeply worrying. Russia under Putin provides a horrifying example of how autocratic leaders abuse their powers at the expense of human rights.

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Why the EU really matters

Spoilers. The EU is a success with the perhaps most obvious example being the Single Market which has led to increasing living standards in the EU. But the most important reason for people from the Baltics and Eastern European Countries to join the EU were the EU values of respect for freedom, democracy and human rights. But the EU is not perfect. Once inside the EU, governments with autocratic ambitions as Orban’s Hungary can demount their citizens rights and violate EU fundamental values. 

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Prices in the EU – converging or diverging?

Spoilers. The Single Market and the Euro have decreased price differences within the EU. The process has been stronger for prices of goods than for prices of services. More can be done in EU to complete the Single Market for Services in order to increase competition and lower profits for the benefits of customers. If you agree with this, you should cast your vote on a party that wants to improve the functioning of the Single Market and increase trade within EU and with countries outside EU. 

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