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Tuesday, April 08, 2014

Hungarian Commissioner says anti-immigration sentiment in Europe is a "non-issue" - days after a neo-fascist party gets 21% of the vote in Hungary

A bigger threat to the EU
than the UK's 'right to reside test'?
The Barroso Commission's term is rapidly coming to an end and Viviane Reding and Laszlo Andor are neck and neck in a pulsating contest for who will claim the wooden spoon - the award for worst Commissioner. Reding held the lead for a long time but Andor may have just caught up after his comments about immigration at an event yesterday on engaging the youth in EU politics.

According to EurActiv, when asked by an audience member about the rise of anti-immigration in EU member states, specifically towards Bulgarian and Romanian nationals, Andor replied that this was a “non-issue” raised mainly in the UK and Denmark, who were not founding members of the EU. He went on to say that:
“Discussions there are really annoying because they are discussing on non-issues like benefits tourism which is largely a myth.
Leaving aside the extent of so-called benefits tourism - which we can debate - is a Commissioner from Hungary really saying that anti-immigration sentiment isn't a problem? A bit rich given that an outright fascist party - Jobbik - won almost 21% of the vote in last weekend's Hungarian parliamentary elections, a higher vote share for a similar party than in other EU country, and an increase from around 16% in 2010. Remember, this is a party that even Marine Le Pen from Front National has refused to cooperate with as she considers them to be too nasty.

There are plenty of unpleasant parties around Europe but aside from Greece's Golden Dawn, Jobbik really are in a league of their own. Despite running a more restrained and professional campaign, the party is at its core fundamentally anti-Semitic and anti-Roma, espousing a Hungarian nationalism that sees the inter-war dictatorship under Miklós Horthy when the country was aligned with Hitler and Mussolini as a source of pride. The party also has strong links with fascist paramilitary groups that have been involved with violent street clashes with Roma.

In 2012, the party's deputy parliamentary leader Márton Gyöngyösi infamously argued that
“I think now is the time to assess…how many people of Jewish origin there are here, and especially in the Hungarian parliament and the Hungarian government, who represent a certain national security risk for Hungary.”
The party's 2010 election manifesto meanwhile claimed that:
"The coexistence and cohesion of Magyar and Gypsy is one of the severest problems facing Hungarian society... a segment of the Gypsy community strive for neither integration, nor employment, nor education; and wish only that society maintain them through the unconditional provision of state benefits... certain specific criminological phenomena are predominantly and overwhelmingly associated with this minority, and that as a result such phenomena require the application of fitting and appropriate remedies."
Given their general outlook we imagine Jobbik wouldn't be too keen on large scale EU migrations into Hungary (other than of ethnic Hungarians from bordering countries which they have actively called for).

It is frankly ludicrous for Andor to single out the UK and other member states struggling to address the political and economic ramifications of unanticipated large scale immigration for criticism when a full blown fascist revival appears to be underway in his own backyard.


Denis Cooper said...

I guess that if you went into a shopping centre anywhere in the UK, accosted people at random and asked them:

"Is Hungary in the European Union?"

then the majority of responses would still fall into the "I don't know", "I'm not sure, maybe", "I don't give a **** whether or not Hungary is in it, mate" categories.

With a very thin sprinkling of "Of course, Hungarians are European citizens just like us, isn't it wonderful?" type answers from useful idiots who vote for Clegg's party for useful idiots.

You see, WE WERE NEVER ASKED WHETHER WE WANTED HUNGARY IN THE EU; the Hungarians may well have had a referendum on whether they wanted to be in the EU, but our politicians carefully denied us a referendum on whether we wanted them to be allowed to join it.

In fact over more than three decades our politicians have consistently denied us any referendum on whether we wanted Greece in the EU, or Spain in the EU ... and so on to Croatia last year, when Hague used the fine print in his "referendum block" law to deny us a referendum on that.

Jesper said...

Under the current treaties there's nothing anyone can do to get one particular misbehaving country in the EU back in line. The one and only option is to take action against all countries, stripping the power of all national parliaments and courts.

Is it a bug or a feature?
If it is a bug then the treaties will be changed, if it is a feature then we'll see more powergrabs to supra-national EU-level.

jon livesey said...

The funny thing is that to me, Andor, with his ability to ignore the perfectly obvious, and his instinct to point the finger at the UK, no matter how irrelevant that is to the issue at hand, seems like a perfect candidate for high office in the EU.

christhai said...

What do you expect?

The EU is built on a foundation of pure lies.

It runs on the same fantasy.

Hungary, Lazlo, Reding, Rehn, Jobbik there is little to chose between them.

As for RIDICULOUS - Junckers the Liar of Luxembourg is running for Commission president.

It's a poorly run Mafia - the Sicilians would gape in awe at what the average Commissioner steals each year - but roll in the isles at the gross incompetence and magnificent stupidity of the Commissioners, the Parliament and all the compromised countries in thrall.

Rik said...

Looks more like a post-89 Manuel in a remake of Fawlty Towers.