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Hungary: Europe’s Black Sheep

In recent years the European Union has faced a lot of challenges and stayed under heavy pressure caused not by some exogenous factors and not even by the Brexit (that proved escapable responsibility of the member countries) but by the pressure that comes right from within the EU and its members that disregard common European rules and guidelines.

Apparently, the most significant test of the EU started back in 2015 and today we know it as the European migrant crisis. Some believe the issue arose because of the united Europe most faithful apologists – Germans led by Angela Merkel who actively promoted the idea of open doors policy and multiculturalism. However the root of the problem hides behind some of the EU member countries that turn down cold to accept migrants on their territory and the same time they want to keep all the benefits of being members of the Union.

In October 2015 Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his statement letter said that in case if Brussels keep insisting to use migrant quotas, then his country may hold a referendum on country’s membership in the EU. The same year Martin Schulz, being at the time the president of the European Parliament, delivered the return letter where he accused Orbán of being a menace to the EU, sabotaging the unity of European nations and making Hungary the weak link in the European Union.

Even so, in October 2016 Budapest held the migrant quota referendum but not about country’s membership in the EU. As it turned out the majority of voters rejected the EU’s migrant quotas but the turnout was too low to make the poll valid.

Hungary’s impunity and its unwillingness to accept the fair share of migrants couldn’t stay without notice. In June 2017 the former head of the European Parliament Schulz recommended the EU to stop financing Hungary if the nation continues to refuse to accept migrants and ignore the quotas. Orbán’s response was fast and foreseeable – it’s enough of migrants, he also ordered to close the borders with Serbia and Croatia building wire fences along them and doubled the border forces. Hungary’s PM many times made it clear that Hungary will keep its tough stance toward migrants. Very likely Orbán hopes that Brussels will tacitly tolerate any sabotage in attempt to keep the unity within Europe. And still, EU membership means absolute following the rules and values that create the common European integrity. For that matter the European Commission unanimously supported the need of sanctions against the countries which reject to accept migrants. Poland and The Czech Republic are also on the line of fire.

As to Budapest’s attempts to blackmail the European Union by the referendum to leave the union or some other destructive actions in pursuit of here-and-now profits, maybe it is time for Brussels to raise a question of necessity to keep Hungary and other countries that follow Orbán’s example as the EU’s members.

Well, right now Europe’s attempts to get rid of the dead weight may look ill-timed. But Brussels must stand its ground and stop going on a leash of countries that use benefits of membership but which are not ready to share the responsibility with the rest. As soon as the EU takes up a compelling stand and starts rehabilitation by excluding Hungary, it will be a good example for the defiant countries and, possibly, they will come back to senses – it is highly important to understand that EU doors are not always opened, but there is always a place for a farewell.

Probably, it won’t be fair not to give Hungary and Orbán the second last chance, but the questions is – do they really need it?