Of double standards and corruption: the EU, Hungary and Ukraine

20 Sep 2022 6:31 p.m

By Gert Ewen Ungar

Sometimes the absurdity of reality exceeds even the wildest imagination. Unfortunately, the EU Commission is also a fruitful source for friends of surreal experiences.

Currently, it is the justification of the EU Commission for punitive measures against Hungary that seems bizarre and bizarre in the context of the other decisions of the EU. Up until a few days ago, it would have seemed too steep and too unrealistic for any author of satirical articles to incorporate it into a contribution – too surreal.

The most recent case is as follows: EU member Hungary is to be cut off from EU funds amounting to 7.5 billion euros because of corruption. It is the first time that the EU Commission has taken this measure. The Commission justifies the move with the protection of EU funds that could be misused by breaching EU principles. The Commission writes:

“The European Commission has today proposed budget protection measures to the Council under the conditionality regulation. This is to ensure the protection of the EU budget and the financial interests of the EU against breaches of the principles of the rule of law in Hungary.”

So the European Commission has proposed to the EU Council measures to protect EU funds and financial interests of the EU – because of Hungary’s violation of principles of EU rules.

So far so good. The Commission thus protects the funds that it has paid in and that it manages, and which it can then make available to the member states, from access by corrupt elites in the nation states. At first glance, this seems responsible and commendable.

A few days earlier, however, the President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, stepped up to the lectern in the European Parliament wearing the national colors of Ukraine and assured the MEPs and at the same time the highly corrupt Ukraine as a guest audience of her full solidarity. If von der Leyen had his way, Ukraine would have been a full member of the EU long ago.

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Against this background, the proceedings against the member country Hungary seem drastic and quite paradoxical. While in the case of Hungary attention is paid to the observance of European values, they are not only generous towards Ukraine, they are even willing to take on debt for Ukraine as the EU. The EU Commission has issued bonds to finance Ukraine. The EU Commission has borrowed to finance Ukraine’s current spending. In the event of a payment default, the EU member states are liable. However, Ukraine is effectively bankrupt and there is a high probability that the funds will go somewhere, as well as the risk of a complete default. The EU Commission does not mind. In any case, there is no talk of protecting the budgets of the EU member states with the EU Commission in this context.

But in other areas, too, Ukraine is a far greater impertinence than Hungary from the point of view of “preserving European values”. Discriminatory language laws prohibiting a third of the population from using their mother tongue in public, as well as from promoting their culture. The media in Ukraine has been brought into line, the Internet is censored, the opposition has not only been eliminated, their representatives are reportedly being tortured. Despite this, the Commission President sees Ukraine as a worthy candidate for accession, while Hungary is the domestic bogeyman who allegedly violates EU values.

The Republic of Moldova is also considered a worthy candidate for joining the European community of values. Like Ukraine, however, this country is also considered to be highly corrupt. But it doesn’t matter, after all Ursula von der Leyen herself is not completely free of suspicions of various forms of corruption. Moldova is also in a macabre competition with Ukraine to see which of the two countries is the poorest in Europe. With the election of the EU-friendly Maia Sandu as President, there is an opportunity to tie the country more closely to the EU and thus gain a geostrategic advantage. Corruption and nepotism are easily overlooked, even if the government in Moldova is threatened with imminent collapse due to high energy prices. So everything should be done as quickly as possible.

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What fundamentally distinguishes both Ukraine and Moldova from Hungary is the anti-Russian sentiment of the current governments and their willingness to submit to the administration in Brussels and give up sovereignty as long as the interests of the elite are protected.

Due to these very obviously double standards of the EU Commission, the suspicion can be derived that Hungary should simply be punished for its insistence on sovereign decisions. Against the background of the completely different way in which other countries outside the EU deal with each other, all the nonsense about values ​​in which the Commission clothes its judgment cannot hide the fact that the EU applies double standards.

What fundamentally differentiates Hungary, for example from countries such as Ukraine, Moldova and the Baltic States, which also massively violate the “values ​​of the Union”, is Hungary’s attitude towards Russia and this insistence on its own sovereign decisions.

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Hungary is backing away from the EU’s sanctions regime, just as it is not willing to go along with the LGBT hype imposed by the EU. Homosexuality is not forbidden in Hungary, but Hungary has so far not wanted to recognize the equal value of same-sex relationships and heterosexual relationships. And the EU is apparently not in a position to live with this different view of the subject.

Hungary’s economy is also dependent on Russian oil. An oil embargo would amount to economic suicide. While the governments of other countries – such as Germany – are ready to put a rope around their own necks – figuratively speaking – out of sheer Russophobia and misjudgment of their economic power, Hungary is not willing to do so. It protects its interests, namely those of its citizens.

To this end, the country repeatedly backtracked. Hungary had already resorted to the Russian vaccine Sputnik V during the pandemic, while the EU Commission was generally unable to get the procurement of vaccines in order for a long time.

While Russia is still waiting for the EU to approve its corona vaccine Sputnik V, which it applied for in January 2021, Hungary approved the vaccine and started vaccinating at an early stage. Although this decision was understandable and well-founded, it nevertheless caused anger between Hungary and the EU administration in Brussels.

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What is indicated in the dispute between the EU Commission and Hungary is the attempt by the EU Commission to extend its power over the nation states of the EU. It has been doing this for some time and naturally at the expense of national sovereignty. Hungary resists this suggestion, while the political elites in Germany dream of a “United States of Europe” and are willing to give up Germany’s national sovereignty for it – in case of doubt even without pushing for it through truly democratic structures in the EU substitute.

It is also becoming clear that as the EU becomes more and more integrated, hardly anything will remain of the much-vaunted diversity. The expansion of power of the EU and the EU Commission is leading to the leveling out of the differences between its member states. The EU is not even able to tolerate different attitudes towards socio-political issues caused by culture and traditions.

The example of Hungary shows that the EU is increasingly becoming the opposite of what it claims to be: “United in diversity.” At the end of the unification process, nothing will be left of this diversity. In recent days, Hungary has clearly felt that a sovereign national position in the EU leads to conflicts and far-reaching consequences. In view of the offers that the EU is sending to Moldova, Ukraine and the Balkan countries, the corruption argument seems flimsy and pretentious. The current question is whether this will and urge for centralism will not lead to the EU falling apart. The European Union has long since failed to keep its promise not only to respect diversity and difference, but also to experience them as enrichment. Their interests are only of a power and geopolitical nature.

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Source: RT

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J. A. Allen

Author, blogger, freelance writer. Hater of spiders. Drinker of wine. Mother of hellions.

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