When Viktor Orbán announced that his party would be temporarily scrapping a proposed tax on Internet usage, many thought it was a victory for the protesters and free rights. It seems however that the country itself is continuing into an authoritarian downward spiral under the ruling Fidesz party.

The distance between many Hungarians and the government is widening as the government cracks down on human rights, media freedoms and the employment of corrupt officials, as Reuters has reported. On Monday over 10,000 Hungarians took to Budapest to demand the resignation of Orbán and his officials on a day titled ‘Public Outrage Day’.

Alleged corruption has become the latest rallying cry from Orbán’s opponents, with reports stating that the United States barred six Hungarian officials on the suspicion of being involved with the allegations.

Yet the rift between Orbán and disgruntled Hungarians is not the only divide that the leader is widening. An ever-increasing gulf between Orbán and the European Union is continuing to grow and grow. He has already voiced his disdain for certain EU values and policies and in a speech that he gave in July, declared admiration for the governments of Russia, China, and Singapore as positive examples for models to build the Hungarian state around, implementing an ‘illiberal democracy’.

A report from Human Rights Watch highlighted a speech conducted by Orbán last week at a business forum, praising Azerbaijan and its president, Ilham Aliyev for respecting ‘traditional values’. On the opposite side of the spectrum, these comments are likely to not bode well for other EU states. In the past the EU has made it clear that it does not tolerate Azerbaijan’s human rights record, which includes the arrest and imprisonment of journalists as well as social and political activists.

So it would be smart to believe that the EU would issue a response to these unfolding events. Yet the governing body has said or done very little to counter these issues. The European parliament held a recent hearing to discuss the rule of law taking place in Hungary, though the Council of the European Union has been silent up until this point.

While the Internet tax and recent corruption allegations have harmed public support, Orbán’s Fidesz party still makes up a majority of the fractured parliament, owning a huge majority in comparison to the opposition which consist of several left-wing parties that do not wield great influence.

The fact of the matter is that all this is taking place within an EU state. It raises the question as to whether or not these actions go directly against the core principles of the 28-member state body, and if so why has there been so little said in the wake of these events.

 

Sources:

Hungarians rally against corruption, Orbán’s government – http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/11/17/us-hungary-rally-idUSKCN0J128620141117

Hungary dragging EU in wrong direction – http://www.hrw.org/news/2014/11/17/dispatches-hungary-dragging-eu-wrong-direction

PM: Azerbaijan going in the right direction – http://www.politics.hu/20141111/pm-azerbaijan-is-going-in-the-right-direction/