International Press Review, January 18, 2021
The president of the European People’s Party has urged German Christian Democrats to finally say they need to get rid of Fidesz in the EPP, but Tusk has not found much receptivity on the part of the new party president. At the CDU’s digital congress on Saturday, a Polish politician from Gdańsk said that greater determination was needed against Hungarian nationalism. As he said, it is largely the merit of the German party that in Europe, freedom, fairness, transparency, justice and common sense have not been left behind in the struggle with authoritarianism, corruption, lies and populism. He stressed the need for perseverance on the part of German delegates when it comes to fighting for democracy within the party family. He stated that tough decisions must be made to protect common interests. Hinting that he still had not decided what to do with Fidesz, whose EPP membership had been slowly suspended for two years. It would be crucial in the question of how the CDU takes a stand, so it’s worth gold if the party finally puts down the garast – Tusk tried to speak to the souls of the delegates. But Laschet does not seem to want to change the fact that the two union parties, and especially Merkel, are holding a parachute over Orbán’s head. In a TV conversation, he called the fate of Fidesz a difficult matter and did not hide it: because both Hungary and Poland are needed in the EU. And it wouldn’t be good for either of them to drift in a right-radical direction. He added that the People’s Party had set clear conditions and that he would hold the Hungarian prime minister accountable. The paper notes that the case of the Völkisch-nationalist Fidesz is increasingly threatening to tear apart European Christian Democrats and will probably be the first foreign policy touchstone for Laschet. After all, Tusk was quite clear. At the same time, Orbán is not very worried about the People’s Party stipulations. Recently, he likened Brussels again to the Soviet Union, and Webert accused him of treating Hungary as a second-class member.
Despite the fact that the European Court of Justice has forbidden Hungary to deport refugees from the border area to Serbia without any procedures, the Orbán government insists on the infringing practice. Within a few days, the Helsinki Commission held its 2nd press conference on the matter, and its data showed that the number of people involved had risen from 2,300 to over 3,000. Stakeholders cannot apply for asylum, even though this is contrary to both European and international law, which András Léderer has simply described as terrible by the NGO. The CJEU upheld the Commission’s action on 17 December, but since then, if the Hungarian police intercept an illegal border crossing, it will be smoothly transferred to the other side of the fence, to no one’s land where there is nothing in the world. In this way, migrants have no choice but to return to Serbian territory. However, this amounts to deportation, although the Union stipulates that in such cases the appropriate procedure must be followed, subject to certain guarantees.
Rapid statistical data for the euro area on the first few days of the year do not bode well, as they indicate that another downturn is imminent due to new restrictions imposed due to the epidemic. Economic activity has slowed sharply, from travel to retail, from hospitality to job retention, from the consumer confidence index to private shopping, indicators are deteriorating, so there are fears that another recession will hit after last spring. Just as ING’s leading European economist says, this time we need to be prepared for the fact that the shock will not come at once, but will drag on, which is expected to lead to long-term bankruptcies unless generous government and central bank subsidies remain in place. Experts expect an economic downturn of between 1.8% and 2.3% in the last quarter, and if there is another slump in the current three months, which can be expected in Germany and Italy as well, it will officially mean a recession in less than two years. within a year. The German consumer index was 25% lower in January than a year ago. However, an analyst at Oxford Economics warns that the epidemic situation is expected to worsen further as the new strain, which spreads more easily from person to person than before, could bite quickly.
The Russian leadership, with Putin in the lead long before the poisoning attempt, did not take Navalny’s name to his mouth – it was as if it were a magic word that, if uttered, would bring the evil spirit to life. But the uproar over his return shows that Moscow is very upset about the politician. The official interpretation is that this is just an insignificant blogger and it would be unworthy to deal with him in the high spheres of power. But the reception arranged for him testifies to the exact opposite. After all, significant security forces were mobilized, which then arrested several of the hundreds of people waiting for Navalny. At the same time, the plane from Germany was diverted elsewhere than Vnukovo, but the roads to it were partially closed. Not to mention that the opposition leader was immediately detained. At first glance, Putin has little to worry about, as the other side is still very far from being able to line up a majority for himself. But he was able, while eagerly listened to by the public media, to become nationally known through a chain of local networks after attacking the system at the Achilles heel for corruption. That is, it is a perceptible alternative today. What the Kremlin is really excited about, however, is that the Russians are increasingly dissatisfied. In the foreseeable future, although there is hardly a movement like Belarus, who would have thought a year ago that such forces would be set in motion in Minsk and elsewhere. In addition, although he protested in Khabarovsk for the winter, Moscow is now realizing how difficult it can be to quell even a local fire nest when it has no visible leader. On his way home, Navalny forced the powerlords to appreciate what he naturally paid a high price for. There is a great danger that he will be behind bars for years, in the hands of someone who tried to kill him five months ago.