Hungary has been in a state of regression for years, with anti-Semitism becoming more prevalent and its government clamping down on free speech, so it comes as no surprise that the current global crisis has worsened the situation. Orbán being given the power to rule by decree and bypass all scrutiny raises serious concerns over his intention to further his reactionary, far-right agenda through undemocratic means. The idea that these powers were given to him solely to address the pandemic is ridiculous. This was simply an excuse to do what the Prime Minister has been trying to do for years, which is to achieve sole authority in Hungary.
The EU has a responsibility to Hungary's vulnerable minorities, who are likely to fall victim to Orbán's government
Excessive power can corrupt any government, but particularly for a leader with Orbán's record, these new developments are of urgent concern. It is especially concerning for the EU, who claim democracy is one of their key principles. It is therefore vital that they take immediate action to rectify the situation in Hungary. The country should not enjoy the benefits of being in the EU while failing to meet basic democratic standards. Furthermore, the EU has a responsibility to Hungary's vulnerable minority groups. If they're likely to fall victim to Orbán's government, it falls upon the EU to make sure that he has less power to persecute them.
In a time of great uncertainty, it is the responsibility of organisations like the EU to take action to stop the curtailing of civil liberties. While Hungary's descent into authoritarianism is not a new trend, this crisis provides a unique opportunity for leaders like Orbán. They must be stopped.
Alex Walker's piece on Orbán is available here.