Friday 25 June 2021
Macron and the values of the European Union
“This is not a problem with Viktor Orban”
French President Emmanuel Macron calls for a decisive battle for the values of the European Union. He sees “the rise of liberalism” in “post-communist societies” – and calls for a deep debate about new strategies.
In the debate over gay law in Hungary, French President Emmanuel Macron called on EU heads of state and government to fight a decisive battle for EU values. Macron said in Brussels that the question of values was “existential and fundamental” for Europe. That is why the EU must not allow “these values to be undermined in our midst”.
This is also a matter of credibility towards countries being refused entry to the European Union due to a lack of rule of law, Macron said. He generally lamented “the rise of illiberalism in post-communist societies”. Society as a whole, not just politics, is to blame for this trend, which is undermining the very essence of Western liberal democracy. “It’s not Viktor Orban’s problem,” he added.
Instead, the EU has to think about “how these people got to this point,” the French president said. What is needed is a “deep discussion” about a new strategy. This topic should also be brought up at a conference on the future of Europe.
Durability and persuasion
In the short term, Macron spoke in favor of supporting the actions initiated against Hungary by the European Union Commission – according to the slogan: “Toughness towards politicians and persuasion towards the people.” Meanwhile, responsible EU commissioners have warned the Hungarian government in a letter that some parts of the law are in violation of EU law – if Hungary does not surrender, they can initiate infringement proceedings.
Hungarian Prime Minister Orban had previously been criticized by most heads of state and government at the EU summit in Brussels. A recently passed law prohibits any “advertising” of homosexuality targeting minors. Films, books, or advertisements that portray gay or lesbian life as normal are affected.