Hun­gary’s E.U. role ques­tioned

The Washington Post Sunday - - SUNDAY OPINION -

Con­grat­u­la­tions for the Dec. 26 ed­i­to­rial “The Pu­tiniza­tion of Hun­gary.” Vladimir Putin’s Rus­sia is not a mem­ber of the Euro­pean Union; Prime Min­is­ter Vik­tor Or­ban’s Hun­gary is. This for­mi­da­ble in­sti­tu­tion is not only a busi­ness and trade or­ga­ni­za­tion, it also claims to rep­re­sent com­mon Euro­pean val­ues. In view of the lat­ter, is Hun­gary ready and wor­thy to take on the pres­i­dency of the com­mu­nity, as it was sched­uled to do Satur­day?

The lat­est news is in­deed alarm­ing. Tol­er­ance lev­els are ex­tremely low. Racism, dis­crim­i­na­tion against the Roma, anti-Semitism, xeno­pho­bia, chau­vin­ism and re­ac­tionary na­tion­al­ism — these symp­toms are deeply wor­ry­ing. They evoke mem­o­ries that we have hoped were long for­got­ten. Many peo­ple are scared.

The lat­est me­dia laws are just the last link in a se­quence of shock­ing events. Many of these con­cern the arts. The E.U. pres­i­dency is an honor and re­spon­si­bil­ity. The E.U. and the United States must keep an eye on Hun­gary. The E.U. must set the stan­dard for mem­ber coun­tries. We must guard and re­spect our com­mon val­ues.

An­dras Schiff, Florence, Italy The writer, who was born in Hun­gary, is a con­cert pi­anist.

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