The EU Jackboot Tramples on Another Member State


Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary at the OECD
Image by OECD via Flickr

Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary – Under Attack from the EUSSR

The EU seems to have declared war on another of its errant member states.

This time it is Hungary. Hungary needs financial help from the EU to stave off bankruptcy. But the EU is refusing to help, until Hungary repeals some new laws that allegedly contravene EU “law”.

The laws in question relate to the independence of the judiciary, the central bank and the information ombudsman.

Specifically, the Hungarian government has passed laws that mandate judges retire at 62, and others that put the monetary committee of their central bank under government control.

The measure on judicial independence is, according to the Telegraph

widely viewed as a ploy to stack the courts with political loyalists.

It seems to be the measure on central bank independence that has really upset the all-powerful EU Commission however.

“Governments must refrain from seeking to influence their central bank,” said EU economics commissioner Olli Rehn. “Certain provisions in the new constitution are in breach of these principles. This needs to be addressed before we can start formal negotiations on the requested EU/IMF financial system.”

Think about that for a moment. Until 1997, the British government controlled interest rates. Decisions on interest rates were made by the Chancellor of the Exchequer. When Labour came to power, Gordon Brown, to great fanfare, announced that the Bank of England Monetary Policy Committee would become independent and the Chancellor would relinquish control of interest rates.

At the time, it was presented as an attempt to “keep political considerations out of interest rate setting”. That was always an outrageous argument – democracy depends on keeping politics in important national decisions. But the Tories supported the change.

That should have rung alarm bells – when the two “big” parties in Britain are agreed on something, the reason is often that the new law derives from their masters in Brussels. It is now clear that Britain’s old system would be in contravention of current EU “law”.

Now the EU Commission are using the current crisis to impose further central control over member states. Weaker states need financial help – so that gives the Commission leverage over them, and they are quite happy to use that ruthlessly.

Even more outrageous, the EU seems to have hijacked the International Monetary Fund. The help in question for Hungary is a joint EU/IMF bailout. (The EU’s own EFSF had its credit rating downgraded recently because the states contributing the money themselves have debt problems.)

By the way, some of that IMF funding will of course have been provided by Britain, since Britain is a member of the IMF. David Cameron should make it clear that Britain will not support bullying of member states by the Commission. The IMF apparently want an extra cash infusion to which Britain would contribute, so that gives Mr Cameron some leverage. He won’t use it, because he supports the EU himself.

The Hungarian Prime Minister, Viktor Orbán, is coming out swinging.

Mr Orbán said his country was the victim of “international leftists” in Brussels. A zealous anti-Communist, he insists that Hungary’s Stalinist past must be ripped out at the roots.

It seems to be clear to Mr Orbán, at least, that the European Union is basically a repeat of the old Soviet Union that enslaved Hungary for so long. What a shame David Cameron hasn’t realised it yet – or is too cowardly to speak out.