The State of Democracy in Hungary ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌
 
May 2021
 
 
This month, we are focusing on Hungary.

Why Hungary? In just a generation, Hungary has gone from being the “happiest barrack in the socialist camp” to the only country in the European Union that Freedom House ranks as “partly free.”  Hungary’s nationalist prime minister, Viktor Orbán, has spent the last ten years dismantling his country’s democracy, institution-by-institution. Critics accuse his government of being  populist, racist, misogynistic, homophobic, of silencing independent voices, disparaging migrants and discriminating against the country’s Roma minority population.

We recently asked two Hungarian women to reflect on the state of their country to help us understand better what the challenges are and if there is any hope for democracy.

 
Hungary,Country,Flag,Vector,Background,Icon,Watercolor,Dry,Brush,Ink
 

YouTube interview with Anna Juliá Donáth, MEP

Anna Donáth 

ANNA JULIÁ DONÁTH is one of the European Union’s youngest Members of the European Parliament (MEP).  Elected in 2019, Anna is one of two MEPs representing the Momentum party, which is a member of the Renew Europe group in the EU Parliament.   

Last week Anna spoke with BCI’s Francesca Binda to talk about Hungary, its place in Europe and why she is optimistic about Hungary’s future.  To start the discussion, Francesca asked Anna how she “sells” Europe to constituents when the country’s own prime minister consistently demonises the EU.  After meeting Anna, Francesca noted that the MEP reminded her that politics can and should be an honourable profession

The interview with Anna is available on our YouTube Channel.

 
 

Optimism betrayed: A personal reflection

  Esztrer_BCI_1

ESZTER KÓSA is BCI’s Programme Manager and is in self-imposed exile from Hungary.  While this is great for BCI, Eszter and her partner’s decision to uproot their family was an acknowledgement of their country’s democratic decline. 

We asked Eszter to reflect on Hungary’s democratic downturn and she provided us with an account of a young woman coming of age in a peaceful revolution; someone who grew up behind the iron curtain and as an 18 year old voted in the first “free and fair” elections only to witness, as an adult, Hungary’s decline and demise.   It is deeply personal without being self-indulgent. 

 
 


Rotterdam,,Netherlands,May,2021.,-,Eurovision,Song,Contest,2021.,Text 

On a lighter note, the BCI team is absurdly excited for this weekend’s Eurovision song contest! 

Not familiar with the world’s kitschiest talent show? Check it out here!

In keeping with the Hungarian theme, we would love to point you in the direction of Hungary’s Eurovision entry, but in 2019 Hungary pulled out of the contest amid, according to the Guardian, anti-LGBTQI+ rhetoric.

So, instead, we’re asking you to check out Malta’s entry Destiny Chukunyere.  We think she’s great! Her song, Je Me Casse, is catchy and danceable, and her anti-racism and body positivity messages are getting much needed attention in Malta. 

Sadly, the rules of the contest mean that Malta-based phones cannot participate in the SMS voting for the Malta entry.  So, if you are watching on Saturday, please vote for Destiny!  

 
 

Did a friend forward this newsletter to you? If you don't want to miss future updates from BCI...