The latest Eurobarometer survey reveals an increasing approval of the EU, also among Hungarians. Seventy percent of respondents describe themselves as EU citizens. And while only 39 percent trust the government in Budapest, 46 percent have faith in EU institutions. For Hungary's press the numbers provide a welcome opportunity to discuss the country's relationship with the EU.
Commission trying to put EU in a good light
The survey represents a distortion of the facts, argues political scientist Tamás Lánczi on the pro-government blog portal Mozgástér:
“The Eurobarometer survey is a nice example of how independent and objective the EU Commission is and how desperate it is to present the EU as popular. ... To compare the EU with national governments is like comparing an apple with a pear. ... Countless studies have already substantiated the Hungarians' love of the community of 28 states and shown that they have no desire to leave the EU. But it is also very clear that the Hungarians- like other EU nations - are deeply critical of the mechanisms of the union and expect the EU to make changes on numerous issues.”
West-orientation of Hungarians is a myth
Despite the strong support for the EU among Hungarians political scientist Ervin Csizmadia makes the following observation in the anti-government daily Magyar Nemzet:
“If Hungarians were aware of Hungary's long political history they would realise that their country's Western orientation is a myth. The main cause of Hungarian suffering is that they don't understand themselves. The progressive Hungarian sees himself as West-oriented and is therefore infuriated when for example the current government and its supporters fail to conform to this self-image. … The political opposition is also trapped in this narrowly defined self-image. It sees liberal democracy as god-given and expects it to be embraced by the whole of Hungarian society. It is simply incapable of accepting that Hungarian society is only partially West-oriented.”