Ten years ago Hungary joined the European Union. After a miserable 40 years under the Soviet boot, EU membership was seen by Left and Right alike in Hungary as a watershed event demonstrating that the past had truly passed, and the country had retaken its historic position in the center of European cultural, economic, and political life.
After manipulation in Hungary's domestic politics, most infamously the "salami tactics" of the 1947-1948 period where Soviet agents saw to it that each non-communist party was sliced off into oblivion one by one until the Hungarian Communist Party remained the last party standing -- as well as the 1956 revolt against the Soviet occupiers -- Hungarians upon joining the European Union felt that they had finally emerged from the post-communist period as a sovereign nation.
One by one, the former communist countries of central Europe fell for the temptations of EU membership.
But it was mostly a farce, warns Hungarian journalist Istvan Lovas, the Brussels correspondent for the center-right Magyar Nemzet newspaper. In a frank interview with the Voice of Russia yesterday he offered some advice for neighboring Ukraine, where the acrimony between the pro-EU west and pro-Russia east threaten to tear the country apart.
Though the EU has spent millions propagandizing the Ukrainian population on the economic benefits that await them as soon as their government signs an associate agreement with the EU, Lovas says don't believe the hype:
We have been in the EU for ten years and poll after poll would show that Hungarians feel nostalgia for the socialist regime, they hated it but now they feel nostalgia because they feel that they are much poorer.Not only that. The EU will meddle in your internal affairs as much as did the Soviets in the days of old.
President of the European Parliament Martin Schulz rushed to condemn police violence against pro-EU protestors in Ukraine this week, but as Lovas points out there was not a word of protest from the EU when the Hungarian communist-successor party was in power in 2006 and the police brutally beat peaceful protestors in Budapest who opposed the government.
Lovas recounts calling the EU leadership on their double standards and ends with some advice for the Ukrainians:
When I called...Mr Schulz this afternoon, they were so nervous that I questioned them – how come this double standard calling for the Ukrainian authorities not to use force and they were silent in 2006 in October when people were demonstrating in Hungary peacefully. So what? Dear Ukrainian friends, don’t come to the EU! You are going to be sorry.It remains to be seen whether Ukraine takes the advice of those who have been there and done that. One thing is sure, even as the EU struggles to pay its own bills, the propaganda of untold riches through membership still finds receptive ears among the desperate in places like Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, and elsewhere.