Critics know what’s wrong with the European Union. It suffers from what they call a “democratic deficit.” Democracy is often loud, usually messy and everyone gets a voice. This is inconvenient for the elites and the bureaucrats.
The unelected Eurocrats embrace all the politically correct positions on climate change, capital punishment, immigration and genetically modified foods, but they know in their hearts they’re acting against the hopes and wishes of many ordinary Europeans. The Eurocrats in Brussels issue regulations, overrule local taxing officials and pass judgment on member states’ fidelity to classic-liberal political ideals. Bureaucrats in Europe, like those here, never have to face a voter.
This disease at the heart of the European project is getting a fresh look in the stand-off between the powers-that-be in Brussels and the popular government in Hungary. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, an immigration skeptic whom the European left loves to hate, won a remarkable victory in the parliamentary elections April 8, winning a third four-year term. His governing Fidesz Party and the allied Christian Democratic People’s Party won just under 50 percent of the vote and 134 seats in the 199-seat parliament. Left-leaning parties won only 38 seats.
Mr. Orban, 54, is no Boy Scout. Once considered the face of the wave of Eastern European democratic leaders which has emerged in the wake of the collapse of the Soviet Union, he has taken a tough line on critics at home and abroad, notably in his feud with George Soros, the left-wing billionaire Hungarian-American financier who pokes his finger in politics in a lot of unlikely places, including the United States.
To the consternation of his critics, Mr. Orban refuses to toe the line laid down by the bureaucrats in Brussels on immigration. He argues that the flood of unchecked migrants poses both a security and a cultural problem for Hungary. He is accused of peddling prejudice against Islam because he appeals to the traditional Christian values echoed across the region.