In sharp contrast to last year’s reports about Hungary’s emergency legislation during the first wave of the coronavirus epidemic, the German government’s proposal to extend the state of emergency indefinitely has been announced without any negative commentary or condemnation from the guardians of global democracy.
The German government, made up of Angela Merkel’s Christian Democrats (CDU), the Christian Socialist Union (CSU) and the Social Democrats (SPD), has proposed to change the so-called “Infection Protection Act”, and extend the special powers of the German federal government for an unlimited period, which transfers a number of key powers of the parliament to the executive government, and creates a legal basis for the government to suspend a number of fundamental rights enshrined in Germany’s constitution, such as curtailing freedom of assembly.
For those demanding a medical or scientific justification for granting such sweeping powers to a democratic government, there is going to be a very long wait though, as the deadline for the scientific report that would explain the need for such legal measures is set for March 31, 2022 — more than a year from now.
Furthermore, it is not medical authorities or expert-led panels who will determine what is an “epidemic of national proportions”, which is the legal basis for the current emergency powers. The task falls on members of the Bundestag; they are the ones who will decide on when an epidemic situation warrant special powers for the government. The Bundestag will simply need to have a vote every three months to extend these emergency powers.
The new amendment to the Infection Protection Act also adds further criteria to the existing ones that could be taken into account when renewing the state of emergency, such as the progress of vaccination, or R-rates. This will allow the government to extend or deepen its own emergency powers by the new criteria should the old ones seem insufficient to support such a decision.
The German mainstream media had found nothing objectionable in the radical proposals, and even among opposition politicians there were few and far between to criticize the Merkel government’s proposal. Only the opposition FDP MP Wolfgang Kubicki had dared to declare that “Corona is not keeping us in lockdown, but this federal government because it has been unable to provide sufficient masks, sufficient rapid tests and sufficient vaccine for months”.
The ease by which rules governing basic civic liberties are changed under Angela Merkel’s government are well in line with other measures, such as a sharp crackdown on German opposition parties, or the lack of concern about rising anti-semitic attacks from left-wing groups. However, it is the astonishing hypocrisy of the world’s mainstream media and human rights NGOs in their sharply contrasting reactions to health emergency laws in Germany and those recently adopted by the Hungarian government that truly unmask the double-standards by which left-wing opinion-making elites operate.
Hungary faced far more scrutiny when it enacted emergency powers
When the Hungarian Parliament voted for a state of emergency during the first wave in 2020, the media and human rights industry reacted with outrage and called for international condemnation. One well-funded political pressure-group pretending to be a human rights platform wrote that “the act resembles the German Enabling Act of 1933, the infamous law that created the legal basis for Nazi rule under the Weimar Constitution”.
“The emergency bill also allows Orban to prevent public demonstrations and mitigate criticism by political opponents and the media. He will be the one to decide when the current emergency state is over,” claimed the left-wing media outlet CNBC.
“Hungary’s state of emergency law is a ‘blank cheque’ to Orban”, wrote another media outlet in its headlines.
According to the Council of Europe human rights chief, Dunja Mijatović, the Hungarian act “would grant sweeping powers to the government to rule by decree without a clear cut-off date and safeguards”.
“Orban granted indefinite ‘authoritarian’ power”, claimed a staunch anti-Orbán English language media outlet.
Even Germany’s minister for European affairs, Michael Roth, who has currently voiced no opposition to Germany’s new radical rule-changes, warned in relation to last year’s Hungarian state of emergency that “Covid-19 requires adequate responses. But they must not endanger rule of law, disempower democratic institutions or put fundamental rights at risk. We need to overcome this together, not rule through decrees.”
Even after all the above critics were proven wrong and the state of emergency was lifted in Hungary, the political lobby group Human Rights Watch stlll saw a conspiracy: “Following international outrage, the Hungarian government’s announcement to revoke the rule-by-decree and state of emergency law this week at first glance seems a positive step. But don’t let Orban’s authoritarian regime fool you.”
As the German government is about to enter uncharted territories by granting itself emergency powers for an unlimited period based on rather arbitrary criteria, the world’s media is unconcerned, and focuses rather on its customary Orbán-bashing in relation to the EPP scandal unabated. At the same time, the only ones benefiting from the global anti-Orbán smear campaign are the Europhile Hungarian left, and all those powers that are opposed to the Hungarian government’s Christian-conservative vision of Europe and a union of empowered and sovereign nation-states.
What is clear is that any measure introduced by Angela Merkel’s government becomes immediately normative for servile Western political decision-makers and those of the so-called journalist class all while the systematic campaign of disinformation against Hungary’s conservatives charges ahead with unbroken vigor.