The Fundamental Rights Survey (2019, pdf) found that Hungary lags behind the EU in many aspects of democracy and human rights. Hungarians fear the most of political intimidation of themselves or civil society, and they believe the least that human rights are good for them or that the judiciary can ever be independent.
Nearly 9 in 10 people (88%) in the EU think that human rights are important for creating a fairer society in their country. This ranges from a ‘low’ of 76 % in Hungary to a ‘high’ of 96 % in Malta, starts the Fundamental Rights Survey conducted by European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights last year.
Among them the most striking is that 51% of Hungarians fear personal political intimidation during elections.
Source of all images: Fundamental Rights Survey, 2020 (pdf)
Only 5% in the EU-27 fear that they personally would be intimidated by political parties or organisations during election campaigns in their country. But that is 51% in Hungary.
Just think of unemployed people exposed to losing their place in Orbán’s workfare program (working for approx. 130 euros for three months to remain eligible for the approx. 70 euros a month in unemployment benefit for the rest of the year). Any mayor can and do tell them to watch where they vote, with voter intimidation rampant in small villages.
But NGOs and civil society are also a target – just differently. We had a government-run marketing campaign against them, after all.
Among the EU Member States, the perception that NGOs and charities are never or only rarely able to operate free from government influence is the most widespread in Hungary, Croatia, Slovakia, Romania and Latvia – with one in four people or more thinking that this is the case.
More than one in three people in Croatia, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary think that judges never or only rarely can do their job without government influence.
And that is even an optimistic number, considering that judges are currently a target of a political smear campaign by the government and the highest echelons (the constitutional court) has been stuffed with loyalists years ago.
Indeed, only a handful of people believe that they would be win at court (even if they were right) against their own neighbors – and only 2% said that they could win against a politician or an oligarch. And that was when the courts were not yet under attack.