Look who’s talking now

If this self-dubbed “Hungary expert” says so, then German media says it must be true… Only, it’s a tad more complex than that.

Lately, it seems not a single week goes by without some missive from German media about the troubling situation in Hungary. This time, Die Welt has published an interview with a certain Laurent Pech, a French constitutional law professor who also claims some kind of expertise in the subject of Hungarian (and, by the way, Polish) rule of law.

The interview sheds no light on the reason that turn to this supposed expert when the EU “lets autocracies (like Hungary and Poland) have a say in common decisions,” seasoned readers will remember him for some of his outlandish statements last April regarding the extension of Hungary’s extraordinary legal order to defend the people against the coronavirus.

It is “totally incompatible with European values both the decision from the Hungarian Government to prolong the state of emergency indefinitely, to authorise the Government to rule by decree without time limit, and to weaken the emergency oversight of the Parliament,” Prof. Pech wrote in a tweet last April. This was around the time when misinformation and fake news about Hungary’s state of emergency peaked with the false claims of Hungary shutting down its parliament.

But what could we expect from this “Hungary expert” who has authored an article entitled “Defending the Open Society against its Enemies” and produced at least a dozen texts over the last couple of years that have consistently been crying “Wolf!” about, among other things, Prime Minister Orbán’s “autocratic constitution,” Hungary’s “democratic backsliding” and an array of similar topics.

“Experts” like this are part of a liberal circle of open society proponents, an anti-Hungary echo chamber, with walls impenetrable to objectivity and a determination toward one overarching goal: the creation of an “open society” in Europe. Their political agenda has no democratic mandate

And here’s the thing. In the Die Welt interview, Die Welt’s expert cites reports out of Freedom House and V-Dem, two groups from the same circle of “experts,” well known for their anti-Hungary positions who conclude to no one’s surprise that the country can no longer be classified as a “democracy.” Organizations like these will return the favor by quoting the work of this French scholar and others from the same camp. It’s a vicious but clever circle, and they play the media – like this compliant German outlet – for fools.