Populist governments and the EU
Sir, – Ronan McCrea correctly identifies the slide towards tyranny in Hungary and Poland as a bigger threat to the EU than Brexit (Opinion & Analysis, September 14th). However, the recent vote in the EU to censure Viktor Orbán’s government for breaking the rules of EU membership with respect to democratic safeguards is encouraging. Both Hungary and Poland receive enormous grants from the EU which their cynical governments have been using, in part, to bribe their rural electorate for their votes.
Brussels has, up to now, not pushed back financially because it fears that these two former Soviet satellites would naturally turn towards Russia. This is to confuse the political tastes of their leadership with the historical animosity of their population to Russia and its occupation which brought little else than hardship and oppression. Brussels needs to hold its nerve. – Yours, etc,