(source of the photo © European Parliament audovisual service)
Although I think that there should be zero tolerance towards any kind of extremism, the EU completely missed the point when it suggested that it is up to the EU to make sure that the rule of law in its Member States/in its neighbourhood is fully respected. Unfortunately, the EU is neither able to play the role of the police of Human Rights Officer in Europe nor would be such a role advisable or useful.
Is the EU really unable to protect the respect of Human Rights and democracies?
Without analysing the reasons behind that statement, I simply refer to the unfortunate facts which prove that this is the truth. Just have a look on states in the European part of the former U.S.S.R. (Ukraine, Belorussia,) on the balkan (Kosovo, Macedonia, Turkey) or even within the EU (Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary).
The EU simply failed to improve the respect of Human Rights and never accepted the full rights of national and ethnic minorities living almost in all member states. The behaviour of the majority towards the minorities describes the best the true quality of whichever society.
Why would be unfavorable to force the respect of democracies to those countries?
Simply because it cannot be done effectively. Democracy can be neither exported nor forced. Moreover, such a move would discourage the population of the concerned countries to fight for their own democracies. People do not appreciate the freedom if it is given priceless for them.
What does history teach us? Although there were hidden resistance movements in the former Eastern socialist countries before the collapse of communism, without Gorbatchev these countries could have never make themselves free. See the tragic outcomes of the Hungarian revolution in 1956, of the Prague Spring in 1968 or of the state of emergency in Poland in 1980.
That’s why the people of Eastern Europe do not respect the democracy as much as they should do: they did not really have to fight for it in 1989-1990. They received it as a gift.
We must see that with foreign pressure the EU will loose more than it could ever gain.
Don’t deprive the people of fallen democracies to fight for their own justice by themselves! Don’t deprive them from hope!
Does it mean that the EU is armless and it shall see the deterioration and the falling of the democracies in its neighbourhood or within its territory?
Not at all.
But repsonsible EU decision makers shall consider and understand their limits. The limits of the EU law. The EU has an important but limited role to play: the watchdog role. The EU shall remain independent, strong but well balanced and consistent.
The EU must remain a pharos for candidate/hesitating member states. The EU must remain firm in principles but never shall force the democracy.
This is the true legacy of the Nobel Peace Price.
I remain at your disposal.
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Related earlier updates:EU ZMK's Diary