es Vienna, September 25, 2022
Our Viennese colleague Paul Lendvai, doyen (not only) of Central European Studies, and author of 20 books, is not to be stopped by advancing age. At 93 he has just given a fascinating interview to Nana Walzer of the Association of European Federalists on Democracy vs Autocracy: What’s next Hungary?
“In her recent State of the Union speech Commission president Ursula von der Leyen called the fight between democracy and autocracy a top priority for Europe,” wrote writer and broadcaster Nana Walzer, luminary of all things European in Vienna, “!For several years we have seen a corrosion of democratic principles in some European countries, for example in Hungary. But what can be done to strengthen democracy and to peacefully fight the authoritarian developments in Europe?”
Born in Budapest in 1929, he has lived in Vienna since 1957 where he has been a lifelong political publicist and journalist, from the London Financial Times to the ORF Austrian Broadcasting Corporation, where he still heads the Europastudio. “He has written 20 books,” writes Nana Walzer, “just last week his latest, Vielgeprüftes Österreich, appeared – and he has received numerous national and international awards.” The Walzer – Walzer interview.
Talking to Austria’s Kleine Zeitung to publicize his Austria book, Lendvai’s recent interview is headlined: “All of us in Austria are spoiled by prosperity.” He takes a sobering look at the collapse of political culture in Austria, which alas mirrors similar developments, and a lurch to trhe right, across Europe. Interview (DE. Translates with DeepL.com or by right-clicking computer mouse).
- Lendvai’s 2018 Orbán Hungary’s Strongman, is a political classic, a brilliant demolition job on Orbán and what he and his Fidesz party have done to modern Hungary, and to Europe, since achieving overall power in 2010. Lendvai’s is the first English-language study of the former anti-communist rebel, turned-populist autocrat. Through cynical manipulation of nationalism that breeds fears of migrants and entrenched corruption, Orbán has exploited his back-to-back electoral victories to build a tight-knit and super-rich oligarchy. He has unlimited power in Hungary, something much-admired by Donald Trump and Republican pundits in the USA. He has also been called “Putin’s Trojan Horse” in the EU and attempted to ensure Hungary continues to receive cheap Russian gas.
- AEJ 19/09/2022 Is Orbán finally to get come-uppance for crossing EU red lines?
- AEJ 14/08/22 Hungary’s Orban – new hero of the US right
- AEJ 20/05/22 Fox News‘ Tucker Carlson and freedom’s enemies within