Sweden was singled out as an alarming example in Hungary’s recent elections, wrote Annika Ström Melin in DN last Saturday. When Education Minister Gustav Fridolin visited Budapest recently, journalists showed little interest in the Swedish educational system, instead suggesting that press freedoms were under attack in Sweden and asking the minister when Swedes would begin to seek asylum in Hungary. Equally though, Hungary may be singled out in much the same way ahead of the Swedish elections.
Politicians often cite negative developments in other countries during election campaigns but what is special in this instance is the debate over the image each of the two countries wants to project that is taking place in the EU. The lines between domestic and EU issues are becoming increasingly blurred, argues the journalist.
EU cooperation is now so deep that member states’ dependency on each other is far greater than anywhere else in the world. A clear example of the EU’s importance is the arrest warrant, which can have far-reaching consequences for individuals accused of crimes in another EU state, and who more or less automatically are sent back to face trial.
The politicisation of the Polish and Hungarian judiciaries does not just affect the two countries’ citizens; in principle it affects everyone in the EU which is why the European Commission has become involved.
EU member states cannot individually decide immigration policy either, so no matter how the Hungarian government feels about refugees it must be party to the common EU migration policy, otherwise it cannot remain in the EU in the longer term. In other words, the battle over the images of Sweden and Hungary is serious politics, she concludes. (7/4 DN I: 17)
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