Who knows the interests of Hungary better than the Hungarian people themselves? - A narrative analysis of the Hungarian Government’s perspective on the Article 7 (1) TEU procedure against Hungary

University essay from Lunds universitet/Europastudier

Abstract: After the Hungarian party Fidesz took office in 2010 Hungarian national politics has transformed to become more nationalistic. The Fundamental Law of Hungary, which entered into force in January 2012, drew wide international and European attention and attracted heavy criticism as of the respect for fundamental values. The criticism reached an apex in September 2018 when the European Parliament called on the Council to initiate an Article 7 TEU procedure against the state of Hungary. The aim of this thesis is to; (1) highlight the different arguments by which the Hungarian Government argues against the violations and alleged breach of the fundamental values of the European Union; (2) analyze how narratives of national identity, nationalism and populism are constructed and expressed in the arguments by the Hungarian Government; and (3) examine how these arguments and narratives distinguish over different contexts. This is carried out by a combined narrative analysis of data collected from the Official Legal Arguments of the Hungarian Government as well as from statements by the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The theoretical framework used stems from theories on national identity, nationalism and populism. The overall findings of this research have shown how the Hungarian Government utilizes narratives of national identity, nationalism and populism as means of arguing against the alleged violations of the fundamental values of the European Union. The main narratives identified comprise narratives of the distinction between the Hungarian national identity and those who are perceived as “the others”. Additional narratives identified include symbols, memories, values and narratives stressing the attachment to the homeland, as well as populist narratives of the opposition between the Hungarian people versus “the elites”.

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