LYMEC responds to democratic backsliding in Slovakia and Hungary

LYMEC strongly condemns Slovakia's recent corruption allegations and anti-democratic shifts. Despite a surge in support for the liberal Progressive Slovakia party, an extremist-led government, headed by Robert Fico, has rapidly undermined democratic norms. Disassembling the crucial office of the Special Prosecutor without public input showcases a blatant disregard for citizen involvement and threatens Slovakia's democratic institutions.

LYMEC is particularly concerned that news of Slovakia's slip into further illiberalism comes at a time when the European Commission has just agreed to unfreeze €10.2 billion worth of EU funds to Hungary in an attempt to entice Viktor Orbán’s government - who is known for its close ties with the Kremlin - into compliance with supporting Ukraine. At a time when the EU should be upholding our most basic foundational principles - the rule of law, democracy, and civic expression - this sends the wrong signal yet again.

Rather than showing the union to be firm against a tide of rising authoritarianism, it shows the EU as weak and willing to compromise on the most basic principles that have come to define continental cooperation in the aftermath of World War II. Echoing the words of former Belgian Prime Minister and current Renew Europe MEP Guy Verhofstadt, this is a "scandalous" decision, which exposes how, due to the unanimity principle within the Council, "blackmail beats Ukraine solidarity, good governance and EU values".

This serves as yet another example of why the union must reform and move away from unanimity and towards a qualified majority voting (QMV) system, as LYMEC has proudly campaigned for for several decades.

Make no mistake, whether in Slovakia, Hungary or elsewhere on the European continent, LYMEC will always stand for the key liberal principles that unite us towards a more prosperous, democratic future. Just like we have done in the context of Ukraine, we will continue to give a voice to our members so they can channel their thoughts and ideas and offer solutions to the big issues affecting them. Ahead of the 2024 European elections, LYMEC will not shy away from these issues but rather tackle them head-on, making them a central part of our campaign strategy. 

While these two developments are devastating for hundreds of thousands of young people and civil society actors who aspire to a more liberal future in their countries, they also help put the looming battle we face into greater focus: one between autocracies and democracies.



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