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Yascha Mounk @Yascha_Mounk
, 15 tweets, 5 min read Read on Twitter
Orban is destroying Hungarian democracy and fanning anti-Semitism. And yet, Merkel has so far failed to condemn him.

In this open letter @PoliticoEurope, we argue that it's high time for Merkel to break her shameful silence.

Why write to Merkel?

She's not the European politician who most shares Orban's values or is most complicit. But she's the continent's most powerful leader and her party remains allied with Fidesz in the European Parliament.

Her inaction has done a ton to legitimize Orban.

We're well-aware that it is politically expeident for Merkel to remain silent on Hungary:

* The Bavarian Chrsitian Democrats are closely allied with Viktor Orban.
* Breaking with Hungary would cost Merkel votes in the EP
* It would make it more difficult to govern the EU.

But as we write in the open letter, "the survival of democracy and the safety of European Jews should never be treated as a mere matter of political expediency."

In fact, there are three ways in which Europe's political class continue to underestimate hte staggering significance of what is happening in Hungary.

First, some politicians still seem to think the main problem with Orban is that he pursues policies they don't like.

But according to most experts and electoral observers, the recent elections were not fully free and hardly fair. What's at stake here is democrcay's survival.

Second, Orban is not just a threat to the governability of the EU; he's a threat to its very nature.

Founded on the principles of liberal democracy, the EU loses its legitimacy if it tolerates Orban, thus becoming little more than a regional trade block devoid of values.

Third, Europe's failue to come to the defense of minorities within Hungary also calls the safety and security of minorities, including Jews, in other European countries into serious doubt.

Our conclusion does not mince words:

"Your silence makes you complicit ... The only minimally honorable course of action that remains open to you at this late stage is to condemn Orbán’s attack on democratic values and to call on the European People’s Party to expel Fidesz.

In conclusion, let me say a few words about how I personally feel about Angela Merkel and what tone it is appropriate to take here.

Though I've often had my political differences with her, I like and deeply respect Merkel. She's led an admirable life and I have no doubt that some of her most fundamental values are mine as well. This is not personal.

But I also think that we've been strangely reluctant to hold Merkel to the appropriate standard because we rightly respect her.

Democracy is dying in Hungary. Jews are being attacked. And Merkel, for reasons of political expeidency, has said NOTHING. That's unacceptable.

This tendency is especially extreme in Germany. "Right-thinking" folk in the country are really scared of criticizing Merkel. It does not seem to me to be a coincidence, for example, that it took Politico Europe to publish this letter; most major German papers chickened out.

In short, the unwillingness to criticize Merkel is ultimatley part of the same complacency and unthinking complicity of which she herself is guilty.

Democracy is dying in an EU member state but you think we shouldn't be too shrill in protesting inaction? Really?!

Thank you to all the wonderful thinkers, writers and activists who have signed the letter: @Volker_Beck, @HasnainKazim, @GeorgDiez1, @LamyaKaddor, @EdwardGLuce, @dziblatt, Steve Levitsky, @brianklaas @rdanielkelemen, Sheri Berman, @jerry_jtaylor and ~200 others.

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