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Schöpflin, George

George Schöpflin is a member of the European parliament for the Hungarian party Fidesz


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2 articles of this author have been cited in the European Press Review so far.


openDemocracy - United Kingdom | 17/06/2008

The sense and nonsense of referenda

On the Internet forum Open Democracy, political scientist and MEP George Schöpflin discusses the suitability of referenda: "In too many cases - European integration among them - referenda function as an instrument not of democracy, but of populism. They can assist democracy only in a few special circumstances: for example, to resolve an issue that is more ethical than political (legalising divorce or abortion, say); or to unblock a political system (offering autonomy or independence to the population of a particular region and thus perhaps helping to avoid civil war or ameliorate division). ... Referenda are profoundly unsuitable ways of addressing complex issues, because they offer the illusion of a simple answer to complexity. ... Referenda reintroduce the tyranny of the majority. ... It is quite plausible that a referendum on, say, recriminalising homosexuality or reintroducing the death penalty would gain a majority ... in several European nation-states. Referenda offer power without responsibility, in that voters can confront elites without having to face the consequences of their action. ... Accountability and responsibility, after all, have to be a two-way process to work at all. Referenda operate only in one direction and, for that reason, are not an appropriate or a democratically sustainable instrument in European matters."

Prospect Magazine - United Kingdom | 01/12/2006

Hungary's political crisis

George Schöpflin, senior member of the Hungarian opposition party Fidesz, shares his critical view of the governing left in the British monthly. "The massive overspending by the left, coupled with a bloated state bureaucracy and overregulation, means severe belt-tightening, including for people who have nothing to tighten. The budget deficit is likely to be over 10 per cent by the end of the year. Real incomes may shrink by up to 10 per cent over the next few months. Health and education services are being cut. Budapest is on the verge of bankruptcy. The falling value of the forint against the euro will mean hardship for the two fifths of homeowners whose housing loans are denominated in euros or Swiss francs. ... But if the economic crisis is shocking, the political crisis is worse. The crowds which demonstrated outside parliament called for Gyurcsány's immediate sacking, and Fidesz put itself at the head of this mass movement."

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