Speaker Laszlo Kover - Photo: MTI

Kover: EU needs sovereign nation states, democracies

Laszlo Kover, the speaker of the Hungarian parliament, highlighted the importance of strong, cooperating nation states and democracies in the European Union, at a conference in Palma, Spain, on Monday.
23. April 2024 6:17

Speaking at the Conference of Speakers of the European Union Parliaments (EUSC), Kover said: “Among today’s challenges, we need sovereign, strong nation states able to work together rather than imperial dictatorship in Brussels striving for ideological and political hegemony.”

Regarding the challenges posed by liberalism, Kover said liberalism was only one of many forms of government and one of many ideologies. Article 2 of the Treaty of the European Union listed democracy as one of the EU’s fundamental values, but added no adjectives, Kover added.

“My generation lived half of their lives in a leftist dictatorship called a people’s democracy… We fought for living in a democracy in our country that is not stripped of its fundamental substance and meaning by the adjectives forcibly attached to it,” he said.

The annual conference, the highest forum of European national parliaments, is hosting 39 parliamentary chairmen and 11 vice-chairmen, as well as the representatives of 5 EU membership candidates and 9 other invited countries. The next conference will be hosted by Hungary, during its EU presidency.

After the first day of the conference dedicated to “Strategic Autonomy of the European Union faced with the new challenges for liberal democracies in times of social media and artificial intelligence as regards foreign and defence policy: the illegal invasion of Russia against Ukraine and the conflict in the Middle East”, Kover told journalists that “if we really care about European democracy” big-tech companies should be properly regulated.

“As we’ve heard today … only threats from beyond so-called liberal democracies — in other words from authoritarian states — have been addressed, while pressure and the manipulative power of informal private powers are palpable within the liberal democracies; I’d only refer to Mr Soros’s network here, which poses a far bigger threat to the functioning of democracy in Hungary,” Kover said.

He said democracies and public opinion were certainly open to the threat of manipulation and malign influence, but most speakers had solely focused on threats coming from Russia.

“No doubt, unlike politicians of the Hungarian governing party, [they] hadn’t experienced various internet platforms blocking their social pages or curbing their ability to speak,” he said.

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