Eric Zemmour is a popular French commentator who appears often on radio and television. In the following clip Mr. Zemmour discusses the recent “turn to the right” in Central Europe, which has seen electoral success for EU-skeptic anti-immigration parties in Hungary, Poland, Austria, and now Czechia.
His analysis of the reasons for the rightward swing are spot on, although he elides some of the historical complexities of the region. Not all the states he mentions were part of the Habsburg Empire — from the early 18th century until the early 20th, Poland was divided among the Great Powers, mostly between Prussia and Russia.
The separate provinces or vassal states that eventually became Romania were at different times ruled by the Ottomans, the Austrians, the Hungarians, and the Russians, but mostly by the Ottomans, with varying degrees of autonomy.
Parts of Hungary were occupied for centuries by the Ottomans, while the rest recognized a Habsburg king. When Hungarian territory was wrested from the Ottomans after the Siege of Vienna in the late 17th century, Hungary became part of the Austrian Empire. After the Revolutions of 1848, it became (at least theoretically) an equal partner in the Austro-Hungarian Empire. After the Great War it became an independent state whose borders were greatly reduced.
Czechia (Bohemia and Moravia) and Slovakia were historically kingdoms or principalities that were more often vassal states than sovereign ones. They formed part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire until its dissolution in 1918.
Complicated, isn’t it? And this is the simplified version.
By and large, however, Eric Zemmour is exactly right about what is happening in Central Europe. Many thanks to Ava Lon for the translation, and to Vlad Tepes for the subtitling:
|00:00||You are watching RTL, RTL morning|
|00:04||“We don’t necessarily agree.”|
|00:08||“We don’t necessarily agree” this morning with Eric Zemmour. —Good morning, Eric. —Good morning.|
|00:12||In the Czech Republic the elections gave a large victory to a populist movement,|
|00:16||which happened after a victory for a Right very much to the right, in Austria.|
|00:20||This is called “a series”. The Czech Republic happens after Austria, which happens after|
|00:24||Poland, which happens after Slovakia, which happens after Hungary. The same elections|
|00:28||that revolved around the question of migration and Islam. The same victory|
|00:32||of a Right that rejects them [migration & Islam] without doubts and guilt. The same rapprochement|
|00:37||with a right wing that doesn’t care about all the taboos resulting from WW2.|
|00:41||The same loggerhead with the Brussels Commission that denounces attacks against the rule of law.|
|00:45||The same contempt of the European media for the populists.|
|00:49||The same moral lessons given by French and German leaders.|
|00:53||But words became meaningless. We think they are hostile towards liberalism.|
|00:57||We call them “illiberals”, but in reality they are even more|
|01:01||for the free market because they did know the damages of the communist system.|
|01:05||They are being called “Euro-sceptic”, but they are even more in favor|
|01:10||of Europe, because their entrance into the EU automatically gave them the right|
|01:14||to slide under American umbrella. One could reproach them for it,|
|01:18||but they are less hypocritical than the Westerners who do|
|01:22||also think that European defense is called NATO. Those people reject|
|01:26||a liberalism which would be systematically libertarian, as has been the case in France|
|01:30||since May ’68. They also refuse European institutions that|
|01:34||impose… that would impose a quota of migrants|
|01:38||or gay marriage. The joy of diversity that forms the happiness of France,|
|01:42||of Germany, and of England doesn’t tempt them. They want|
|01:46||neither the mosques nor the jihad. Their parents lived under the communist boot.|
|01:50||The Hungarians and the Czechs saw Russian tanks|
|01:54||on the streets. The Poles were threatened with them and the Austrians were|
|01:58||forced into a cautious and fearful neutrality. They know the price|
|02:02||of national independence, and they don’t wish to replace Moscow with Brussels.|
|02:07||History, in your opinion, explains those seemingly similar political behaviors?|
|02:11||Yes, history, like politics, unites them. All those countries|
|02:15||were, before the War of 1914, part of the same Habsburg Empire.|
|02:19||They saw its glory and the decline. They underwent in 1930|
|02:23||the tragedy of the nations that had to live with minorities which couldn’t be assimilated.|
|02:27||The Germans in Czechoslovakia, or Hungarians in Romania. Those countries|
|02:31||found — at the same time as their sovereignty— the happiness of homogeneous nations,|
|02:35||where there’s confidence, because everyone the shares the same culture and the same history.|
|02:39||A history which crossed paths with Islam a long time ago. Unlike|
|02:43||France or Germany, Hungary was occupied for three centuries|
|02:48||by the Ottoman Empire. And Vienna went through two sieges, the last one|
|02:52||in 1683. At the time it was a European army|
|02:56||led by a Polish general [Polish King Jan III Sobieski] that pushed the Muslim invader away.|
|03:00||The French king, Louis XIV, didn’t lift a finger.|
|03:04||Three centuries: it was yesterday. —Eric Zemmour for “We don’t necessarily agree”.