State of Emergency | Europe after Corona | April 30

Text: Wilhelm Droste
Amidst discussions about how to overcome the current crisis, the question slowly coming into view focuses on what Europe will look like after the Coronavirus epidemic. What will be the future for European integration, the idea of community based on solidarity and the vision of a common culture?

ELit Literaturhaus Europa invites European writers to take a chance to present their ideas about the future, while still under the impression of the crisis.

State of Emergency
by Wilhelm Droste
Translated by Suzanne Kirkbright

Just like everywhere in the world, here in Hungary there is also an impressive longing for people to come together and for unlimited solidarity in the fight against the lethal menace. Here, a chance for rapprochement, for greater readiness for peace was in the air, which was now destroyed by the leveraging of democracy. The chasm of society has deepened. Instead of seeking community in the hour of need, now fear-mongering has generally taken over in a toxic atmosphere of mistrust and rage. This is how an entire society weakens its immune system, that is a national tragedy.

But there was no objective reason for the even more total power grab. Parliament has already been over the past decade a docile toy of the leadership. President János Áder – in the spirit of the constitution, a control mechanism on the government – signs everything without resistance, and recently the emergency law with immediate effect.

Disorder in the world plays a vital role here. The virus has now also made Europe invalid in multiple respects. Everywhere, radical decisions are made due to the emergency. Such international exceptional circumstances are an ideal moment to flout all laws and rules. Orbán instinctively uses all these elements absolutely shamelessly and with maximum effect.

Voices that now want to throw Hungary out of the European Union are understandable. Europe is being given the run around and corruptly exploited by the anti-European, Orbán, yet it is a guardian angel for all Hungarians who want a free, democratic homeland. Without Europe, Hungary would be totally abandoned to despotism. A danger for Central Europe.


  • The metaphorical language of war against the coronavirus is dangerous, particularly in respect of Hungary. 2020 is the centenary anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon, when Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory. Now, Orbán mobilized the army to make key areas of the country symbolically compliant.
    “The coronavirus is the first enemy that Viktor Orbán hasn’t created himself.” This sentence is circulating on the Internet and is not as witty as it spontaneously appears. Up till now, Orbán fought against Brussels, against Soros, against the migrants who were demonized and belittled. The coronavirus is an extremely real threat whose containment demands absolute responsibility. Just now, total trust in the prime minister would be existentially imperative. Yet, half the country doesn’t trust him more than an inch. Here, rarely was Germany envied as much as in current times for having its Angela Merkel.
  • Culture: the crisis is driving all culture, but especially “fringe” culture, to collapse. If ultimately the emergency powers are valid, then Orbán can decide autonomously who has a chance to start over.
    Opposition party mayors in big cities are only a weak counterweight.
  • Media: critical reporting is being driven more and more into a corner, now the penalty is even up to five years in jail for anyone who creates “fake news” about the virus. Of course, what is right and wrong is determined by the government that has run down the “public service” reporting to a disgraceful level of propaganda.
  • Four years ago today Imre Kertész died; in fourteen days Péter Esterházy would have been 70 years old. They are missing here at every turn, their insight into life’s tribulations that spread courage.

Wilhelm Droste

Wilhelm Droste, born 1953, German writer. He iis editor-in-chief of the review "Drei Raben" in Budapest.

Wilhelm Droste, geboren 1953, deutscher Schriftsteller. Er ist Herausgeber der Zeitschrift "Drei Raben" in Budapest.

Wilhelm Droste, born 1953, German writer. He iis editor-in-chief of the review "Drei Raben" in Budapest.

Wilhelm Droste, geboren 1953, deutscher Schriftsteller. Er ist Herausgeber der Zeitschrift "Drei Raben" in Budapest.

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