The European elections of May 26 are keeping many European citizens breathless but at the same time reality tells us that the voting will be a waste of breath. The epochal charge of the sovereign nationalistic forces that threaten Europe from its eastern gate will not disrupt the orderly democratic course of united Europe, no matter how disruptive the preaching of that modern carpetbagger Steve Bannon, the prophet of a populist revolution in Europe. The reason why the liberal democracies will prevail is a simple one that political commentators are prone to overlook: the voters of the illiberal democracies, led by that new friend of President Trump, the autocratic premier of Hungary Viktor Orban, are notoriously those who desert the polls. There is another aspect of this phenomenon: the voters who abstain are from those countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) that are the largest recipients of contributions from the European Union. Five years ago, the abstention rate was 57 percent. It is quite probable that it will remain the same on Sunday. One more depressing fact: the Visegrad countries – as that illiberal foursome is referred to – are the same ones that refused to comply with European policy that called for redistribution of refugees among the member countries of the European Union. They kept each and everyone out with police barriers, walls and barbed wire.
It seems that a principle is at work in the Visegrad league: the more you get from the Union, the less you are interested in Europe. Take the Czechs: on average, each of them gets a check for 523 euros (a little less than 600 dollars) but only 1 out of 6(15 percent) bothered to vote in the 2014 European elections. Hungary, led by the anti-immigration strongman Viktor Orban, gets 462 euros per capita from Europe but no more than 30 percent of eligible voters go to the polls.