Tuesday, March 27, 2012

European Union supports communist symbolism

In a ruling last week, the European Court of Human Rights and Justice ordered the Hungarian state to pay damages to János Fratanolo. The Hungarian state must pay EUR 6400 to Mr. Fratanolo in compensation and to cover court/legal costs. He is the former head of the Hungarian Workers' Party, which is a communist party in Hungary today. On May 1st, 2004, Mr. Fratanolo wore a communist red star button on his jacket in Pécs, Hungary. The event he was at in Pécs was celebrating Hungary's joining the European Union. He wore the red star button to show solidarity with the international workers' movement. The Hungarian criminal code bans the wearing of totalitarian symbols (Nazi & communist). Hungarian Criminal Code 269/B.§ 1993.

The Pécs City Court found Mr. Fratanolo guilty in  May of 2008, of wearing a banned totalitarian symbol. Mr. Fratanolo then went to the Baranya County Court in September of 2008, where all charges against him where thrown out. The decision was appealed and the Pécs City Court found him guilty again. Mr. Fratanolo then went to the European Court of Human Rights and Justice in Strasbourg. He challenged the Hungarian court's ruling and won. In essence, the European Court overruled the Hungarian criminal code which bans the wearing of totalitarian symbols. In the case of Mr. Fratanolo, the wearing of the communist red star. Hungary is not the only country in the former Eastern European block that bans communist symbolism. Poland, Latvia and Lithuania also have laws against the use of communist symbols. 

The real face of the European Union is showing. This recent action has shown that the EU does not respect the laws of their member states and can overrule them. In 2005 and 2007, the EU and various political parties in Germany tried to ban the Nazi swastika in an EU-wide ban. Eventually, they would back off the ban. By ruling in favour of the wearing communist symbols, the EU has shown its sympathies to this totalitarian ideology. The most recent estimates show that communism killed up to 100 million people worldwide in the 20th century.