Security Brief: EUCOM Week of June 28, 2021
Week of Monday, June 28, 2021 | Issue 38
Federica Calissano, Flavien Baumgartner, Vanessa Coimbra, EUCOM Team
Mathias Corvinus Collegium building
Date: June 28, 2021
Location: Budapest, Hungary
Parties involved: Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán; Mathias Corvinus Collegium
The event: This week, Hungary’s government granted $1.7 billion USD to Mathias Corvinus Collegium, in Budapest, Hungary. This grant follows Hungary’s controversial banning of gender identity and sexual orientation-related content from the curriculum of national schools, which was passed in April. These actions are made in attempts to reshape the country's societal outlook and create a more nationalist body politic.
With the continuous violation of minorities' rights and the difficult relations with asylum-seekers, Hungary's latest educational reforms are likely to increase the European Union’s (EU) and wider international community’s concerns. Banning LGBT-related content from school programs is almost certainly considered a step towards leading the country away from European standards. This decision has the potential to hinder diplomatic agreements with other EU countries and is likely to trigger public pressure from European institutions along with political sanctions to uphold Western core values.
Mathias Corvinus College’s funding can be understood as state control over the country’s younger generations. Mathias Corvinus College’s students, alongside its faculty members, are likely to be perceived as pawns of Prime Minister Orbán’s regime. Social unrest is likely to rise, and renewed anti-government sentiments may fuel protests over the government's attempts to solidify its power through public policies. Pro-regime individuals could push for Hungary to be indoctrinated, and this circumstance is likely advocating for heightened security and protection against extremist movements emerging from surrounding European countries.
European and international exchange programs will likely exclude the Hungarian college as a protest against far-right-related institutions. This event could also result in unequal access to education for those that oppose the regime, leading to a higher migration flow to countries with non-partisan and more liberal education policies.
The social unrest regarding the Mathias Corvinus College can potentially overturn existing political coalitions between national parties, leading to a change in Hungary's current political landscape by removing Orbán from the government in the upcoming elections. If this power shift occurs, Mathias Corvinus College will likely seek new financial support from pro-Orbán movements, which would increase social instability. Protests carried out by the opposition could trigger a violent response from law enforcement, presenting new security challenges in controlling the social turmoil. A new government will likely be formed with the main purpose of realigning the country with European values and policies. This power transition will likely deepen political instability due to national conflicts between pro-Órban individuals and EU supporters.
Date: June 28, 2021
Location: Dover, England
Parties involved: English Government; Neo-Nazi Movement
The event: A 15-year-old Neo-Nazi pleaded guilty to encouraging terrorism and disseminating terrorist publication on the first day of the trial on Monday, June 28. The teenager admitted he has been planning attacks on migrants in Dover, driven by racial and extremist ideologies. The far-right teenager discussed and organized potential terrorist attacks on an encrypted Telegram platform with a far-right online group he set up.
The trial proceedings represent essential steps towards countering and preventing extremist attacks. Counter-extremism measures already in place, such as national education efforts to prevent radicalization and police monitoring of online platforms, should therefore be continuously updated and improved. Broad media coverage of the event and the subsequent trial could potentially encourage other far-right extremists and the remaining members of the teenager’s far-right online group to organize and carry out attacks on migrants, as the trial will likely be portrayed as a failure for the group. England’s security forces should enhance their control over existing Neo-Nazi and extremist groups, delete encrypted platforms, and further investigate the teenager’s plan against migrants, which will likely identify other extremists and prevent further threats.
An increased number of resources should also be invested in preventing radicalization from far-right groups, such as enhanced security checks on platforms like Telegram, a platform that offers end-to-end encryption, which would likely help prevent extremist groups from using them for communication and planning.
Date: June 30, 2021
Location: Brussels, Belgium
Parties involved: Belgian Government
The event: More than 400 undocumented migrants have staged a hunger strike demanding legal status in Brussels since the beginning of June. Amongst the fight for legal status, migrants are asking to be granted formal residency and to be legally included in the Belgian system. Four men have stitched their lips shut to stress their demands for legal recognition and access to work and social services.
This event represents a significant turning point for migrants in Belgium, who could be granted formal residency from the Belgian government. If granted, migrants could begin looking for jobs, paying taxes, and start contributing positively to Belgian economic growth. However, if this were to occur, Belgium will likely face an unprecedented flow of undocumented migrants looking for asylum. This could negatively impact and overwhelm security forces, welfare networks, and run the risk of an increased far-right sentiment arising amongst some of the Belgian population.
If Belgian far-right sentiment were to arise following an increased flow of migrants, these movements could escalate in violent means, resulting in protests against the Belgian government or direct attacks against migrant populations. Belgian security forces should monitor this situation and be aware of the risks this event could pose to security.