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German Media Hails Anti-Government Protests in South-East Europe as 'EU Success'

© REUTERS / Laszlo Balogh / A demonstrator holds up a banner saying "Veto" during a rally against a new law passed by Hungarian parliament which could force the Soros-founded Central European University out of Hungary, in Budapest, Hungary, April 4, 2017.
A demonstrator holds up a banner saying Veto during a rally against a new law passed by Hungarian parliament which could force the Soros-founded Central European University out of Hungary, in Budapest, Hungary, April 4, 2017. - Sputnik International
The EU has caused citizens of south-east Europe to rebel against their governments, which should be viewed as a success, according to the German newspaper Die Zeit.

Recent protests against governments in several south-east European countries should be viewed in a positive light because they demonstrate the EU's "soft power" and a popular desire to join the bloc, according to the German newspaper Die Zeit.

"Whether it be in Romania, Serbia or Hungary, more and more people in south-eastern Europe are protesting against their governments. This is also a success of the EU," opines Ulrich Ladurner in an article entitled, "Where the blue flags fly." 

In recent months, anti-government protests have taken place in several south-east European countries for various reasons.

In Romania in February, thousands of people took to the streets to take part in protests against an initiative by the ruling Social Democratic Party to decriminalize corruption in cases where less than $48,000 was involved. The proposed bill was supposedly intended as a move to free up the country’s prisons.  

Supporters of the Albanian opposition shout anti-Government slogans as they protest in front of the government building in Tirana on February 18, 2017 - Sputnik International
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Organized by NGO's, the protests were the biggest since the end of Communism in 1989 and led some to draw parallels between the ongoing events in Romania and what transpired in Ukraine a few years ago during EuroMaidan, Andrew Korybko writes.

Following Alexander Vucic's decisive victory in Serbia's presidential elections held on April 2, thousands of protestors took to the streets of Belgrade after unknown individuals organized a demonstration on Facebook called "Protest against dictatorship."

After the Hungarian government recently made amendments to its higher education law that could threaten the existence of the Central European University, founded by billionaire George Soros in 1991, demonstrators took to the streets of Budapest to protest the amendment. Soros is notorious for arranging protests and paying participants.

The Hungarian government's legislation is being challenged by the EU Commission, which announced on Wednesday that it was launching an infringement procedure against the new education law.

"Like a virus, the protests in south-east Europe seem to jump from country to country. 'Europe' itself has become a fighting concept. However, the rage of the street is not directed against the EU, but vice versa: angry people pin their hopes on the Union and wave its flag," Ladurner wrote.

The author admits that the protests took place against democratically-elected leaders, but nevertheless characterizes them as devotion to the "values" of the EU and its "soft power."

"The protests in these three countries are directed against governments or presidents who were democratically elected. However, part of South-Eastern European societies is increasing getting an allergic reaction to various forms of abuse of power. This watchfulness is also a success of the European Union and its oft-invoked soft power. The European flags which fly in Budapest and Bucharest are an avowal that the people who are demonstrating here are committed to the values on which the Union is based," Ladurner writes.

People protest in front of the Parliament building in Skopje, Macedonia, on Tuesday, March 21, 2017. Tens of thousands of demonstrators gathered in Macedonia's capital, Skopje, Tuesday to protest a visit by a European Union envoy who is trying to break the political deadlock that has left the country without a government for three months - Sputnik International
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However, the journalist makes no mention of Macedonia, where attempts by the EU to back a government with links to Tirana have resulted in angry mass protests against the bloc. 

Last month, the visit of EU Commissioner for European Neighborhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations Johannes Hahn to Skopje was greeted with protests by an estimated 200,000 Macedonians in Skopje and other cities.

Demonstrators called on Hahn to "respect the will of Macedonia" and condemned the Tirana Platform, an initiative sponsored by the Albanian government to increase Albanian influence in Macedonian politics, which many fear will eventually lead to the break-up of the country.

He also neglects to mention Montenegro, where protesters have repeatedly demonstrated against the government's push to join NATO, which bombed the country in 1999 when it was still part of Yugoslavia.

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