Walking out on us

von Maximilian Steinbeis

Dear friends of Verfassungsblog,

There has been a lot of walking out going on this week: German far-right leader Alice Weidel walked out of various talkshows and interviews, Hungary walked out of the circle of the EU member states who submit to the jurisdiction of the CJEU as a matter of course, and Catalonia walked out of its attachment to the Spanish constitution. Walking out on someone, whether its tearful, screaming-and-door-banging variety or the dignified, measured-pace-and-a-thin-smile kind, is a gesture of great communicative power. You occupy the position of the expellee while forcing the other to take on the role of the expeller. You cede the other a victory you obliterate by the very same act of leaving. You act, so to speak, in a passive voice. You actively disrupt the conversation, the other agape in fury and bewilderment, and yet it is you who suffers, is forced into flight, harried, violated. A powerful instrument indeed, as anyone married can testify.

The power of this gesture seems to me a major reason why the CJEU ruling on refugee quota has caused so much media attention this week. The applicants Hungary and Slovakia were legally obliged to accept refugees before as much as after; the CJEU saw no reason to annul this duty and neither did pretty much anybody else. Politically, the refugee relocation scheme is as dead in the water as before, and about to expire anyway. It was mainly the display of passive aggression by the Hungarian government throughout the process that made the whole thing a spectacle. "Rape" was the term chosen by the Hungarian Foreign Minister to express his outrage after the judgment. Bang, goes the door.

Who walks out must eventually come back, as Herbert Wehner once famously said ...

Zum vollständigen Artikel

Alice Weidel (AfD) verlässt ZDF Talkshow "Wie Geht's Deutschland" 2017

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