Monthly Archives: November 2007

Why do Hungarian émigrés bet on the wrong horse?

Why it is that Hungarian émigré groups usually side with the Hungarian right? Why do they support the Fidesz or even the extreme right in the old country?

The trigger for these questions was the Canadian-U.S. visit of Krisztina Morvai, the chief spokesman of the so-called "independent" legal defense team (Független Jogász Fórum). This group is anything but independent. Her real aim in life is to portray the present government of Hungary as the embodiment of the worst Stalinist-style dictatorship. Morvai, who in her spare time is an associate professor … Read the rest

Good economic news in Hungary doesn’t carry over into the political arena

The economic news in Hungary is good: the estimated 6.4% deficit for 2007 will be smaller: 6.2%. The economic growth for 2008 is estimated be about 4%. Higher than thought. The stock market immediately recovered what it lost yesterday, and the forint gained against the euro. The head of the central bank of the European Union announced that Hungary ought to be congratulated: he has never seen more ambitious and successful reforms in such a short time.

Would that everything were so rosy in the political arena. But it’s not. … Read the rest

New voices in Hungarian “healthy living”

This time I am switching focus from the proposed governmental health care reforms to a reform that is already in progress in Hungary. And that is an increased awareness of the importance of "healthy living." There is more and more talk about prevention, about changing lifestyles. It is refreshing.

Almost daily there are interviews with doctors on television about this or that illness. Today a doctor explained that a mild elevation of sugar in the bloodstream should not be immediately treated with medication. Perhaps first one ought to discuss weight … Read the rest

The Gripen affair again

Just when it looked as if the Gripen investigation would suffer a quiet death, there are new developments. And they are serious. Up to now the committee of experts under the leadership of Ágnes Vadai, undersecretary of the Ministry of Defense, managed to produce a thirty-five-page-long report that was handed over to Prime Minister Gyurcsány. Vadai was interviewed several times in the last few months, and she invariably told the reporters that her committee was not charged with investigating any possible bribery by BAE Systems/Saab concerning Hungary’s surprise purchase of … Read the rest

Those monthly polls in Hungary

Maybe I’m not paying enough attention, but I don’t hear the reports of six or seven American pollsters comparing the standing of the Republican versus the Democratic parties every month. This is the case in Hungary and, as if these polls concerning political parties weren’t enough, once a month Médián, one of the Hungarian pollsters, also publishes a popularity contest among politicians.

Pollster activity seems to be a perpetual motion machine. As soon as an election is over, the pollsters report the popularity of the party/parties that just won the … Read the rest

Will Hungarians be representing Romania in Brussels?

No one really knows. The election is tomorrow. The different polls vary widely in their predictions. President Traian Basescu’s Democratic party is expected to do best, with 30-35% of the votes. Whether the Romanian-Hungarian Democratic Alliance (RMDSZ) will manage to receive the necessary five percent of the votes is unlikely.

Today’s blog, by the way, relies heavily on an article by Zoltán Tibori Szabó, a native of Cluj (Kolozsvár) and Romanian correspondent of Népszabadság.

Romania will send a delegation of thirty-five to the European Parliament. The voters in Romania will … Read the rest

Hungary: A country where there are no consequences? Perhaps less and less so

Hungarians like to say that Hungary is a country where a person can do anything he wants without consequence. Indeed, there are far too many examples of cases in which the punishment does not fit the crime or where there’s no punishment at all. Either because of the statutes or because of the incompetence or political sympathies of the majority of the judges. For instance, surprisingly light–or no–sentences were meted out to the physically abusive "revolutionaries" in recent disturbances. The lack of repercussions emboldens those who do not respect the … Read the rest