In today's New York Times there is an article that outlines the troubles of the region. See http://tinyurl.com/dkpqpv. Bloomberg is pessimistic (http://tinyurl.com/d9mnlk) as is the Wall Street Journal (http://tinyurl.com/bdlyuw). Meanwhile the Hungarian left-liberal media find it objectionable how gleefully Viktor Orbán walked out of the chamber prior to Ferenc Gyurcsány's important speech concerning the crisis. Picture below. One thing is sure: if one is concerned only with party politics, especially from the point of view of the opposition, a nice big economic crisis is a welcome event. However, it is hard to imagine that responsible politicians can look at the present situation with such obvious delight. Assume that Fidesz wins the next elections. And then what? Let's say that in the meantime the country comes close to bankruptcy. That cannot be good for Fidesz either. Hard to imagine what is in their heads. In the last couple of weeks the favorite adjective was "brutal." Everything was "brutal," especially any news about the details of the austerity package. Now "brutal" seems to be passé. Neither the party spokesmen nor the leaders of the Fidesz-Christian Democratic caucuses speak of "brutality." It has now been renamed: "the package of hopelessness." Copyright Viktor Orbán. Isn't it a delightful psychological ploy to lift the spirit of Hungarians? The situation is "hopeless," but if it is hopeless now it wouldn't suddenly become hopeful if tomorrow the country's prime minister were Viktor Orbán.
Meanwhile a few more intended changes were announced: the government is planning to reduce the number of council members in local governments by fifty percent. In addition they want to increase the population threshold for villages to have a full-time mayor. Right now several villages with fewer than 500 people have a full-time mayor. That's all very nice, but as far as I know in order to change the current law one needs a two-thirds majority in parliament, and Fidesz will not vote for such a change. After all, most of the local governments are in Fidesz hands.
Another interesting development is that today it was announced for the second time that Viktor Orbán's yearly speech about the state of the country is being postponed. Orbán while prime minister adopted the American practice of giving a State of the Union address, but with a twist. He didn't deliver the speech in parliament. After all, there the opposition party leaders might challenge him. No, he gave these yearly speeches outside of the parliament in front of invited guests. All admirers of the prime minister. Even after Orbán lost the elections he continued his yearly orations called "évértékelők." Or in English: assessments of the year. This year it was announced that Viktor Orbán will wait until Gyurcsány makes his speech on the first day of the spring session in parliament. The date was to be February 18. Today. Then a few days ago it was postponed, and today it was further postponed by two weeks because of Orbán's international "negotiations." Apparently, he is planning to go to Poland "to talk with the Polish prime minister" and will give a talk in Vienna. Other "negotiations" were not mentioned. Most likely, the postponment is not due to international negotiations but rather because at the moment Orbán doesn't know what to say. Surely, he can't show up and offer no solution to the ever deepening economic crisis. Perhaps he wants to see what the next two weeks will bring. Sooner or later we will find out, I trust.