Monthly Archives: August 2010

Hungarian civic courage: There is something one ought to learn from Slovak-Hungarians

Among the topics I lined up yesterday was an encounter between Slovak-Hungarian college students and László Kövér, speaker of the house.

There is an organization that was established in 1989 called the Rákóczi Association. Its mission is to foster cultural and intellectual life for Hungarian youth living in the neighboring countries. Looking through the list of the association's local chapters, one is struck by the high number of parochial schools, Catholic, Lutheran, and Hungarian Reformed. The association organizes a week-long summer camp for Hungarian college students from Slovakia, Ukraine, Romania, and Serbia. This year it … Read the rest

Orbán on Hungarian foreign policy

Today is one of those days when I could have picked three or four equally interesting topics and reluctantly I had to settle on only one: the yearly gathering of the Hungarian ambassadors. The event, lasting a whole day, is normally attended by the prime minister and the foreign minister who give speeches outlining the direction of Hungarian foreign policy. A meeting of this sort a few months after a government takes office is much more important than at other times. Especially since this government is promising an entirely new foreign policy.… Read the rest

The attack on Bloomberg’s Hungarian reporter

Before I summarize a rather frightening editorial that appeared in today's Magyar Nemzet, let me translate back into English a ten-point summary of the Hungarian government's economic policy available only to subscribers of the Financial Times. Because I'm not one of them, I have to rely on the Hungarian translation as it appeared in today's Népszava.

1. Viktor Orbán at the time of the elections promised tax cuts and job creation in addition to renegotiation of the size of the deficit agreed upon earlier.

2. Viktor Orbán won the elections in a landslide; a few … Read the rest

Work and business culture in Hungary

An article that appeared in HGV is the inspiration for today's post. It was written by Zoltán Novák, a research associate of the Méltányosság Politikaelemző Központ (Equity Center for Political Analysis), and was entitled "Repulsive Symptoms in the Hungarian Work and Business Culture."

Today is the perfect time to tackle this topic because I just finished listening to György Bolgár's talk show (Klub Rádió) which ended with a bang. A big bang. A grandmother of ten, screaming on the top of her lungs, went on and on about all those people who … Read the rest

Hungarians and democracy

A few days ago I was pretty much forced to engage in a verbal duel with an ardent supporter of the Orbán government who wrote an article in Die Welt, a conservative German daily. Her piece was not only a vehement defense of the current government; it was also an attack on the majority of German journalists who in her opinion misinform the German reading public with their slanted reporting on the Hungarian political situation. Among other things she was especially outraged by the often heard opinion that the majority of Hungarians prefer authoritarian rule … Read the rest

Hungarian-IMF negotiations that will not take place

It would be good to know what the real story is. Is it simply another case of bad communication or it is something more? Within twenty-four hours the Hungarian government seemingly reversed itself on the question of impending negotiations with the IMF.

It all started with the National Bank's decision not to lower the interest rate. András Simor, chairman of the central bank, normally gives a press conference at the conclusion of the meeting of the Monetary Council. Simor indicated that he was expecting higher inflation next year and a slower recovery than originally thought. The … Read the rest

The reasons for the popularity of the new Hungarian government

Many people in Hungarian intellectual circles express their amazement at the "sheep-like" attitude of the Hungarian people. How slightly over half of those who voted in April expressed total trust in the never revealed program of Viktor Orbán. Yes, there was something called a party program, but it was so vague, consisting almost exclusively of a critique of the Bajnai-Gyurcsány era, that it was really meaningless. Here and there Orbán dropped a few promises: an immediate drastic tax cut, a salary increase for doctors and teachers, money for the Hungarian public television … Read the rest