Monthly Archives: September 2010

Zoltán Illés, Hungarian undersecretary in charge of the environment

There are some people who, after being named to a higher office, lose their heads. Or, to use another "head" metaphor, their heads swell. They think that they can do anything their hearts desire. They become officious, rude bosses. This is what happened to Zoltán Illés, undersecretary in charge of the environment in the Ministry of Agriculture.

People who know Illés personally claim that after he spent a year and a half at Yale University doing research he suddenly considered himself the best, indeed the only expert on the environment in the whole of … Read the rest

The Hungarian prime minister’s encounter with the tax cut

Usually Viktor Orbán chooses his words very carefully. Most of his promises and accusations are phrased in such a way that they are ambiguous double talk. Before the elections he was very careful about refraining from any specifics, items that later the electorate might demand be fulfilled. If in this election campaign of 2010 there was anything that was specifically promised it was an immediate and drastic tax cut. There was even talk about a tax cut as early as July 1. Of course, tax experts pointed out that to work out an entirely … Read the rest

The current financial state of Hungary

I've written about Sándor Pintér a few times already. The appointment of the chief of the national police force as the minister of interior in the first Orbán government raised quite a few eyebrows. There was and still is a lot of speculation about why Viktor Orbán insisted on Pintér's appointment against all the criticism. I wrote about Sándor Pintér's checkered career again when the news surfaced that Pintér might be the minister of interior in the new Orbán government with even greater jurisdiction than between 1998 and 2002. Indeed, Pintér was tapped once again for … Read the rest

Rumors concerning the possible departure of György Matolcsy

In the last week quite a few articles appeared in the Hungarian press in which it was reported that György Matolcsy might be in trouble. The question is how much trouble. Some time ago (it may have been in a comment) I suggested that with all the financial troubles Hungary has run into lately perhaps the smartest thing would be to fire Matolcsy. With a new man who has the trust of the financial community it might be easier to start afresh. For example, to begin negotiations for another IMF loan that … Read the rest

Parliamentary investigation Hungarian style

Of course, I'm talking about the sub-committee created to investigate the events of the fall of 2006 after Ferenc Gyurcsány's speech at Balatonőszöd was leaked. To this day we don't know who was responsible for handing the tape over to Viktor Orbán. Of course, I don't have proof of a direct route from informant to the Fidesz party leader, but we can infer, based on Viktor Orbán's public speeches during the summer of 2006, that he knew its contents long before it was released to the public. It was in July that he began … Read the rest

A critique of the New Széchenyi Plan

There are days that I am in a quandary. There are too many topics that should be covered. Every time I find something interesting I jot it down and at the moment I already have five items on my plate. There are, for example, the proceedings of a dreadfully dangerous parliamentary sub-committee that is hard at work falsifying history. Or the allegation that Viktor Orbán was responsible for the disturbances that occurred in September-October 2006. I read a fascinating article about the return of corporal punishment sanctioned by the Hungarian parliament … Read the rest

An opinion on the current Hungarian situation

In Hungarian internet circles in the last four or five days an article has been circulating that is being embraced by many of its readers. The title is "Cipolla" and it was written by László Bartus, editor-in-chief of Amerikai-Magyar Népszava Szabadság, a Hungarian-language weekly published in New York. Bartus was a well-known Hungarian journalist who also published several books before moving to the United States. This morning I was asked by someone in Hungary to translate this article into English because, as I was told, the world has to know what is going … Read the rest