Monthly Archives: June 2011

Hillary Clinton’s visit to Budapest

Although it was a very short visit, this article will be long.

Hillary Clinton arrived late at night on the 29th and thus didn't take part in the unveiling of the, in my opinion, very mediocre bronze statue of Ronald Reagan. The real reason for her visit was the official opening of the Lantos Institute, a think tank that is supposed to concentrate on human rights and minority issues.

I will concentrate here on what Hillary Clinton said at the opening of the Lantos Institute. Some reports, such as that … Read the rest

Orbán’s vision of the future: His speech at the Chinese-East European Economic and Business Forum

For a prime minister the lack of even a rudimentary knowledge of economics is a real handicap. Unfortunately, Viktor Orbán is totally unfamiliar with the world of economics and business. Most of his speeches on economic matters are full of misconceptions and wrong facts. I don't quite understand why he doesn't ask somebody to take a look at his texts before he delivers a speech. Perhaps because by now thinks of himself as the fountainhead of all knowledge.

His speech at the Chinese-East European Economic and Business Forum in Budapest … Read the rest

Letter of the Democratic Opposition to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton

26 June 2011, Budapest

Dear Madame Secretary:

It is a great honor for Hungary that you will represent the United States on the occasion of the opening of the Tom Lantos Institute in Budapest.

For us, members of the erstwhile democratic opposition to the one-party communist regime, this is an occasion of utmost importance. Tom Lantos gave his whole-hearted support to the cause of freedom at a time when Hungary was still a dictatorship. We all held Representative Lantos in great esteem; many of us maintained bonds of friendship with … Read the rest

Charles Gati: Tom Lantos and Hungary


It was three decades ago that Joe Biden, then one of the youngest members of the U.S. Senate and today the vice president of the United States, was planning his honeymoon. His foreign policy advisor, Tom Lantos, came up with the idea that Biden and his brand new wife should spend their honeymoon in Hungary. The Bidens followed his advice. Lantos organized everything and to Biden’s surprise he announced that he and his wife Annette would accompany the newlyweds. And indeed they went. All four of them. Biden later … Read the rest

How qualified will the new judges in the Hungarian Constitutional Court be?:The cases of Péter Szalay andEgon Dienes-Oehm

Péter Szalay is a lawyer who has worked in an attorney-client relationship with the top brass of the Fidesz leadership for over ten years. This relationship might cause some eyebrows to be raised about Szalay's suitability for the post.

Although Szalay published a few short articles on the constitution, he is first and foremost a practicing lawyer and as such it is almost impossible to gain an accurate picture of his legal philosophy. There is, for example, the issue of the freedom of speech. He represented Viktor Orbán in a … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán in the limelight: Wen Jiabao in Budapest

Politicians from the European Union might be talking among themselves about placing Viktor Orbán’s Hungary under quarantine, but it is unlikely that the Hungarian prime minister lost too many sleepless night over this leaked piece of news. Even less is he worried about Adam Michnik, the famous Polish dissident, who frets about Orbán’s dismantling of the democratic institutions in Hungary. Most likely he feels on the top of the world at the moment. Hungary’s courtship of China that started in 2002, after Orbán’s defeat at the polls, and continued all … Read the rest

The Hungarian plan to reduce unemployment

First, a little background on what emerged yesterday as "Magyar Munka Terv" (Hungarian Work Plan). The name of the program is awkward not only in English but also in Hungarian. The Orbán government with its love of the word "nemzeti" (national) originally wanted to call it Nemzeti Munka Terv, but most likely because the politicos' historical knowledge is spotty at best they didn't realize that Prime Minister Gyula Gömbös's program for solving the unemployment problem in the first half of the 1930s bore that name. And those who are somewhat … Read the rest