Monthly Archives: September 2011

The bill on “public nurturing” is ready to go

Again I have to start with the intricacies of language and Rózsa Hoffmann's choice of words in formulating her ideas on education. The Hungarian word for "public education" is "közoktatás." But Hoffmann is not satisfied with this description of the work of the schools. She is an ideologue for whom school is not just a place where teachers teach their subjects and hope that the students will retain some of the knowledge they acquire. For her school has a "nurturing" (nevelési) function where children also learn about values. What kinds … Read the rest

The latest communication from Brussels to Budapest: No extra levy on telecoms

Last October the Hungarian government levied a hefty tax on the telecommunication companies. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his right-hand man, György Matolcsy, were hoping to receive 61 billion forints over three years from this source.

At the time of the announcement there were some–most notably Jonathan Todd, spokesman for Neelie Kroes, European Commissioner for Digital Agenda–who said that this extra tax on the telecoms might not be legal under European Union rules. A few years ago Brussels decided that member countries should assist the rapid growth of the industry … Read the rest

Where are those mysterious communists?

Originally I wanted to write about LMP's madcap idea of placing a moratorium on building new shopping centers. Perfect timing! While in the region building shopping centers has kept the construction industry alive, in Hungary no new shopping center was built in the last year and a half. A few days ago MTI reported that in the next five years one hundred new shopping centers will be built in Germany. Next year already twenty-six will open their doors. But in Hungary where the construction industry is in ruins LMP suggested that … Read the rest

Gathering storm in the Hungarian economy

First the analysts of UniCredit in London suggested that the Hungarian government might as well crawl back to the IMF and, like Poland, ask for a kind of security loan just in case. Then Nomura sent the same message from London. Now these two are joined by the analysts of Bank of America Merrill Lynch. They warn that there are "extraordinary risks" in Hungary for investors. They claim that the Hungarian government's economic policy lacks credibility and that the financial consolidation is slow and erratic. In addition, of course, there Read the rest

The long arms of Viktor Orbán: The Balsai Report

Yesterday morning when I decided to write about Viktor Orbán's preoccupation with Ferenc Gyurcsány I couldn't have known how appropriate this backward look would be by early evening. A few hours after I finished my article, MTI reported that the prime minister had asked the speaker of the house to make "the Balsai report available to members of parliament." Orbán thought that the availability of this report on the "brutal police attack of 2006" would give the members an opportunity to discuss the details of the report.

What is this … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán’s phobia: Ferenc Gyurcsány

As the day of Ferenc Gyurcsány's questioning by prosecutors approaches we might find it enlightening to look back at the long history of Fidesz efforts to get this far. Because, although most of us no longer remember, the idea of putting the former prime minister in jail was hatched as early as late October or early November of 2006. It was then that Fidesz came up with the idea of a referendum that could put an end to the contemplated reforms. Originally seven questions were posed, out of which three … Read the rest

Imre Kerényi, the brains behind the “Table of the Basic Laws”

I read a line about Imre Kerényi, the man responsible for coming up with the idea of the "Table of the Basic Laws" that every public office will have to set up, which caught my imagination. Gusztáv Megyesi, a well known journalist, called Kerényi's life "practically a complete party history."

Who is the man who stands behind this latest brainstorm of the Orbán regime? Who are the men who accept such a bizarre idea from a man whose past is at best checkered and at worst shows mental instability?

The … Read the rest