Viktor Orbán’s “Country Protection Plan” and its aftermath

Yesterday when I wrote my post about Viktor Orbán’s latest action plan the complete text of the speech was not yet available. Today it is, and therefore I think I should mention a few choice sentences from it before I talk about what we learned about the “birth” of the proposal that by now most people think is not only ill-conceived but also illegal.

The speech was studded with anti-foreign and anti-capitalist pronouncements. According to Orbán “people who speculate on ruining the Hungarian people or who want to get rich at their expense … are betting on the wrong horse.” He indicated that there are forces in the world that want “to assault Hungary.” In fact, Hungary is not the only victim of “these speculators.” It was in the interest of “these groups” to lend money to the countries and here is the result: “Europe is in trouble. But not so Hungary!” (This last sentence is incomprehensible. After all, Hungary is very heavily indebted which, according to Orbán himself, is the paramount reason for Hungary’s economic woes.)

Orbán also emphasized in his speech that the government “studied the legal situation and found that Hungarian law allows Parliament to intervene in the case of mortgage contracts and change their terms.” It turns out that even as Viktor Orbán uttered these words he knew full well that this statement was untrue.

You may recall that János Lázár, the leader of the Fidesz parliamentary caucus, claimed that the idea of paying off forex loans in one big lump sum at a reduced rate came from his fellow MPs. The caucus unanimously accepted the proposal and asked the government to consider the idea. Already yesterday I had my doubts about the veracity of this description of the chain of events. Well, today my doubts were confirmed.

The true story was revealed by Index, a very popular Internet paper, that got hold of a document dated September 9, that is Friday. According to the document the lawyers at the Ministry of Administration and Justice (Tibor Navracsics) expressly warned the government that the move would be illegal. Thus, the plan had been hatched earlier. Perhaps as early as late July or early August when it became clear that the economic forecasts were based on wrong assumptions and that further austerity measures were necessary. At this point Viktor Orbán made a short announcement about the gravity of the situation and said that he would deliver a speech that would contain all his answers to the crisis.

Most likely it was at this junction that someone, most likely György Matolcsy, came up with the “solution” to one of the many problems Hungary is facing at the moment. But surely, the legality of the proposal had to be ascertained. Hence the September 9 document coming from Tibor Navracsics’s ministry. The legal opinion indicated that there was no possibility of getting around Hungarian legal theory and practice, and the recommendation was to abandon the plan. But Orbán went ahead anyway, though he did mention in his speech the possibility of negative reaction from “international forums.” No problem, Hungary will handle it.

Since then the Banking Association announced that early repayment of foreign currency debt at an exchange rate 20% below market rates is “unacceptable … because it leads to substantial financial, macroeconomic and growth risks.” According to the news release “the banks will have no other choice but to turn to the Constitutional Court and the relevant authorities of the European Union.” The Austrian banks backed by the Austrian government are planning to do the same at the European Commission and the European Court of Justice.

Yet it seems that Orbán will go ahead with this harebrained idea in spite of the fact that many economists who actually sympathize with the current government tried to change his mind. You may recall that the Monetary Council responsible for setting interest rates was enlarged by four new members, all Fidesz appointees. Apparently these people went to Kötcse, where right-wing intellectuals and members of the government and Fidesz meet for a day of picnicking and a series of lectures and discussions. There they tried to talk Orbán out of such a move. They failed. They even talked to Lajos Kósa. Perhaps he can influence Orbán. No go. I really wonder where all this dilettantism and bullheadedness will lead the country and with it the Orbán government.

Just to give you an idea of how haphazardly this government is running the country I will copy here a page out of Viktor Orbán’s parliamentary speech yesterday. We are able to take a look at the pages in front of the speakers on the podium because László Kövér, who doesn’t like journalists, exiled them out of sight, way above the podium. The journalists were rather unhappy until they found out that with a good camera they can see the notes of the speakers directly underneath them. Here is the page from Orbán’s speech:

The text of Viktor Orbán’s speech

Original ideas are scrapped in the last minute by the prime minister himself. So much so that there is no time to edit the document and make it more legible. New laws are introduced in the same haphazard fashion without any discussion with experts or regard for the people involved.

But if those tricky journalists up there could see Orbán’s notes they could also catch a glimpse of the notes of Ferenc Gyurcsány who was allowed to say a few words in connection with his case before the vote that stripped his immunity. It was a very hard-hitting speech in which he accused Viktor Orbán of staging a show trial and asked democratically minded people to unite against the dictatorial one-party system in the making. His speech lasted 10 minutes and his notes looked like this:

Notes taken by Ferenc Gyurcsány before delivering his speech

Gyurcsány obviously doesn’t need too many notes. The topics outlined above were faithfully and eloquently followed in his speech which I will translate tomorrow, but for the time being here is the original video:

 

Enjoy!

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Member

Please sign. This has nothing to do with your thoughts about Gyurcsany.
http://www.peticiok.com/tiltakozas_a_gyurcsany_ferenc_elleni_koncepcios_eljaras_miatt

Paul
Guest

Those notes say a lot about the two men. Somebody somewhere is doing a psychology PhD on all this…
Mutt – I signed (or at least I think I did!) Very strange list of countries though – there was no GB or UK, or England, or Anglia, or Nagy Britania (so I ended up in Debrecen), but there was a USSR!!
An internet site that appears to be older than the internet…

Member

Yeah, I noticed it too. I wrote them an e-mail. Well, comrade! This is the ultimate political flexibility. You can be in the good old CCCP.

Johnny Boy
Guest

You are teaming up to allow a man, on political grounds, to break the law without consequences, and all this without any attempt at backing up your claims about the prosecution.
Nice “democratic” attitude.

Ron
Guest

Just seen on MTV1. The education reform/changes are obslete as there is no money. So no career path development, jobs or other changes in education.

Ron
Guest

Mutt/Paul: I think the speech of OV is just a diversion. This in order to charge Gyurcsany and bring bad news via the ministeries.
If people in Kotcse cannot convince VO, than no petition can do this either. This guy just run a program in his own mind, and nobody knows how he is exactly thinking and/or reacting.

Member

@JB “attempt at backing up your claims about the prosecution”
The prosecutions should back up it’s claims. Or am I missing something about human rights? Can you prove your not a rapist? (You don’t have to, I’m pulling your leg). As the time passes this witch hunt stinks more and more.

Paul
Guest

“You are teaming up to allow a man, on political grounds, to break the law without consequences, and all this without any attempt at backing up your claims about the prosecution. Nice “democratic” attitude.”
Brilliant! Classic JB.
I can almost hear Eric Blair smiling ironically.

Member

I was reading this “You are teaming up to allow a man, on political grounds, to break the law without consequences, ” and I thought to myself, My goodness finally our Johnny Boy woke up. Johnny Boy sees what OV is doing, then of course I kept reading and I figured out that the sky is not falling. Indeed our JOhnny Boy is still disillusioned. bahahaha I say all Hungarians should team up to not allow Orban, on political grounds to break the law, to continue to give a bad name to Hungary, and ruin our country!

Ron
Guest

In addition to the aforementioned article and the one from yesterday. Please find an article in Dutch (use GT).
http://www.kuifjeinhongurie.com/
In this article it is stated that the main beneficiaries of this plan are Fidesz members (although i am sure that also Mszp members will benefit from this) and various cities.

GW
Guest

Johnny Boy:
What is the likelihood that anyone involved in the MOL share deal will (a) be investigated, (b) have their immunity lifted, and (c) be prosecuted for either mismanagement or insider trading?
That deal is either theft or stupidity on a scale dwarfing any supposed MSzP scandal by at least two orders of magnitude.
Enjoy your one-party government, Johnny Boy, but be sure to keep your wallet hidden.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Mutt Damon: “prosecutions should back up it’s claims”
They will back up their claims before the court. The time has not come yet.
But what you are doing is just laying about, plain and simple. You have your judgement ready even before getting to know anything particular about the current matter.

Johnny Boy
Guest

Paul: “Brilliant! Classic JB.”
Isn’t that exactly what you are doing?
Where do you find the fault in my logic?
A genuine answer maybe?
GW: make your case. Find the law you suspect has been violated, and go report to the police or the prosecution. What keeps you from doing that? For a start, you could maybe find the law that has been broken and show us, so that we may become more knowledgeable. And, by the way, how do your questions invalidate the Sukoró case?

Johnny Boy
Guest

Paul: here, let me break it down for you, as Vándorló did for the utterly hopeless Eva in the other topic (in vain, however).
You say Gyurcsány is being victimized by a trumped up charge. The prosecution has its very specific allegations, and they claim their statements are supported by valid documents in their possession. Let’s see:
1. Can you counter the prosecution’s claims? I haven’t even seen an attempt.
2. Do you have any evidence that the prosecution is controlled by the government? (Your supposition that supreme prosecutor Polt, having been a Fidesz-affiliated man, is nothing else than a puppet doesn’t qualify for an evidence.)
3. Even if the prosecution is under the influence of the government (as it is in many countries of the EU, but let’s put that aside now), do you have proof that the courts are too?
Let’s see how you manage to get through these points one by one.

Member

@JB “1. Can you counter the prosecution’s claims? I haven’t even seen an attempt”
No shit Sherlock. You just said that “the time has not come yet” for the prosecution to lay out their arguments.
This reminds me on a dialog from the movie Tanu (Witness) about the 50’s.
“Comrade Pelikan. Here is your testimony. Please read it!”
“Excuse me comrade Virag, but this is the verdict!”
“Oops. My bad.”

Johnny Boy
Guest

Mutt: “This reminds me on a dialog from the movie Tanu (Witness) about the 50’s.”
You are talking utter nonsense.
Completely nonsense.
You intentionally deleted my sentence before the one you quoted. Here is the original:
“They will back up their claims before the court. The time has not come yet.”
Do you think they are before the court already? Gyurcsány hasn’t even been accused yet!
Say, are you intentionally falsifying every single claim of mine or you really don’t understand one bit of all the world that surrounds you?
The prosecution has long ago disclosed the basis of their motives for hearing Gyurcsány as the accused. That you ignore their claims is your problem alone.
And you still have no answer to any of those 3 points, not even with your post as ‘reply’.

GW
Guest
Johnny Boy, The transaction is not transparent, we do not know the counterparties, we do not know how they were paid and we do not know when and how it was negotiated. We do, however, know the market values of the shares and we do know that it was purchased well above market price. By every possible measurement, this is gross mismanagement of government funds; the only question is whether this is due to incompetence, which the current government believes to be prosecutable, indeed retroactively prosecutable, or is part of an insider trading scheme, which is prosecutable under the The Hungarian Capital Markets Act. I do not have an opinion on the Sukoró case, simply the observation that whatever the merits, in comparison to the MOL deal, Sukoró is insignificant, peanuts. There is no evidence that Gy.F. enriched himself from the deal (let alone had need to enrich himself) nor were the Hungarian people grievously injured by the deal, while with MOL, either some people were terribly incompetent and made a very bad purchase or they knew what they were doing and intentionally made a bad purchase for Hungary with a great deal of money for themselves earned on the… Read more »
Johnny Boy
Guest

How was the market price in the moment they bought the MOL shares?

GW
Guest

Johnny Boy,
You seem to be confusing an off-market purchase price with that on the exchange. In any case, Surgut bought its shares in 2009 and realized a 40% profit on their sale in May of this year at 23500. At the day of the purchase in May, the market price was about 7% lower (around 22600) and it has since steadily dropped to its present price of around 14700, a loss in value of about 37%.

Member

Actually it would be very interesting to put Orban in trial if they have to sell one single share from the MOL deal, now that is totally tanked. How is that for mismanagement and using state funds for gambling? Hungary did not loose with the Sukuro deal (may would not make as much money as they would hoped for, but did not loose.) WHo should be on trial then for not taking their fiduciary responsibilities seriously?
The whole Sukor thing is a diversion from the real issues Hungary faces now.

peter litvanyi
Guest

Dear Mutt,
thanks for posting the link. I signed it /of course/ and I am hoping most of us here are going to do do the exact same thing. You are right, this has nothing to do with Feri /his is long and convoluted story/.
Sincerely:
Comrade Litvanyi
People’s Republic of Boulder

Member

Laszlo Kover kicked out the journalists from the parliament and from the building that hosts the PM’s offices who took pictures of the Orban speech.
Not the particular photographers but ALL the photographers of the Index.hu and origo.hu
Freedom of speech! Here we come …

Ron
Guest

Btw this is the reaction from Matolcsy to the Austrian government (copy of letter in English). According to this letter only 10% of the people will use this settlement of the Forex loans.
http://egyenlito.blog.hu/2011/09/19/matolcsy_lebuktatta_a_vegtorlesztest

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