The approaching crisis: Viktor Orbán on a collision course

Below you will find a facsimile of U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s letter to Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. I might add that the letter, along with all the others he received, didn’t make the slightest impression on him. This morning in an interview on Magyar Rádió he emphasized that no one can tell legislators elected by the Hungarian people what kinds of laws to enact. Once the laws are passed, the European Commission may object to some of the laws’ provisions. In such cases the Hungarian government will decide whether the objections are warranted or not.

As far as the negotiations with the IMF-EU delegation are concerned, according to Orbán, they will resume in early January. These negotiations are “important but not indispensable.”

I highly recommend taking a look at a fairly lengthy discussion on the Hungarian situation vis-à-vis the European Union and the IMF-EU negotiations on CNBC. In addition there is an article in Bloomberg and another on the CNBC site.

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Member

“As far as the negotiations with the IMF-EU delegation are concerned, according to Orbán, they will resume in early January”
“According to Orban” is the key phrase in that respect. It seems the markets don’t believe him (forint presently trading at 314 to the Euro and the fall is continuing) and are awaiting for the IMF/EU to give a more reliable confirmation

Gábor
Guest

It is an interesting game, Orbán will send Fellegi to Washington in order to discuss with high level IMF officials, among the Lagarde and directors of the Fund. A highly unusual move gien that the IMF used to send delegations to the respectie countries and not quite common in the sense that contacting the leaders of the IM suggest the intentio to achieve political concessions. Furthermore, the IMF won’t lend money without the EU’s consent, so one can also assume they want to use the IMF to put pressure on the EC. However, otherwise it seems to be a bit desperate move, there is no chnace to get the political cincessions from the IMF without the governments behind it. It would be better to start a diplomatic offensive with those governments and not with the Fund, that has no right to deviate from its rules – see the Rosenberg interview on the issue of an SBA. (Adiitionally, I really could not see Lagarde relaxing the IMF’s pressure on Orbán after Sarkozy had made public his distaste with Orbán in the L’Express.)

An
Guest

What collision course? The Hungarian government has the money to give cars to more government officials (expanding the circle who is entitled to use these cars paid by taxpayers for official AND for personal use)
http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20111229-tobb-tucat-allami-vezeto-kap-kocsit-es-sofort.html

Paul
Guest

Watching the FX rate is like witnessing a slow-motion car crash at the moment.
It’s bad enough sitting here in the UK watching my Hungarian savings being flushed down the toilet, but what must it be like for the Hungarians?Anything that’s imported now costs about 20% more than it did just 6 months ago.
Of course people can live without a new washing machine or TV, but what about petrol and gas? And what else is imported – even quite a lot of food these days.
Still at least OV will be able to boast about an even better ‘balance’ of trade!

Gábor
Guest

Paul: Anything that’s imported now costs about 20% more than it did just 6 months ago.
Well, but the good, but still unreasoably expensive Hungarian wines suddenly turned out to be cheap 5-10 euros ones. 😉

Member

According to the Corriere della Sera in the Parliament of the EU they started to further investigate the Treaty of Lisbon’s seventh article that deals with the voting power of those who disrespect the basic rights of the EU. (No source was given although.)

koeszmeod
Guest

Some1: the source is the Brussel correspondent of Corriere della Sera
It was mentioned in the following Hungarian article:
http://www.hir24.hu/kulfold/2011/12/30/felfuggesztheti-az-unio-a-magyar-szavazati-jogot/

koeszmeod
Guest

Wall Street Journal
Hungary PM’s Mail Traffic Peaks as Year Ends
http://blogs.wsj.com/emergingeurope/2011/12/30/hungary-pm%E2%80%99s-mail-traffic-peaks-as-year-ends/

Member

What is very interesting that there is not one leading political news from any side (left, right, conservative, liberal, etc) that would sympathize with Orban, and only journalist (like Thorpe) or some politicians (and I will not mentions names here as it was often discussed) who have some personal history (wine, dine, entertain) with him who fell temporarily under his spell or bought into Orban’s personal agenda well wrapped in the “benefit of Hungary” blanket. (Now, that Thorpe as a representative of a well respected international news source even now cuddles Orban’s decisions raises some very important questions about integrity, but that is something that the BBC should sort out before they will become that last ones to realize that they missed the real story.)
In any case, it is telling that no one can sympathize wit this mad man (well maybe Chavez).

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

Unfortunately most Hungarians do not have a command of English or understand the subtle meaning of words. Many rely on Gyurcsany acolytes to ‘filter’ their news.
In the NOL, http://nol.hu/kulfold/hillary_clinton_levele_orban_viktornak_-_itt_a_teljes_szoveg#kommentek
The ‘translation’ contains numerous distortions. An example:
“Sok elemző véli úgy, hogy a valódi bírói függetlenség érdekében a Országos Igazságszolgáltatási Tanácsnak kellene adni a bírók kinevezésének és előléptetésének jogát.”
The original says something different.
The translation should state: “Számos szakértő elemző ajánlotta (javasolta), hogy az OITnak szerepet adjanak (szerepet vállaljon) a bírói előléptetésekben és kinevezésekben, a valódi bírói függetlenség biztosítása érdekében.”
That is “be given a role” is not the same as “kellene adni a….” And where is the “jog” that is “right” in the English text? A role means szerep, and not jog.
There are numerous other ‘mistranslations’ in the Hungarian text.

Gábor
Guest

Dear Mr. Zoltani, I’m sure readers of the blog – especially those with English as their mother tongue – will appreciate your translation of the letter. Until they can express their gratitude, please allow me to express my heartfelt congratulations for your emnlightening contribution, especially for your chivalrous intervention saving Ms. Clinton from being misunderstood.

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Csaba K. Zoltani: “Sok elemző véli úgy, hogy a valódi bírói függetlenség érdekében a Országos Igazságszolgáltatási Tanácsnak kellene adni a bírók kinevezésének és előléptetésének jogát.”
I’m afraid the Népszabadság’s translation is quite accurate. Here is the original:
“Many expert analysts have suggested the National Council of Judges be given a role in judicial promotions and appointments in order to ensure true judicial independence.”
In your opinion “many expert analysts” is “some expert analysts” as you translated it?
Why did you leave out the word “real” before “role”? Or what is wrong with “right” being “jog.” I’m afraid either your English leaves something to be desired or something is wrong with your political views.

Member

@Csaba The two translations are very close. This is a the typical desparate hairsplitting to divert the attention away from the content.
I’m sure the government controlled “honest” information sources will point these distorsions out to the Hungarian public.

Wondercat
Guest

@Gábor / Zoltani ur: Well, yes, I indeed, as someone whose mother tongue is English, AM grateful for discussions of how English variously can be put into Hungarian, with explications of why one approach might be preferred over another, or of what emphases are shifted by a particular approach (and of how the shifts are achieved). Thank you, Mr Zoltani, for taking up this matter — and thank you, Gábor, for prompting me to express my gratitude.

Guest

Back to the letter by Hillary Clinton itself:
It really uses strong language – from one diplomat to the other.
I wonder what people-in-the-know in Hungary and Fidesz itself will make out of it.
For me it looks very disturbing.
PS:
The forint oscillated between 314 and 317 today – what will it be like next year ?
I should have exchanged only a few €s – but one big problem with Hungarian banks is: There is no overdraft on your account – so if some electricity or gas bill e g arrives early – it doesn’t get paid and there’s a lot of hassle …
PPS: I wish everybody here a Better New Year!

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

To Csaba K. Zoltán, Your problem is that you cannot translate verbatim because what you came up with is not idiomatic Hungarian.
Let’s start with “role.” Yes, the first meaning of “role” is szerep but in this sentence it means something else. It means “funkció” or in certain cases it can mean “kötelesség” and, yes even “right.”
One thing is sure I wouldn’t ask you to do any translation. One has to be flexible in order to give back the intended meaning. And the intended meaning is that the Council should have a say (should have the right) in the appointment of judges. Doesn’t matter how you slice it.

enuff
Guest

wish I could be like the average Hungarians that didn’t care to read such news, it is slowly destroying my holiday moods..in fact all pleasant moods are all gone by now!

koeszmeod
Guest

Enuff:
I agree. These are the last days of the Weimar Republic.

kormos
Guest

@ Paul
“It’s bad enough sitting here in the UK watching my Hungarian savings being flushed down the toilet….”
Please do not forget that nobody forced you to invest in Hungary. Beside the UK currency will buy more forints. You are lucky!

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kormos to Paul: “Please do not forget that nobody forced you to invest in Hungary.”
Don’t fret. Soon enough no one will invest in Hungary. That will be real joy!!!

enuff
Guest

Paul,
for your sanity, stop watching the FX! just enjoy UK 🙂
Enuff,
Yikes! swiver …
Have anyone seen this “tribute” to “His excellency” titled “Kis ember – hát itt a vége !” ?
just to lighten the mood..it helped me 🙂
http://youtu.be/-4-IzpcFhbU

enuff
Guest

koeszmeod – “These are the last days of the Weimar Republic. ”
Yikes! swiver …

kormos
Guest
and now I insert here the following: “Dear Ms. Scheppele, I have read with interest your analyses published on Paul Krugman’s blog in the New York Times. As the Ambassador of Hungary to the US, I must call attention to factual errors or misconceptions if they occur. Your articles contained such errors and misconceptions, so please allow me to make the following observations. First, the question of legitimacy. You rightly point out that the current government, led by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, enjoys a supermajority in Parliament as a result of free and fair elections. It is worth mentioning that Hungary’s mixed election law is the very reason why the socialist opposition party still has a relatively large representation in the National Assembly. Were Hungarian elections organized based solely on a “winner-takes-all” system used both in the United Kingdom and the United States, and not on the so called “mixed” system, the Socialist Party would today be represented by only two MPs out of the 176 individual constituencies. The new electoral law, which you criticize, maintains this mixed system. The redrawing of the electoral districts was necessary in order to allow a reduction of the size of the Parliament from… Read more »
enuff
Guest

geez, I’ve got to spell check before posting
I mean shiver not swiver !

Member

Lets face it, Viktor likes the Horthy era that much he has decided on an economic policy that will bring back the Pengo….

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Kormos: “and now I insert here the following: “Dear Ms. Scheppele,”
Do you have Mr. Szapary’s permission to publish his private letters?

Member
@Csaba Just out of curiosity .. What do you think? Should a panel be given a role in the judicial appointments or should we just create a list of friends of the Orban family and take the next whenever we need a new judge? The FIDESZ law making cabaret is on. The honorable MPs are getting a bit tired. For instance today the created a law that was numbered CXCX. http://index.hu/belfold/2011/12/30/megjelent_a_szazkilencventizedik_torveny These roman numerals are hard. Perhaps nobody had 200 laws in one year … The law that takes the cake today imho is a bill that allows the government to create special taxes should the state loose a lawsuit on international courts that impacts the budget. No kidding. Say, the extra levies on the banks turn out to be unlawful – the taxpayer will pay for it. Johnny, are your reading this? We miss you … Somebody wanted to introduce a bill to force the doctors to work in case of “medical emergencies”, essentially trying to take their right to strike away. The new constitution is not even in effect but they are already modifying it. It seems the the declaration of the MSzP as a successor of the… Read more »
Member

That letter from Kormos is the version Szapary would like to publish.
The one that will be published is this:
“Dear Ms. Scheppele,
I have read with interest your analyses published on Paul Krugman’s blog.
Yours sincerely,
György Szapáry
Ambassador of Hungary
Washington, DC
December 27, 2011”

Eva S. Balogh
Guest

Mutt: “That letter from Kormos is the version Szapary would like to publish.”
This is a private letter. I wonder whether Szapary knows about “Kormos” publishing it on the internet.

Member

Eva: “I wonder whether Szapary knows about the letter”
Why do we care? Szapary is clearly not representing Hungary with these cynical, ridiculous arguments. Like the independent supreme court augmented with five Fidesz supporters, etc. Szapary’s job description is lying and being ridiculed so let him work for his money. I’m sure there is long wait list of dumb sycophants in the ministry of foreign affairs in BP who would move in the embassy in DC in a heartbeat. Being incompetent in the Fidesz government is very competitive job. Kormos or whoever sends these letters to them doesn’t realize the effect.

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