Monthly Archives: April 2012

The Orbán government and the Hungarian Kennel Club

I would never have thought that one day I could combine two of my interests, Hungarian politics and dog breeding, in a single blog post. Although about ten years ago I gave up breeding and showing basset hounds, I’m still active in the Basset Hound Club of America (BHCA). I’m what you might describe as the club genealogist, in charge of the monthly stud books the club receives nowadays in electronic form from the American Kennel Club (AKC). AKC maintains a pedigree registry of purebred dogs and promotes and sanctions … Read the rest

Agricultural subsidies and the Fidesz oligarchs

The news about Fidesz oligarchs speculating on agricultural land simply doesn’t want to go away. The fascination is understandable. Both newspapermen and readers like dirt, and there is plenty of it in this story.

On center stage is József Ángyán, an agricultural expert and professor at Gödöllő Agricultural Academy, whom some consider a hero and others a madman. Ángyán is no politician even though he has been sitting in parliament ever since 2006. He got there through Viktor Orbán’s benevolence. Or, to be more precise, because his services were needed … Read the rest

Party strife in Jobbik

I must say I didn’t pay much attention to an article that appeared on April 16 in HVG about the resignation of the entire Jobbik political leadership in the county of Borsod. If I had read it more carefully, I would have recognized the name of Zsolt Endrésik, the Jobbik county chairman and member of the Hungarian parliament, because in March 2010 I wrote an article about Endrésik and a fellow Jobbik politician, László Holcman, Jr. The article’s title was “A Jobbik két arca” (Two faces of Jobbik). The conclusion … Read the rest

Viktor Orbán didn’t give up: Again talks about a Chinese-Hungarian alliance

As I’m looking through my files it seems as if almost nothing has happened in Chinese-Hungarian relations in the last six months or so. It was in mid-November 2011 that Tamás Fellegi made his last trip to China where he negotiated with Chinese businessmen and bank presidents. After that not much could be heard about major Chinese investments in Hungary. The only things I can recall are the establishment of one medium-sized Chinese-owned factory and the setting up of a Chinese Department at the University of Miskolc.

But now China … Read the rest

The end of the “Hungarian Watergate”?

On today’s Galamus Zsófia Mihancsik wrote one of her superb opinion pieces (“The Hungarian judiciary against the country of mafiosos”) about yesterday’s stunning news that all four of the accused in the UD Zrt. case were found not guilty. The judge also gave a piece of his mind to the prosecutors about the politically motivated accusations and the shoddy investigative work. In Mihancsik’s opinion the news of the day wasn’t so much that the European Commission gave its blessing to initiating talks with the IMF but this not-guilty verdict. She … Read the rest

After the Orbán-Barroso talk: Did Orbán win?

Yesterday I said something to the effect that a very short official meeting can mean only two things: the participants agreed on all points and therefore there was no need to waste time or they disagreed on everything and, after acknowledging their differences, they concluded the meeting.

I should have mentioned another possibility: the real negotiations took place earlier and the meeting was organized simply to reaffirm the understanding of the participants. I believe that this is what happened in Brussels yesterday.

Let me emphasize that it is very difficult … Read the rest

Orbán-Barroso meeting: A breakthrough?

Viktor Orbán arrived in Brussels early because of a scheduled talk at the European Policy Center. In the wake of widespread criticism of his authoritarian tendencies and wrong-headed economic policies, the Hungarian prime minister should have been somewhat humbled and subdued, but in typical Orbán fashion he answered attacks on his policies with attacks of his own on the European Union. In fact, he portrayed Hungary as a “laboratory” for transforming the European Union economically and politically.

I wonder how his audience reacted to this boasting. Here is a small, … Read the rest