Another “mad” speech by Viktor Orbán

Just this morning Péter Róna, an economist who spent most of his life in the United States and Great Britain, said in an interview that he had given up trying to make sense of the Orbán government’s so-called economic policy. A few days earlier Ádám Gere, an American-trained economist and a follower of Friedrich Hayek’s economic philosophy, refused even to consider “whatever this gang is doing in economic policy.” When the reporter inquired whether Gere meant the government when he was talking about this bunch [társaság], Gere answered that it doesn’t deserve to be called a government and expressed his opinion that the “whole bunch” is actually a collection of communists. What he meant was that the leading Fidesz party members in their thinking are still followers of the state socialism in which they grew up.

Gere is not a diplomatic man. He doesn’t pussyfoot around. He calls it as he sees it. And twenty-four hours after this interview Viktor Orbán offered a perfect demonstration of what Gere had in mind.

The prime minister, claiming that his batteries needed recharging, spent two weeks relaxing. There was a faint hope that perhaps he would return a little wiser. Well, that’s not the case. He made another speech lasting an hour and a half containing announcements that were described by Privátbankár, an Internet financial paper, as “shocking.”

The speech was delivered in the inner courtyard of the Jurisics fortress in Kőszeg, very close to the Austrian border. The occasion was a festival called Tranzit–Festival on the Border. According to reports, an audience of 1,000 filled the whole courtyard. Among the shocking announcements let me mention first that Orbán finds “the direction of current economic policy the only possible one.” Moreover, this policy is so successful that “its revision is unnecessary.” What is needed is “more perseverance.” The policy will also include a further reduction of the income and corporate taxes.

The heat is not the only problem

When asked about the “economic war of independence,” Orbán explained that this strategy became necessary because of the high sovereign debt load and that “this war must continue.” Victory, as far as Orbán is concerned, is guaranteed against the European Union because Fidesz-KDNP has a two-thirds majority in parliament and “that two-thirds stands steady [áll mint a cövek], and even if there were some kind of problem the fifty percent is guaranteed.”

The two-thirds majority was also used to repurchase important companies. “We bought MOL shares from the Russians, some of the water companies from the French, Rába from the Malaysians, Ferencváros [football club] from the English, and momentarily we will buy E.ON from the Germans.” He quickly added that naturally Hungary doesn’t have only conflicts but also has allies.

As for higher education, Viktor Orbán seems to be convinced that his reforms will make Hungarian higher education the most competitive in Europe. He repeated the incredible idea that the entire cost of the country’s higher education must be borne solely by the students. They would be able to receive student loans that could be paid back over a period as long as thirty years at an interest rate of 1 or 2%.

He repeated his resolve to introduce pre-registration before actual voting. “The system must be changed … There are counterarguments and there will be an uproar [balhé], we will be attacked … We must stand and defend our point of view.”

I don’t think I have to spend much time on the claim that the government’s economic policy needs no revision. This time it was András Schiffer (LMP) who announced that the extreme heat must have affected the prime minister’s senses. While most analysts view the Orbán government’s introduction of the flat tax as its original economic sin, Orbán plans to compound that sin, further lowering taxes for both individuals and business. It sounds crazy.

One also wonders what Orbán had in mind when he announced that victory against the European Union is assured by his government’s two-thirds majority in parliament. On the face of it, the two have nothing to do with each other.

As for the government purchase of the MOL shares from the Russians, if I were in his place I would keep my mouth shut on the subject. If I recall properly, the Hungarian government bought the stock at 23,500 forints; it is currently trading at 16,15o. For a 21.2% stake the Hungarian government paid 1.88 billion euros or about 500 billion forints; if they were to try to unload their stake today, they would have lost about a third of their investment. The Russians, by contrast, who bought the stake in 2009, had a 40% return on their investment.

As for the repurchase of the E.ON gas and electricity company, the Financial Times Deutschland called the idea “madness” and added that it seems that “gulyás communism” is returning to Hungary. The high price of energy will not be solved by nationalizing the utility companies. They can offer cheaper prices only by receiving state aid paid by the same taxpayers who are getting cheaper gas and electricity. That is economic madness, said the paper. Moreover, with yet another nationalization Orbán is playing a dangerous game because foreign investors are already leery about Orbán’s Hungary. Just lately, the Coca Cola Company decided in the last minute not to open a new factory in Hungary. Instead they will be investing in Romania.

And boasting about buying Ferencváros, a football club, is truly ridiculous. It has been a losing proposition for years. Never mind, the government just decided to spend 20 billion forints building the club a new stadium.

What Orbán practically single-handedly is doing to Hungarian higher education is a crime. The brightest and most enterprising students are leaving the country to study in western European countries where they will most likely pay less for a better education than they could receive at home. Some talented students will never even get to college because of the extremely high tuition fees. Orbán, who received a free education and most likely even got a stipend, suddenly thinks that scholarships are unnecessary.

As for voter registration, we will hear endlessly that after all this is how it is in the United States. But in the United States there is no ready-made election list as there is in Hungary. Registration in Hungary’s case serves only one purpose: to limit the number of voters and filter out those who are not likely to vote for Fidesz.

And finally a few more gems from the speech. When talking about voter registration he announced that Hungary had become a “world nation” (világnemzet). “The socialists [szocik] are behind. They are still in Hungary squeezed between borders. Hungary has expanded like tripe beyond the pot.”  The reaction to this kind of nonsense was predictable. Nándor Gúr (MSZP) said that Hungary hasn’t expanded anywhere, especially not from a pot. Hungary is not a dynamic country, but rather is lagging behind. András Schiffer (LMP) couldn’t make heads nor tails of some of the prime minister’s announcements. He couldn’t figure out what the pot and the tripe had to do with voter registration. Neither can I, but then I doubt that even Viktor Orbán knows anymore what he is talking about.

72 comments

  1. A little OT, but not really, as it might help explain how the Fidesz supporters hear what Orbán says.

    My brother-in-law, once a ‘young democrat’, supporting the exciting new party that was going to change Hungary for the better, has ‘grown up’ with Fidesz. He is now a prosperous member of the middle class – two cars, dacha in Balaton, building himself a mansion – and he’s now firmly on the nationalistic right with OV.

    Not only does he lap up the nonsense OV comes out with, he spouts much the same thing himself. To him, the main issue, perhaps the only issue, has become how Hungarian someone is. He constantly make the most bizarre comments about nationalist issues, and his pro-Hungary/anti-everyone else stance is becoming increasingly disconnected from any form of reality.

    And for anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating, a recent rant against foreigners, ended with the English in particular getting it in the neck and climaxed with him blaming us for the unexploded WWII bomb that has recently caused so much disruption to train services between Debrecen and Budapest!

    “What have the English ever done?” He asked, in mid rant, “they’ve done nothing but cause damage and misery round the world”. Some (me included) might argue that this assertion has some merit, but he followed it up by comparing Hungary to England and claiming that, while England had charged round the world causing death and destruction, Hungary had been holding its hands out to the world to provide comfort and help.

    At one point he even invoked Széchenyi as one of the great Hungarian anti-English heroes!

    Orbán can talk what rubbish he likes to his supporters and they’ll believe it.

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  2. Minusio :
    Basically, Orbán confirmed what we knew all along: Hungary is his, he cannot be unseated and he can do as he pleases.

    I know that we differ on that one. He has already complained that unfortunately (because of the EU) he cannot abandon “democracy” completely. So there are some obstacles – apparent even to OV – to his personal rule. Change currently will not be the result of the opposition’s efforts. But I guess that this lunatic will face increasing opposition from people within Fidesz. OV is simply not fit for his job in this shape, he appears to have gone berserk. Whether his successors from Fidesz’ ranks will really improve matters politically, I am not sure but it is difficult to imagine that these ridiculous measures can be sustained for long.

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    1. One or the other of my Hungarian friends (mostly expats) also think that opposition to Orbán might/will arise from within the ranks of Fidész. I highly doubt it. Fidész is built around Orbán. Everybody owes him some, and he made sure that he has no real rivals in his party.

      If he goes or is run over by a truck, we might see some wars of the diadochi. But I doubt even that. We will have to wait for the masses in the streets, from all over the country to demand his resignation. But everyone seems to agree that this is far from being likely within the next decade.

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  3. Paul, WHat does your brother-in-law thinks about your daughter, his niece?

    I have some visitors in Budapest from the USA at this time. A young couple with a small child were touring Europe, and this is the last leg of their trip. After spending a few days in the city, they told my parents that they are very surprised about the lack of youngsters in the city. Apparently they haven’t seen so few kids all around Europe as in Budapest. Something for Orban to pounder maybe.

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  4. “The socialists [szocik] are behind. They are still in Hungary squeezed between borders. Hungary has expanded like tripe beyond the pot.”

    It’s quite clear that what he means is that his moves to allow ethnic Hungarians from outside Hungary to vote in the election, even though their votes will have little or no impact on their finances, while impacting more heavily on those of us who live here. In his mind, Hungary now has a substantial number of citizens all over the world, so it has become a “world nation”. This is an interesting claim, since I’ve known many Hungarian nationals who have lived in virtually every continent on the globe, as well as those who were descended from Hungarian nationals. How giving more of them the vote suddenly makes Hungary a “world nation” is beyond me. I imagine that the vast majority of the new non-resident citizens live within 500 kilometers of the Hungarian border, so the most he should be able to boast about is that his policy makes Hungary a “Eastern European nation”.

    This thinking is about the same as his assertion that nationalizing pensions suddenly made Hungary much less indebted. That is only true in an accounting sense, but that’s all that matters to OV. The reality is that either Hungary has taken the money from people with no intention of giving it back when they retire, or it means that he has just changed the status of the debt in a way that makes Hungary seem less indebted. If anything, it makes Hungary more indebted, because people will expect to get a return on their money at least equal to what it might have earned if invested elsewhere.

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  5. London Calling!

    (Not so) O/T

    Well Orban is committed to free and fair elections (?????).

    Hungary is sending ‘observers’ to the Ukraine (honest!).

    To keep an eye on Viktor Yanukovych!

    Perhaps he will be collecting ‘techniques’ on ‘democracy’ and ‘civil liberties’!!

    Oh – and in passing he liked the ‘high-level’ of the European Football Championships.

    …..birds of a feather…flock……..

    http://en.for-ua.com/news/2012/08/27/151527.html

    Regards

    Charlie

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  6. What is the worst possible way for a prospective share buyer to position him or herself before buying shares? Advertise the fact that you want to buy them. Who has just done this for E.ON shares? Either OV is incredibly incompetent and doesn’t understand how markets work or he does understand how markets work and, for some unfathomable reason, is determined to do his country the greatest possible damage.

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  7. Paul :A little OT, but not really, as it might help explain how the Fidesz supporters hear what Orbán says.
    And for anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating, a recent rant against foreigners, ended with the English in particular getting it in the neck and climaxed with him blaming us for the unexploded WWII bomb that has recently caused so much disruption to train services between Debrecen and Budapest!

    Sorry, Paul, but your brother-in-law doesn’t sound like someone who’s particularly at-ease and self-assured in life.

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  8. GW :
    What is the worst possible way for a prospective share buyer to position him or herself before buying shares? Advertise the fact that you want to buy them. Who has just done this for E.ON shares? Either OV is incredibly incompetent and doesn’t understand how markets work or he does understand how markets work and, for some unfathomable reason, is determined to do his country the greatest possible damage.

    “..greatest possible damage..”–I’ve said this all along.
    Still a mystery remains as to WHY?
    An angry Felcsutian getting back at the ‘whites’?
    A Russian puppet being used to withdraw Hungary
    from the EU and thereby help fragment that organization?

    Stuff to ponder…

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  9. London Calling!

    GW: I think you’ll find that he is exercising an option – already defined in contract – which runs out soon.

    Regards

    Charlie

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  10. Eva S. Balogh :

    tappanch :
    Correction
    The Orban government paid 22,400 HUF/share for Mol’s 21.1%, not 23,500.
    See http://www.nepszava.hu/articles/article.php?id=448085

    Obviously, I remembered wrong. But the loss is still considerable especially since it was paid with borrowed money.

    Here is a more precise report about the purchase price:
    22 467 HUF/share * 22 179 488 shares = 498,306,556,896 HUF

    On May 24, 2011 EUR/HUF was between 268.75 and 271.12, closing at 269.46,
    but the report calculates with 265 EUR/HUF, resulting in a 1,880,402,101 euro expense.

    Source dated April 6, 2012:
    http://www.napi.hu/tozsdek-piacok/ennyit_fizetett_az_allam_a_molert.515732.html

    Current (08-27-2012) value of Orban’s gambling on the stock market is
    16,150* 22,179,488 = 358,198,731,200, i.e. the unrealized loss is about
    140 billion HUF.

    The whole thing is tragicomic, since Orban’s main argument to nationalize the private retirement funds had been that the funds were partially invested in the stock market, which Orban called gambling.

    This maddening contradiction is not unique: Orban blamed the previous government to allow people to run up mortgage debt in Hungary. Now he forces students to take out student loans by eliminating tuition-free education at universities, and he praises himself for creating this indebtedness!

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  11. Paul :
    He’s looking a bit porky too. I can’t imagine him running too far on a football pitch in that condition.

    I ran into OV a few years ago. He was standing on the front stairs of an office building waiting for his car to come round and I was heading in for other reasons. I must say he looked a lot better then.. and much more relaxed… Looks like being PM taken a toll on OV!

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  12. Wonderful. Orban is evolving. Just wonder, how crazy he should get before people realize he has serious issues? Right now, his craziness seem to be contagious in his fan base (people like Paul’s brother-in-law)… it’s like an epidemic.

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    Hungary set to buy out E.ON’s gas distribution business

    Tim Gosling in Prague
    August 27, 2012

    http://www.bne.eu/storyf3938/Hungary_set_to_buy_out_EONs_gas_distribution_business

    View Comment
    1. Madison, this contribution looks to me like a lot of clutter and white noise.

      Anyway, why is everybody going off on a tangent again? This post was not mainly about taking over E.on’s share (who still would have to agree).

      View Comment
  14. GW :
    What is the worst possible way for a prospective share buyer to position him or herself before buying shares? Advertise the fact that you want to buy them. Who has just done this for E.ON shares? Either OV is incredibly incompetent and doesn’t understand how markets work or he does understand how markets work and, for some unfathomable reason, is determined to do his country the greatest possible damage.

    Don’t forget, that we are talking about the government here… which means that OV can change regulations and laws and make E.ON’s life hell in Hungary, and force them to sell.

    View Comment
  15. is this the worst period in human history?
    can millions of idiots populate a small spot in the universe?
    can a few maniacs oppress millions of idiots?
    who can explain it?

    View Comment
  16. The idea of behind the purchase of the E.On is to transform public utilities into non-profit businesses. Which will be a nightmare of course … Because no sane investor would want to invest into non-profit businesses. Without capital the state will have to provide the funds for infrastructure development, but from where?

    Tripe in the pot, he? Bad pot trip instead.

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  17. contra-hunga :
    is this the worst period in human history?
    can millions of idiots populate a small spot in the universe?
    can a few maniacs oppress millions of idiots?
    who can explain it?

    Well, we’re definitely in the ‘dip’ of the cycle: new music is horrendous; my wife and I haven’t found a decent movie to
    go to in months; a ruined painting in Spain is the object of
    veneration…garda, jobbik, matolcsy, giro…yes, I’d say
    the idiots are running amok.

    View Comment
  18. Paul :
    A little OT, but not really, as it might help explain how the Fidesz supporters hear what Orbán says.
    At one point he even invoked Széchenyi as one of the great Hungarian anti-English heroes!
    Orbán can talk what rubbish he likes to his supporters and they’ll believe it.

    Széchenyi is one of my hero’s. He did a lot to improve the country by engaging public works that lifted the population. Hungary is still benefiting from some of the things that Széchenyi was able to get done before the ruling class drove him to suicide! I don’t see anyone doing any of this these days.

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  19. This case about E.On again proves that Orbán has become a mere spokesman for Simicska. The fact is that Simicska would like to control the whole economy. In this nasty show Orbán’s task has become to discourage foreign investors to stay in Hungary so that Simicska can purchase everything at knock-down prices. From the point of view of an organised criminal, this is all very much rational.

    All the rest can go to hell.

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  20. LwiiH :

    Paul :
    He’s looking a bit porky too. I can’t imagine him running too far on a football pitch in that condition.

    I ran into OV a few years ago. He was standing on the front stairs of an office building waiting for his car to come round and I was heading in for other reasons. I must say he looked a lot better then.. and much more relaxed… Looks like being PM taken a toll on OV!

    He looks absolutely terrible and it is not only the weight gain which is considerable.

    View Comment
  21. Tappanch: “Orban blamed the previous government to allow people to run up mortgage debt in Hungary. Now he forces students to take out student loans by eliminating tuition-free education at universities, and he praises himself for creating this indebtedness!”

    I also wonder how much this student-loan idea will cost the taxpayer. One or two percent interest rate on loans? To be paid back in twenty or thirty years? How is that possible?

    View Comment
  22. Eva S. Balogh :
    Tappanch: “Orban blamed the previous government to allow people to run up mortgage debt in Hungary. Now he forces students to take out student loans by eliminating tuition-free education at universities, and he praises himself for creating this indebtedness!”
    I also wonder how much this student-loan idea will cost the taxpayer. One or two percent interest rate on loans? To be paid back in twenty or thirty years? How is that possible?

    And of course when all this comes tumbling, Orban will reassure the minions that it was
    the damn, foreign bankers (read “jews”) who’ve done it to Hungary AGAIN!

    View Comment
  23. Some1 :
    Paul, WHat does your brother-in-law thinks about your daughter, his niece?
    I have some visitors in Budapest from the USA at this time. A young couple with a small child were touring Europe, and this is the last leg of their trip. After spending a few days in the city, they told my parents that they are very surprised about the lack of youngsters in the city. Apparently they haven’t seen so few kids all around Europe as in Budapest. Something for Orban to pounder maybe.

    A very good question, Some1. It’s a very good job I don’t speak Hungarian well enough to join in these ‘conversations’, or I fear there would be a very big and long-term split in our family.

    I really don’t know how to take these sort of statements from him. After all, he knows that I am English, that we live (mostly) over there these days, and that his niece and nephew (and God children!) are half English. And yet he consistently attacks ‘our’ country and my people. Included in his most recent rant was the accusation that the Jews were running Britain. God knows what he’s going to say if Labour win the next election and we have a Jewish Prime Minister!

    Getting back to my kids and their uncle – he seems to like them and is happy to play with them, etc, in fact he’s a pretty good dad and uncle. Maybe he just doesn’t make the connection – maybe it’s just designed to annoy his sister (my wife) and have a go at her for living in England and marrying a non-Hungarian?

    But his latest thing is to insist that his eldest son learn German at school, not English (“what does he need English for?”) – which is right in-line with Fidesz education ‘policy’.

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  24. Bowen :

    Paul :A little OT, but not really, as it might help explain how the Fidesz supporters hear what Orbán says.
    And for anyone who thinks I’m exaggerating, a recent rant against foreigners, ended with the English in particular getting it in the neck and climaxed with him blaming us for the unexploded WWII bomb that has recently caused so much disruption to train services between Debrecen and Budapest!

    Sorry, Paul, but your brother-in-law doesn’t sound like someone who’s particularly at-ease and self-assured in life.

    I know what you mean, Bowen, but oddly he comes across as very at ease and self-assured. He is, after all, not only doing very well indeed personally in Orbánisztán, but he is very happy to be on the winning side and see his hero in charge of the country and his enemies crushed.

    The reason I keep mentioning my b-in-l is just that – he is such an ‘ideal’ Orbáiszta. The middle classes are the key to Western democratic success, and my b-in-l is a good indicator of how the Hungarian middle class think and feel. They are happy, they are doing very well under Orbán I, he is one of them, they understand him and he understands them. They may worry about the economy from time to time, but mostly they don’t, as they are doing very well. And if they do worry, it’s not for long – after all they know there’s no chance of any organised opposition, and the ‘people’ are obviously never going to cause any trouble. And, ultimately, of course, if it does all go tits up, they have the money and contacts to survive, or get out.

    Why shouldn’t they continue to support Orbán? There’s no way they’re going to support a ‘socialist’ or Liberal government, and they don’t take Jobbik seriously (nothing Jobbik does affects them – except maybe to get some of those filty Gypsies off the streets).

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  25. I just read that from here on the price of eggs/ kg must be also indicated on the containers. You know why? Because foreign chickens produce smaller eggs than the Hungarian chickens.

    In the United States eggs are sold normally by the dozen and the price differs depending on the size of the eggs: small, medium, large, extra large.

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  26. LwiiH :

    Paul :
    He’s looking a bit porky too. I can’t imagine him running too far on a football pitch in that condition.

    I ran into OV a few years ago. He was standing on the front stairs of an office building waiting for his car to come round and I was heading in for other reasons. I must say he looked a lot better then.. and much more relaxed… Looks like being PM taken a toll on OV!

    Much the same happened to Blair (except the weight gain). He went into office as a fit, relaxed young man, and he came out looking (and acting) like a demented weird old bloke. He’s the same age as me and he now looks 15 or 20 years older!

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  27. An :
    Wonderful. Orban is evolving. Just wonder, how crazy he should get before people realize he has serious issues? Right now, his craziness seem to be contagious in his fan base (people like Paul’s brother-in-law)… it’s like an epidemic.

    Quite common in autocratically minded rulers, An. But it’s not an epidemic, it’s not a one way thing, it’s a sort of closed feed-back loop They lap this madness up and feed it back to him, which only makes him worse. We can only hope this loop intensifies and speeds up to the point where it self-destructs. But what a mess it’s going to leave behind.

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  28. Paul, I used to have a friend since high school who was an anti-semite. Not on a “bad way”, but on a smooth “Jews are responsible for Hungary’s misery” way. That I was Jew was beside the point. Later my friend married a Jew. THe grandma was not happy, as she is member of the Jobbik, but she loves her grandkids, no question there. I find that most anti-semite lives in denial. Personally non of them meet with the Jew that is set as a stereotype. Even Bayer references Jews from long time ago, or Jews who he has not personally known. Bayer, Jobbik, your brother-in-law, my friend’s mother only uses the word Jew as a deregatory word, and sometimes they hit bull eye. Yes, there are Jews in politics, that fits Bayer and his kind’s agenda, or if they are not Jews then socialists or lefties or they are friend of the Jews. Did Bayer or your brother-in-law actually sad a bad thing about anyone without using some bad complement. So and so did this or that, he must be a Jew or ex-communist or a lefty….. All Fidesz and Jobbik members are great, when they are not then we find out that they must be a Jew, gypsy or ex-communist and so forth.

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  29. Eva S. Balogh :
    I just read that from here on the price of eggs/ kg must be also indicated on the containers. You know why? Because foreign chickens produce smaller eggs than the Hungarian chickens.
    In the United States eggs are sold normally by the dozen and the price differs depending on the size of the eggs: small, medium, large, extra large.

    Orban’s logic trickles down… How about simply indicating if it is export or import if that is a concern or just as you said (and it is also a Canadian practice), use the small, large, extra large indicator. Price/kg? How will they actually make sure that each package is the same weight? THe could call for a class action lawsuit in a year. lol

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  30. Turanian chickens are the best!!

    First I though this chicken and egg conundrum is from the Hircsarda (the Hungarian Onion). But it’s real.

    So is this: compared to the European celsius scale the Hungarian celsius degree became a lot stronger recently. That is why warmer in Hungary. “The Hungarian Celsius is 1.2-1.3 stronger” said Viktor Orban in a recent speech. Since we are more skillful we can create more heat in this little country than the bigger European countries.

    According to the government more improvements are coming: the Hungarian right angle is expected to be 93 degrees next year.

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  31. Some1 :

    How about simply indicating if it is export or import if that is a concern or just as you said (and it is also a Canadian practice), use the small, large, extra large indicator. Price/kg? How will they actually make sure that each package is the same weight? THe could call for a class action lawsuit in a year. lol

    Absolute madness. And the very idea that foreign eggs are intrinsically smaller than Hungarian ones. These people are truly crazy.

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  32. Mutt Damon :

    Turanian chickens are the best!!

    First I though this chicken and egg conundrum is from the Hircsarda (the Hungarian Onion). But it’s real.

    So is this: compared to the European celsius scale the Hungarian celsius degree became a lot stronger recently. That is why warmer in Hungary. “The Hungarian Celsius is 1.2-1.3 stronger” said Viktor Orban in a recent speech. Since we are more skillful we can create more heat in this little country than the bigger European countries.

    You must be kidding! It’s becoming truly bizarre.

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  33. Paul :
    He’s looking a bit porky too. I can’t imagine him running too far on a football pitch in that condition.

    – Or it’s a body armor under that tasteful attire? Even the TEK should earn their keep..!

    However, my latest favorite is this image:

    http://mandiner.blog.hu/2012/08/26/don_orban_es_a_tobbiek

    Click on the picture and you’ll end up on his very own Facebook page, can enjoy in full resolution.
    Worth it!
    (Any reference to ethnic tribal leaders is totally groundless, in case someone even here would come up with the idea, so the answer is NO, he isn’t resembles, it’s only a fidget of your imagination…)

    The new Hungarian Celsius even surpasses my other favorite, “the light of the burning Krásna Hôrka Castle” referenced to the March 15. National day.

    The sentence in Hungarian:

    Tisztelt Ünneplők!

    Krasznahorka égő várának fényénél, a nemzetközi pénzügyi rendszer felől érkező morajban, az európai gazdasági válság hullámverésének kellős közepén meg kell kérdeznünk és meg kell válaszolnunk a legnagyobb kérdést.

    – and in (my) English

    Honored Celebrators!

    By the light of the burning Krásna Hôrka Castle, in the rumble coming from the international financial system, in the middle of the backwash from the European economic crisis, we have to ask, and need to answer the biggest question.

    – When Bram Stoker is a co-author… I wouldn’t even read up loud in the local pub at two AM…

    The whole speech in Hungarian here:
    http://www.orbanviktor.hu/beszed/nem_leszunk_gyarmat_

    We didn’t deserved anybody better, did we?

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  34. I would like to repeat my old observation.
    The gold standard of government must be the Ferenc Deak non-violent intelligent model.
    The Orban clique (banda) has violated every principle once laid down by Deak.
    Respect for humanity, law, nation….

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  35. Ordinary Hungarians are so upset with the negative anti-Orban comments from inside or outside that they sink to level of other sensitive classes. Jews and Gipsies.
    This is the squaring of the circle.
    The pain is there. The pain is the direct result of the Orban clique’s sins.

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  36. “Orbán plans to compound that sin, further lowering taxes for both individuals and business.

    let me just summarise the success story :-
    – gain from cancellation of education subsidies (+)
    – provision of student loan (liability (-))
    – potential non-payments from above (liability (-))
    – gain via interest earned from student loan 1%-2% (+)
    – reduce taxation in personal & business tax (-)
    – spent on football club * i,e, money pit (-)
    – building of stadium (-)

    That’s all I could think of at this moment, am sure there are many more I missed.

    I’m dreading the announcement of VAT increment.

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  37. London Calling!

    O/T – The National Death Service in Hungary (Motto “If you must be ill – die quick” – yes I know it’s bad English but it’s that Google translation again.) will run out of drugs in September.

    Matolcsy’s ploy of reducing the drug budget to squeeze into the 3% deficit of GDP EU rule has backfired – making the drugs even more difficult to obtain.

    It is just shear callousness to cut the bill without having a proper medical strategy and knowing the drug budget will run out – only the ill and weak will suffer – he must have known that?

    Already drugs are rationed simply by the pharmacists not stocking them – so now they will become even harder to get.

    As the motto suggests – don’t ever be ill in Hungary – but if you are die quick!

    http://www.realdeal.hu/20120827/hungary-public-health-fund-faces-huf-70-billion-drug-budget-hole/

    Regards

    Charlie

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  38. “As the motto suggests – don’t ever be ill in Hungary – but if you are die quick!”

    Another solution: If you’re intend to avoid all the trouble being ill and miserable, die while you’re young and healthy!

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  39. Paul: “he comes across as very at ease and self-assured. He is, after all, not only doing very well indeed personally in Orbánisztán, but he is very happy to be on the winning side and see his hero in charge of the country and his enemies crushed.”

    Currently this behaviour means a stabilisation of Orbanisztan but from what you write he will be happy to change sides when necessary (as many other people, too). We could ask here on the blog how many people who have experienced communism before 1989 know how opportunism looks like. You may not like it, and it does stabilise whatever type of system the ruling people install. But you need not worry either that these people would not know when and how to change their minds and actions. I assume that many people who now “support” or tolerate Orban do not believe in everything he does or says beyond the instantaneous gain that this may have (at work, in social life etc.). For those people who do suffer in Orbanisztan and who are insulted and stigmatised, this is a poor consolation, no doubt.

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    1. Kirsten: “But you need not worry either that these people would not know when and how to change their minds and actions.”

      But what if these people are totally apathetic, ignorant, disorganised, gullible?

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  40. Minusio, if they are apathetic, they also do not emphatically support Orban currently. I referred specifically to what Paul wrote and he did not describe a person that is apathetic. He spoke of a person that is quite successful currently and who repeats whatever is currently in fashion. Perhaps he should be reminded that currently Germany would make a poor ally for Hungary in the quest for “revisions” (at least this is what I hope :-) ), so what the gain is in learning German instead of English is open to me.

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    1. Kirsten: You are quite right, support for Orbán is dropping rapidly. Still, he won’t lose any election as long as he so chooses.

      Paul’s brother-in-law seems to me to be just another case in point: newly-rich (or at least well to do) people with no humanistic education and no civic conscience or culture make up the present Hungarian middle class.

      Germany will not support any revisionism, I’m sure. To learn German instead of English may have the advantage of getting a job more easily, as the German economy seems to be in much better shape than that of the UK. But as a general idea, I’d still advise to learn Latin and ancient Greek first. And then go to the UK, the US or Germany or China to learn a modern language.

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  41. And another point: with people who are “totally apathetic, ignorant, disorganised, gullible” it would be difficult in any country to establish a stable democracy. People must want participation.

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  42. Looking at that picture of Orbán reminds me of that old joke that my wife told me (for those new here, she’s Hungarian):

    How do you recognise a “Tiszta Magyar” (i e real Hungarian) :

    Answer:

    It’s easier to jump over him than to walk around him …

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  43. Kristen, the problem is not whether or not the people believes to Mr.Orban, the real question is to whom to believe to.
    At the moment there is no convincing alternative, whatsoever, and this is the real problem in Hungary.
    Everyone in their right mind knows, that this isn’t what they wanted – but what other possibilities are there, if I may ask?

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  44. spectator, I understand that there is no convincing alternative at the moment. But politicians in democracies are not born as such but are “recruted” from the public. The “other possibility” then consists in that people who want change make up their minds about their interests and possible programmes, do not shy away from public office and the many conflicts that it necessarily brings about (in particular as resistance from the beneficiaries of the current situation will be generally strong and hidden in some cases) and become politicians. Not at all simple or straightforward. But on a positive note, you may not find the current state of the opposition convincing, but I appreciate that a number of new organisations have been established in the past two years, so that there are people out there who do what I consider to be the way out of this misery. But it needs dedication and endurance.

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  45. wolfi :

    Looking at that picture of Orbán reminds me of that old joke that my wife told me (for those new here, she’s Hungarian):

    How do you recognise a “Tiszta Magyar” (i e real Hungarian) :

    Answer:

    It’s easier to jump over him than to walk around him …

    I remember so well all the jokes about fat Americans. Hungarians are “converging” with great gusto.

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  46. spectator :
    Kristen, the problem is not whether or not the people believes to Mr.Orban, the real question is to whom to believe to.
    At the moment there is no convincing alternative, whatsoever, and this is the real problem in Hungary.
    Everyone in their right mind knows, that this isn’t what they wanted – but what other possibilities are there, if I may ask?

    Don’t be silly. One of the most eligible, proven, political commodity in Europe is BAJNAI.
    And forget all the silly goose stuff: everyone made his ‘bones’ back in the heyday
    of regime change. Bajnai is celebrated and decorated, all over Europe. It’s only in Hungary
    that Orban and Fidesz have managed somehow to blacken his name.

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  47. Kirsten :
    And another point: with people who are “totally apathetic, ignorant, disorganised, gullible” it would be difficult in any country to establish a stable democracy. People must want participation.

    The kind of participation that the run of the mill Hungarian wants is to listen, wide-eyed,
    to the rousing nonsense of his nationalistic leader. They want to yell and cheer. Rebecca West writing in the 1930s (Black Lamb and Grey Falcon) talked of the intelligent table-talk of the Croats as opposed to the flighty-headed nonsense talked about in Budapest. Nothing
    has changed. Hungary–a prepubescent society forever stuck in wailing childhood-

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  48. Petofi: “They want to yell and cheer.”

    Really? Certainly there are some who yell and cheer but I think the majority is watching the madman at work in either increasing despair or unchanged vague hope.

    I read with interest that you expect “intelligent table talk” in Croatia, while I had the impression that the topics so relevant currently to Fidesz and its followers are quite similar to those high on the agenda of Tudjman and his followers a decade or so ago, and certainly not forgotten by now.

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