“National policy”: Hungarian government’s strategy concerning Hungarian minorities in the Carpathian Basin

I would like to write briefly about something that is a specifically Hungarian political concept: “nemzetpolitika.” One could translate the word into English easily enough as “national policy,” but that would give rise to misunderstanding. While the English phrase “national policy” means “a broad course of action adopted by a government in pursuit of its objectives” in general, the Hungarian “national policy” means something entirely different. In the Hungarian context it means the government’s attitude toward and subsequent policies directed at Hungarian nationals living abroad, especially in the surrounding countries, areas that belonged to the Kingdom of Hungary before 1920.

I don’t think that it surprises anyone that right- or right-of-center governments are normally much more concerned with issues relating to Hungarian minorities living outside of Hungary. The government formed in 1990 was a coalition of conservative parties whose prime minister in one of his very first official speeches announced that “in spirit he wanted to be the prime minister of fifteen million Hungarians.” And in the constitution adopted in 1989 there was a reference to the Hungarian government’s obligations toward those Hungarians who after 1920 found themselves outside of the new Hungarian borders.

It is perhaps inevitable that Hungarian governments struggle with the policies affecting ethnic Hungarians in the neighboring countries. Throughout the past twenty-two years Hungarian governments have been fairly generous in their support of Hungarian schools, theaters, book publishing, and even political parties in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine. But when conservative governments (1990-1994 and 1998-2002) were in power, relations between Budapest and the Hungarian political parties in the neighboring countries intensified. This was especially the case during the first Orbán administration when the Budapest government wanted to strengthen ties between the Hungarian communities abroad and Fidesz, the party. Viktor Orbán hoped to influence ethnic Hungarians, especially in Romania and Slovakia, to be selective in their support of Hungarian governments. That is, not to support whatever government happened to win the elections in Hungary but only a government led by Fidesz.

The Orbán government was so aggressive in its quest to spread its influence in the neighboring countries that the inevitable happened: strained relations with Bucharest and Bratislava. Yet the Orbán government forged ahead, setting up all sorts of formal institutions. Among them was Magyar Állandó Értekezlet (MÁÉRT, an acronym that means “for today”).

MÁÉRT meets yearly. This year’s meeting held yesterday was their eleventh gathering. The first was held in 2000 during  Viktor Orbán’s initial stint as prime minister of Hungary. Representatives of Hungarian political parties, both domestic and in the neighboring countries, get together and hammer out a common program. I might add right here that there were two parties who refused to sign this year’s final document: the Ukrajnai Magyar Demokrata Szövetség (Hungarian Democratic Alliance of Ukraine) and MSZP.

Meeting of MÁÉRT in parliament
hirado.hu

Zsolt Semjén, head of  the Hungarian Christian Democratic Party (KDNP) and “deputy prime minister” (a position that is alien to Hungarian administrative tradition), is responsible for looking after “national policy.” In this capacity he chairs these meetings. The prime minister is normally on hand to deliver a ringing opening speech full of lofty national ideas.

This time Orbán was fairly specific about Hungary’s role in the Carpathian Basin and brought up Hungary’s resolve to gain an economic foothold in the former territories of Greater Hungary. Earlier I wrote about this so-called Wekerle Plan, which is supposed to provide capital for the expansion of Hungarian businesses in the Transylvanian part of Romania and in Slovakia.

In his speech Orbán talked very critically about “the nationalistic turn of events in Romania” and expressed his sympathy for President Traian Băsescu. He specifically mentioned the forthcoming Romanian elections and didn’t hide his choice of candidates. Despite the fact that Romanian foreign minister Titus Corlatean only a few days ago asked the Hungarians not to get involved in Romanian domestic politics, Viktor Orbán is not a man to stay above the fray.

The Orbán government constantly meddles in the affairs of Hungarian parties in Romania, Slovakia, Serbia, and Ukraine. As far as Romania is concerned RMDSZ, the largest Hungarian party, is not favored by Orbán and Fidesz. Instead, some of the Fidesz politicians–for example, László Kövér–supported Jenő Szász (Magyar Polgári Párt / Hungarian Civic Party) while Orbán himself backed László Tőkés, the former Calvinist bishop and now one of the deputy speakers of the European Parliament, who also established a party (Erdélyi Magyar Néppárt / Transylvanian Hungarian People’s Party). Orbán won against Kövér, and the decision was made to remove Szász from the political arena by appointing him to a new organization, most likely created only for Szász. It is called Nemzetstratégia Intézet (Institute of National Strategy). Never mind that it was only in December that the Orbán government set up the Nemzetpolitikai Kutatóintézet (Research Institute of National Policy). A second institute when most likely Hungary doesn’t even need one.

The Orbán government’s divisive politics in Romania only diminish the political clout of the Hungarian minority. Fidesz politicians also made a mess of Hungarian politics in Slovakia. Currently, the largest Hungarian-Slovak party is Most-Híd (meaning bridge in both languages). But Most-Híd didn’t even get an invitation to MÁÉRT because the Hungarian government doesn’t consider Most-Híd a Hungarian party.

Orbán may have been dissatisfied with Romania, but he sang the praises of Robert Fico who “likes straight talk. Hungary also has a government that follows that practice.” Well, we will see how long this honeymoon will last. Knowing Orbán, not for long.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Guest

London Calling!

Gardista – should understand that the International community will never allow Hungary to ‘re-align’ Trianon.

We in England – who are familiar with the situation – would campaign against Orban – with the surrounding countries – to prevent it in the event that Orban’s manoeuvres try it on more than he already has.

Remember Gardista you are a colony of the EU and they won’t allow it either – you (Orban) signed another treaty remember?

And when Hungary gets a decent government – fair to all, and eschewing corruption – then the ‘paramilitary’ constituency will be driven underground; and hopefully the Nazi faction too.

Hungary is a population of decent people and your activities and views distort that fact.

So Eva has muzzled you because: we know exactly what you would say; and exactly how you think; and we are not interested. We get enough racism and anti-Semitism from the other trolls.

So Gardista:

Trianon? – Suck it up.

As others would say on here – just go back to Mein Kampf – I think you are on page 54.

Try to read it without moving your lips?

Regards

Charlie

petofi
Guest

The frightening psychological reality of those supporting, wildly, everything that Orban does and says is this: they take their sense of security and their strength in the combativeness with which they adhere to their beliefs. The more they’re attacked, the stronger they must defend.

Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker.

spectator
Guest

As a matter of fact, the best thing happened to those Hungarians on the wrong side of the border – this time I mean outside! – is the EU and Schengen: the first time after Trianon they could freely move around, as if wasn’t any borders anymore. Obviously it isn’t the goal in certain circles – there is nothing to fight against, no confrontation, it takes out the whole ‘fun’ being a Hungarian in another country, if everything goes on peacefully.

Don’t you worry, though, they working on the ‘restoration’ of the well proven ethnic hatred, pretty soon everything gonna be ‘normal’ again.

Member

Preliminary data from the 2011 census, dated October 4, 2012

http://www.ksh.hu/docs/hun/xftp/idoszaki/nepsz2011/nepszelo2011_2.pdf

Guest

London Calling!

Tappanch – the report in your link says the population is 9.982 – the figure I quoted earlier.

I notice now that the English site is giving the population as 9.939 (dated July 2012)

I don’t ‘have Hungarian’ so the difference maybe explained in the narrative.

If this lower figure has become the ‘revised total’ – the graph only shows births and deaths – then the immigration figures still need to be factored in.

Apparently the KSH adjusts its census figures only if Hungarians officially tell the authorities that they have gone abroad.

There must be hundreds of thousands who don’t bother – and Orban must be delighted.

No one can use the figures against him.

So the attractive ‘place-women’ you highlighted earlier may be serving a purpose!

(Find those 9m census returns!)

Regards

Charlie

petofi
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :

petofi :
Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend it an act like that. Frightening.

Sadly, these people–and I believe Fideszers are like that now–have no rational capacity when it comes to
the actions and policies of Orban. They will BELIEVE
and FIGHT to the END regardless of the Right or Wrong of the situation. What Orban has done is create a Gordian Knot of Nationalism and the Catholic Religion against which rational argument is powerless.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Petrovics and Balogh:

Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker.

It’s almost impossible to comprehend it an act like that. Frightening.”

Mayhap as frightening as an event in Hungary from the HVG 2010 June 28 issue

A Wikipedia szerint az MDP PB (a párt legfelső vezetősége, a Politikai Bizottság) 1951. április 19-én tartott ülésén Rákosi Mátyás élesen bírálta a belügyi tárca működését, és elítélte Zöld Sándort, amiért baráti kapcsolatokat ápolt az időközben letartóztatott „a Márciusi Frontban szerepet vállalt ‘hazai’, kommunistákkal. „Az ülés másnapján Zöldet családjával együtt holtan találták otthonukban, a hivatalos tájékoztatás szerint végzett két gyermekével, feleségével és édesanyjával, majd öngyilkos lett.”

Of course, in this blog there is no interest to show the communist related issues……particularly when Jews were involved both as victims and as causitive effect….

Member

Today’s news. Merkel & Orban.

Merkel would be the only person with strong enough clout to tell Orban that he should restore democracy in Hungary. But she seemed to be satisfied with Orban, therefore she gave Orban her implicit support.

Guest

I don’t think Gyula Gömbös should be allowed to continue here and I’m sure everyone agrees – maybe with the exception of Louis and Bernadette …

Re Merkel and Orban:

Of course you have to read between the lines: An “open talk” and Orbán says where the EU had complaints, they were addressed …

We’ll surely hear/read more about this “open” but not “friendly” talk and the media and the other German parties continue to heavily criticize the Hungarian government.

BTW he won’t be a candidate again for vice president of the conservative EPP.

Member

wolfi :
I don’t think Gyula Gömbös should be allowed to continue here and I’m sure everyone agrees – maybe with the exception of Louis and Bernadette …
Re Merkel and Orban:
Of course you have to read between the lines: An “open talk” and Orbán says where the EU had complaints, they were addressed …
We’ll surely hear/read more about this “open” but not “friendly” talk and the media and the other German parties continue to heavily criticize the Hungarian government.
BTW he won’t be a candidate again for vice president of the conservative EPP.

I do not want to deceive myself. Most of CDU/CSU, including Merkel support Orban. Perhaps they would love to introduce a less democratic system in Germany too, Orban is their pilot program.

Jano
Guest

Gyula Spherical:

Éva did report on the Biszku issue about a year ago, and I wasn’t reading tears out of it. I’m not sure if there has been enough development for another post on it, personally I’d also wait out where the procedure is going exactly.

spectator
Guest

‘Even the Frankfurter Allgeimene Zeitung called his Ópusztaszer speech frightening.’

Probably they’ve also experienced the flashback effect watching and listening Orban – I have.

If someone just look at this image:
comment image
– for one – and has some previous knowledge of the ‘Ahnenerbe’ and the ‘Blut und Boden’, it isn’t particularly hard to get certain very unpleasant associations.

I agree with FAZ, it’s a threatening sense of foreboding, indeed.
And if you count in the zealots – a kind whom you just expelled – the threat all too real to ignore.

Tyrker
Guest

petofi :
Goebbels… went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer?

Although I cannot think with the head of a Nazi, I do believe the main motive behind that horrible act was something entirely different. Goebbels probably wanted to save his children from being tortured and/or otherwise humiliated by the Russians. That would not have been an entirely groundless fear, actually. Remember how many German women and girls were raped, tortured and murdered by Red Army troops for no other reason than being German. If they did that to ordinary girls, what do you think they would have done to the children of the Nazi propaganda minister?

And that case was not unique, either. In 1951 a Hungarian communist Minister of Home Affairs. Sándor Zöld, slaughtered his entire family before committing suicide because he thought the ÁVH was after him, and thought his family would be subjected to brutal torture if he escaped by simply killing himself. Mind you, he was right. The ÁVH was going to arrest him. It was them that found the bodies when they went to round him up.

Guest
@Tyrker re “Remember how many German women and girls were raped, tortured and murdered by Red Army troops for no other reason than being German.” This is ridiculous! Some soldiers have always raped the losers’ women and daughters, whether they were German or … It also happened in Western Germany – the French had a lot of soldiers from Marokko etc and they were feared by everybody at first (I grew up in the French occupied zone) but it always was just a small minority of soldiers who did this and the officers tried to prevent it – because they knew there might be a backlash … A bit OT: When I went to the Gymnasium we had a discussion group with French soldiers/NCOs. We met regularly either in a bar or the Casino of the French army – where champagne (or rather vin mousseux), whisky and cigarettes were cheap … Goebbels could have sent his children away to the countryside – maybe even with false papers which some Nazis did. But he was a type similar to Hitler: If we’re going to lose and die, the whole German people should die with us! Some of the discussion partners were… Read more »
Member

Eva S. Balogh :
Of course, Wolfi is right. That would have been a rational decision on his part but he rather killed six innocent children.

You should watch the movie “Der Untergang” (Downfall) about the last days in Hitler’s bunker. It’s stomach turning to watch when Frau Goebbels’ with the family doctor goes around to sedate the children after they went to bed then later they make them bite on a cyanid capsule. No. It wasn’t protection from the Red Army soldiers. They didn’t want them to live in a society without National Socialism.

Petofi is right. Orban is like reverend Jim Jones. Imagine Orban ordering the nation to commit suicide to protest the IMF … Nah. Let’s talk about something else.

It’s not my decision to decide who should be thrown out but I’m getting fed up with the sneaky anti-Semitic remarks from Kovach.

Kovach, before you write down anything try to imagine that you are sitting at a table in a pub with normal people conversing about things … Imagine their faces when you open your mouth. If these idiotic stink bombs are the only things you can contribute then please move over to another table or shut up.

Member

By the way reverend Orban, the leader of the Temple of Fidesz, wants to be surrounded by children when he’ll deliver his October 13th sermon. They are bussing 47 busloads of kids from Transylvania about 2000 to the festivities. Bombing is out of the question …

Bowen
Guest

Mutt :
By the way reverend Orban, the leader of the Temple of Fidesz, wants to be surrounded by children when he’ll deliver his October 13th sermon. They are bussing 47 busloads of kids from Transylvania about 2000 to the festivities. Bombing is out of the question …

What? Unbelievable! Will they be singing and handing him flowers after he finishes his idiot speech?

It gets more and more like Ceausescu every day. Isn’t this child abuse?

Bowen
Guest

Sorry, I can’t get this out of my mind now. Keep those innocent kids away from Zsolt Bayer. Something must be done.

Louis Kovach
Guest

Mutt: “Kovach, before you write down anything try to imagine that you are sitting at a table in a pub with normal people conversing about things … Imagine their faces when you open your mouth. If these idiotic stink bombs are the only things you can contribute then please move over to another table or shut up”

Be assured, I would say the same thing to your face also!

petofi
Guest
Louis Kovach : Petrovics and Balogh: Wouldn’t this be akin to the beliefs of Germans like Goebbels who went to the ultimate extreme by killing his six children in order to die with the Fuhrer? And this..only when the Russians were just 100 meters from the bunker. ” It’s almost impossible to comprehend it an act like that. Frightening.” Mayhap as frightening as an event in Hungary from the HVG 2010 June 28 issue ” A Wikipedia szerint az MDP PB (a párt legfelső vezetősége, a Politikai Bizottság) 1951. április 19-én tartott ülésén Rákosi Mátyás élesen bírálta a belügyi tárca működését, és elítélte Zöld Sándort, amiért baráti kapcsolatokat ápolt az időközben letartóztatott „a Márciusi Frontban szerepet vállalt ‘hazai’, kommunistákkal. „Az ülés másnapján Zöldet családjával együtt holtan találták otthonukban, a hivatalos tájékoztatás szerint végzett két gyermekével, feleségével és édesanyjával, majd öngyilkos lett.” Of course, in this blog there is no interest to show the communist related issues……particularly when Jews were involved both as victims and as causitive effect…. Listen, you shithead Kovacs: anyone who compares the nazi atrocities against jews to anything such as the murder of a family is seriously lacking in perspective and certainly, empathy. THERE IS NO COMPARISON,… Read more »
bernard de raadt
Guest

Seems to me hate is flowering in the air only destruction no positive answers life is short dont hate be constructive , dont look for mistakes look for the positive in any governement.

Tyrker
Guest
wolfi : Some soldiers have always raped the losers’ women and daughters… but it always was just a small minority of soldiers who did this “Some soldiers” – yes, that’s the key. Your experiences in the French-occupied zone underline the differences between the attitudes of the Western Allies and the Reds very nicely. As you say, rapes were mostly isolated incidents in the French-occupied zone and officers were doing everything they could to prevent them from happening. This is completely different to the experiences of those fellow countrymen and -women of yours who were unfortunate enough to find themselves in the Soviet-occupied zone, where ideologically motivated mass rape, humiliation and torture were the order of the day. If you haven’t already, I encourage you to check out the award-winning documentary, A Journey Back to Youth, which relates the horrible – but unfortunately true – tales of East Prussia’s ill-fated teenagers. In case you were wondering, no, this is not some neo-Nazi propaganda film – it was actually directed by a Russian Jew, the accomplished documentary filmmaker Alexander Gutman. Goebbels could have sent his children away to the countryside – maybe even with false papers which some Nazis did. But he… Read more »
wpDiscuz