Viktor Orbán the defiant

It was expected that Viktor Orbán would not change course and would continue his “war of independence” against the “incompetent bureaucrats in Brussels,” but the vehemence of his attacks surprised many. It was bad enough that he got his most trusted men to propose an anti-EU resolution, but at least he himself didn’t say much after he left Brussels. He let others do the talking. When he finally spoke, however, he only added fuel to the fire.

The Hungarian Parliament’s resolution was met with outrage, at least in certain circles in Brussels. Hannes Swoboda, president of the Socialists and Democrats Group in the European Parliament, announced that “the text the Fidesz majority in the Hungarian Parliament adopted today is an insult to the European Parliament. It proves yet again that Mr. Orbán does not understand the values – or the role of the institutions – of the European Union.” He added that the socialists “are expecting a statement from the leadership of the EPP Group, clarifying whether they accept that a member of their political family dismisses the role and adopted reports of the European Parliament.”

I wonder what Mr. Swoboda will think when he reads that Orbán, in his regular Friday morning talk with one of the reporters of the Hungarian public radio station, called the European Parliament a “worthless (hitvány) institution.” Or that he accused members of the European Parliament of being agents of multinational financiers. Or that he called them incompetent bureaucrats who cannot solve the problems of the European Union and stomp on the only country that found its way out of the crisis while other members are re-entering the crisis zone. I have the feeling that he will not be pleased.

The key message that Orbán is trying to hammer home at the moment is that the Tavares report is not really about Hungary. It is an attempt by the bureaucrats in Brussels to transform the European Union into an entity different from the one that Hungary joined in 2004. “This is a new phenomenon … that changes the very foundations of the fundamental laws of the Union.”

Taking this contention to its logical (admittedly, never a strong suit of the prime minister) conclusion and assuming that the suggestions of the Tavares report are accepted and a standing monitoring committee is created, we might see Hungary leave the European Union. After all, the Union broke its contract with Hungary and thus Hungary is free to go its own way.  In fact, Attila Mesterházy in his speech to Parliament yesterday asked the prime minister whether his insistence on a written condemnation of the Tavares report was a first move on the road to secession.

Another focal point of Orbán’s talk yesterday was the object of the European Parliament’s criticism. He must not allow his followers to be persuaded that the Tavares report is an indictment of his own government and has nothing to do with the Hungarian people. So, he spent considerable time and effort trying to prove that the real target is the nation itself. In trying to build his case he didn’t rehash the old argument that the two-thirds majority in parliament represents the true will of the Hungarian people. Instead he adopted a new tactic. He claimed that “one million people put into writing their desire to have this constitution.” I assume he means the phony questionnaires he sent out to eight million voters, out of which one million were returned. If you would like to have a good laugh over what Orbán thinks is an endorsement of the constitution, take a look at my discussion of the first and second questionnaires. I should note here that the second questionnaire was sent out two weeks before parliament voted on the new constitution. It is perhaps worth mentioning that, according to Orbán, “the Hungarian people didn’t authorize him to adopt a liberal leaning constitution.” On what basis did he make this claim? There was one question among the many in one of the questionnaires pertaining to the rights and duties of citizens. Normally constitutions concern themselves with rights and not duties. But not the new Hungarian constitution. He recalled that 80% of the people who returned the questionnaires said yes to this particular question. Truly pitiful.

Viktor Orbán's image of Hungary's oppression by the European Union

Viktor Orbán’s image of Hungary’s oppression by the European Union

The comparison of Brussels and Moscow is obviously a favorite of the Fidesz crew, and therefore it was not surprising that the topic came up again. Since Orbán is on slippery ground here, I will  quote from this part of his talk to give you a sense of his message. “Brussels is not Moscow and therefore it has no right to meddle in the lives of the member states. Hungary is a free country. We don’t want to live in a European Empire whose center is Brussels. From where they tell us how to live on the periphery or in the provinces. We want to have a community of free nations.  There is no need for such a center because it would limit the freedom of the member states.” In brief, Brussels is not Moscow yet, but if the Tavares recommendations are adopted, it will be nearly as bad. But Hungary will not be part of an empire. Orbán further emphasized the comparison between Moscow and Brussels when he called the Soviet Union “the Soviet Empire” and added that “since the collapse of the Soviet Empire no one has had the temerity to limit the independence of Hungarians.”

Finally, he promised the Hungarian nation a policy of resistance. The government will not watch helplessly as the European Union takes away the freedom of Hungarians. “Either we allow them to pull our country out from under our feet and pocket our money or we defend our own interests. This is the question, choose!” This last sentence is a paraphrase of two lines in the famous poem, National Song (Nemzeti dal) by Sándor Petőfi (1823-1849) in which the poet asks: “Shall we be slaves? Shall we be free? / This is the question. Choose!” (Rabok legyünk, vagy szabadok? / Ez a kérdés, válasszatok!) Keep in mind that this is the poem that heralded the 1848 revolution. Orbán means business. I hope the European Union does too.

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Member

Eva S. Balogh :
Off topic but worth mentioning. I just saw a picture in HVG taken at the Budapest Pride. A group of homophobic people are holding up a sign that says: “Hungarians are not tolerant. One can leave here, you deviants.”

Three people were beaten up after the parade, but close proximity. One is Principal of a high school. The police did sweet nothing, even after one who was attacked pointed out some of the attackers. Later the police issued a semi-false statement, saying that the attackers were gone when they arrived. Yes, but the attacked even after pointed out some of the attackers.
Why is this OK for these idiots to even attack sympathizers? Simple answer is that every Fidesz MP who were asked if they would go on support the Parade said that they have the right not to go, and all the benefits of Hungary extended for the homosexuals (big lie), and that is how far they would go. So, when this is the message that comes from the Fidesz that very much say WE TOLERATE homosexuals, you will not get the police to support he innocent. SHame on Fidesz!

An
Guest

@Some1: “The police did sweet nothing, even after one who was attacked pointed out some of the attackers. ”

They did, they actually asked for the IDs of the victims (!) but not the attackers. I think part of the problem is that a lot of the policemen themselves are sympathizers of extreme right wing groups.

Member

Regarding Eva’s point about the Constitution questioner, someone just forwarded me a link with the ever funny Andras Nagy Bando’s letter to Orban. Unfortunately it is only available in Hungarian, but it’s worth reading to those who speak the language: http://propeller.hu/itthon/2683701-nagy-bando-piszkosul-nekiment-orbannak

Gardonista
Guest

I had no idea that Petofi lived until 1949. ;}

lutra lutra
Guest

I wonder if the European Parliament would have the courage to pass a motion calling on Orbán to retract, apologise for and cease and desist making anti-EU comments?

Wondercat
Guest
The sentiment “We don’t care for the policies that the European Union requires us to adopt; this is not the EU that we thought we were joining; the ground has shifted under our feet, and the terms of our association must be re-negotiated” is not limited to Hungarians. Considerable British political argument is informed by similar reaction. Indeed, within days we may learn if a referendum on the question “The EU, Britain in or out?” is to be held. Grants of funds to construct traffic roundabouts, all well and good — but if those funds are granted on the condition that palinka distilleries are to be suppressed, or village pig-slaughtering abolished, the EU truly can be seen as meddlesome. OV’s arguments against matters of constitutional law draw force from his auditors’ daily and unhappy experience of such things as being forbidden to smoke on the terrace of one’s local restaurant. Should those experiences conduce Orban’s auditors to endorse his actions? No. The two sorts of intervention by the EU should be distinguished, differentiated. But to say “The EU tells us that we can’t do as we like in our own country” is broadly true. It resonates strongly with me, and… Read more »
NWO
Guest

Remember what Orban said in another context (paraphrasing): “Watch what I do, not what I say.” Hungary lives off the EU and EU money. Hungary is going nowhere unless the EU (which should seriously consider this) finds a way to kick Hungary out.

Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Yesterday evening János Martonyi commented on the Tavares report. Martonyi a former member of MSZMP (Hungarian communist party) advocates a world conspiracy theory. According to him SZDSZ had played an important role in Hungarian political life and disappeared after the victory of Fidesz in 2010 and now SZDSZ is playing a role in the world because it has no other place to defend its interest.
Martonyi believes that Hungary will become an issue of German election.
http://hvg.hu/itthon/20130706_Martonyi_a_Tavaresjelentesrol
Martonyi is the minister of foreign affairs of Hungary.

Guest
London Calling! Wondercat It is too easy to invoke the ‘straight banana’ argument that our ‘red tops’ (Blikk-type) newspapers adopt here in England. When you delve deeper there is almost always a rational reason. Usually it is to introduce a level playing field between members of the ‘common market’ – to stop one nation stealing a march on another. Or unfair competition. Some of Hungary’s industries benefit from these rules too – you have to take the rough with the smooth. Many, for example, have objected to the ‘abattoir’ rules – but now animals are killed in more humane and more hygienic conditions. And yes there are still some exceptions. England has a very good (exceptional!) record of sticking to the rules – and pork in England is very clean and free from tape-worm because no longer is the pig allowed to be fed on school-dinner remains and to forage around dirty courtyards. Regarding Palinka – Hungary (the government) allows quite (unusually) large volumes to be distilled by individuals. As I have experienced it is peddled around the village in questionably unhygienic dirty, old labelled lemonade bottles. (My experience of hygiene in Hungary is shocking! But that’s another prejudice and… Read more »
Guest

oops – Bold unfettered – Sorry!

Guest

London Calling!

The corollary of Orban’s mad rhetoric, and that of his sycophants, has only one conclusion.

He will leave the EU.

But not before he has milked all the allowances and grants that he can.

Not your money, Orban-of-net-receiver-Hungary.

Mine.

Regards

Charlie

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

@Wondercat

” It resonates strongly with me, and likely with many others who, wherever in Europe they live, object to the hundred little everyday indignities that can be traced to the heavy hand of Brussels.”

Sure. Indignities such as freedom of movement, of settlement, of study, of conducting business all over Europe – things which cannot go without a common set of rights and regulations. For us, our children, not to mention our retired parents hum.

PS: England Wales and Northern Ireland can get out, we’ll get Scotland back. Auld alliance! Auld alliance! 🙂

Whaklois
Guest
The EU would not give a s**t about Hungary’s leaving. (Note also how impotent they are re the US survaillance issue, no one dares to be tough against the US and the formerly tough EU data protection rules are constantly being eroded mainly at US’ instigation). When was the EU or any member of it tough with anybody?? (Ok, UK and France dropped a couple of bombs if oil was at stake, but that is about it). They will say good riddance. By that time Orbán’s (note that his wife’s siblings just bid almost HUF 400m for a huge Hungarian farm, where that money came is unclear, but we have our guesses) and Simicska’s money will be safe in Singapore where they hold it (not in Switzerland). They will not care. Any they don’t have to care. They amassed literally hundreds of billions of HUF, built out an unparalleled national power network and completely control the media. Remember: Bob Mugabe just stated that he will win by 90% in Zimbabwe (and the 10% will be for the completely coopted Tzwangirai, who will be the new Mugabe, once the current will die at one point, he being close to 90, but… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

Auld alliance! Auld alliance! !!!

If Scotland gets the vote to leave the Union – and England votes too – we would all vote the same way!

But England is really a very good member – just sometimes the Tories have to give a sop to the ‘UKIP faction’ alas.

And many of us would say ‘Alleluya’ to Hungary leaving. The EU must be heartily sick of Orban and his government.

(The EU would not give a s**t about Hungary’s leaving. – too true Whaklois.)

Hungary’s long suffering population would be the true beneficiaries of Orban throwing his toys out of the pram.

And when THEY (the people) have resolved their democracy and constitution issues – and negotiated with the special ‘Copenhagan-thanks-to-Hungary Commission’, they can renegotiate re-entry if they want it.

And very welcome they will be too.

Do you hear that Orban? The People.

Regards

Charlie

Guest

London Calling!

Whaklois – I believe that the ‘Snowden’ issue is an American problem – and a non-issue.

So hey, countrys bug! What a surprise!

They are all at it – it is behoven upon them to assume it is happening and take appropriate measures.

Snowden is not a ‘whistleblower’ – having signed his country’s Official Secrets Act.

Whistleblowers do things out of principle – and then face the music; having weighed up the consequences.

If you do a runner – you’re just an opportunist after a few moments of glory – and a coward.

The EU – and everybody – should just get on and devise the strongest protection possible.

China has been ‘raiding’ conglomerate’s servers for years.

Amazingly most of the world’s spam come through Hungary.

Regards

Charlie

Wondercat
Guest
@Charlie H, @Marcel De — Charlie, you list reasons, and good ones, for the interventions practised by the EU. In my eyes, you elect to trade liberty for safety (liberty of commerce in home-butchered meat against hygiene in food, liberty in use of tobacco against an increment in health and life-span). Very well. Marcel, you list benefits (not indignities), and good ones, that accrue to citizens of EU states. Very well. However, the indignities that you brush aside are real, and for you to dismiss them does not make them go away. Think of how large, how disfiguring, the edge of a chipped tooth feels to the probing tongue. Even objectively small matters can and do chafe, and chafe, and chafe. Is the game worth the candle? Persons who value highly freedom from meddling will give answers different from those given by persons who value highly predictability and uniformity. I wrote “Should those experiences conduce Orban’s auditors to endorse his actions? No. The two sorts of intervention by the EU should be distinguished, differentiated. But to say ‘The EU tells us that we can’t do as we like in our own country’ is broadly true.” The question is, again, is… Read more »
Karl Pfeifer
Guest

Wondercat :
@Charlie H, @Marcel De —

OV may have tapped a deep, a strongly flowing vein of sentiment with the slogan “We don’t want to be a colony”. Can his political opponents tap emotions that run so strongly and so deep?

While Orbán and his ilk declare “We don’t want to be a colony” they act as Bálint Magyar has explained as a mafia and use all this Turul-völkisch talk to cover up for their criminal activities. So let the Hungarians under their genial leader leave the EU and we’ll see where Hungary will land.

Guest

London Calling!

Wondercat – I do take your point – (amusingly and cogently put btw!) – if you are giving us an insight into the Hungarian psyche. (Are you Hungarian? – I mean no offence – but you appear to know the English culture too well!)

I think you may be confusing ‘freedom’ with ‘compromise’.

If you join some fellow students in a shared house – you can’t take up all the fridge space!

If you join an international community – you have to make a few compromises – which could be mistaken for ‘freedoms’.

If you join a community without being prepared to be a sharing, compromising participant then you shouldn’t join – or you haven’t done your homework.

True freedoms are as Marcel Dé has listed.

You (not you – one!) are a bit naive if you don’t understand this?

Or you cynically join to exploit the advantages.

And you never intended on playing nicely, and sharing your toys.

Regards

Charlie

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

@Wondercat

“The State tells us that we can’t do as we like in our own Region” is broadly true.
“The City Hall tells us that we can’t do as we like in our own garden” is broadly true.

Yeah, let’s get rid of local governments and let’s get rid of states, then? Come on.

Discussing the extent of the Union’s powers is one thing – that debate has actually been going on since 1957 in case somebody didn’t notice – but if you don’t agree with the principle itself, which is that, yes, like all institutions that people choose to have in common, the Union does have powers over the States, and power over its citizens… you just have to get out.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
@Wondercat and smoking. I might be wrong but I think that forbidding smoking in public places is not an EU requirement. Orbán’s very own.

Actually, I think the EU does have requirements in this field. But mind you, even Ukraine, Russia and Belarus are starting to enforce the same kind of bans.

Guest

London Calling!

It will be very interesting to see what happens to the Hungarian prices of cigarettes, Eva.

Presumably there is now a conflict of interest with the State v Nepotistic-Fidesznik-cigarette-booth owners?

His exchequer will need the taxes – but his booth owners will need the sales?

Or course the doctor’s don’t have any such problem!

Sell the fags – bring in the patients.

And the enveloped gratitude money!

More fags – more envelopes!

Whey! Hey!! So communistically ‘Winess’!

So funny, if it was not so calamitous.

Regards

Charlie

Guest

oops! ….I meant ‘Witness’ as in Mutt’s film ‘The Witness’

Guest

and sorry!…. I’m sure you know – that cigarettes are colloquially referred to as ‘fags’ – not the US version of the word!

No offence meant.

Johnny Boy
Guest

So if the EP adopts a resolution against Hungary, that is fine.
If the Hungarian Parliament adopts a resolution against the EP, it is an outrage.
Clear.

Büchler
Guest
Charlie H: I respectfully but strongly disagree with your off-hand assertion that what Snowden has revealed is a non-issue and that he is not a whistle blower. I recommend Glenn Greenwald’s thoughtful analysis in the Guardian. This is his latest (but it is also an important recap of the legal and moral issues which may have eluded you so far): http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jul/07/nsa-brazilians-globo-spying Nobody, and I repeat t his, nobody gave any empowerment to the US government to listen to and record and keep forever all electronic communication they can get their hands on, neither within the US and certainly not the entire electronic communication of other countries such as Germany or Brazil — for this is what they do. Rest assured, they have been doing the same with your calls and emails for they tap (and record for eternity) the communication of the whole of the EU (their supposed allies, right). Germany’s feeble response to this scandal is all the more disappointing since Germany has been a stalwart of the data protection issue (a concept wich does not exist in the US in this form), although as it was suggested on this blog that neither Germany nor other EU countries do… Read more »
petofi
Guest
Fidesz voters must be made aware that even a 2/3’s majority did not give Orban the right to conduct foreign and economic affairs in the light of a highly dubious “szabadsag harc” at the monstrous economic costs that have been inflicted on the country–to whit, the IMF struggle has saddled the country with excessive debt; the lost foreign investment has been causing severe shortages of employment and investment not to mention lost taxes. The so-called “freedom fight” and the struggle against ‘colonization’–none of which has been supported by a shred of evidence–has cause real, and significant, economic damage to the country. How does Orban justify this? Have the Hungarian people signed up to such suffering? Perhaps Hungarians–in a worst case scenario–would have tolerated some ‘colonization’ if jobs and greater income could have been achieved. Let Fidesz voters also be made aware that while the country has suffered economically, the vast building programs (which we’re not at all aware of how they will be paid for) are going on apace with largely Kozgep (Simitchka’s) company the great beneficiary. It should be highlighted in bold print how Kozgep and other Fidesz-aligned companies have grown, while the country has been declining these past… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Addendum:

Someone has recently written on this blog that the country’s reserves have fallen by 1 billion euros in a month. A month-by-month tally should be kept on the central reserves of the country.

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

CharlieH :
London Calling!
It will be very interesting to see what happens to the Hungarian prices of cigarettes, Eva.
Presumably there is now a conflict of interest with the State v Nepotistic-Fidesznik-cigarette-booth owners?

Austria and France also have a state license system for tobacco retail.

As prices go up, so will contraband. Licensees will blame the State (and of course won’t thank EU regulations for allowing Western European tourists to buy 5+ cartons). They’ll end up selling a zillion things, from SIM cards to lottery tickets to candy…

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