Hungarian parliament voted on Paks; the Jewish-government dialogue is stalled

Yesterday we all thought that the parliamentary vote on the Russian-Hungarian agreement about financing and building two new reactors in Paks would take place only next Thursday. But, in typical Fidesz fashion, the Fidesz-KDNP majority made a last-minute change in the agenda and opted to hold the vote today. Perhaps the sudden decision had something to do with the revelations of Mihály Varga, minister of the economy, about the financial details of the agreement. Parliament had only four days to ponder the bill, and five hours were allowed for discussion on the floor.

The decision to move the vote forward naturally upset the opposition, but that was not all that raised eyebrows. The figures Mihály Varga revealed were much higher than earlier expected. First of all, Hungary will have to pay back the loan not in 30 but in 21 years, in 2035. In the early years the interest rate will be 3.9%, later 4.5%, and in the final years 4.9%. The Russians will pay the 10 billion euros it is lending to Hungary over ten years, and Hungary will have to pony up 2 billion euros in the final years of plant construction. (That figure, of course, assumes that there are no cost overruns, a highly unlikely possibility.) According to information received from government circles, one reason Viktor Orbán was so eager to push through the vote at the earliest possible date was that he was concerned that even Fidesz legislators would be unwilling to vote for the plant expansion once they knew its true cost. This information had to be revealed because the court so decided. Moreover, according to estimates, the expansion of nuclear capacity would be so costly that it would raise the price of electricity at least 40% and in the first decade perhaps 80%. Népszabadság gave the following headline to its article on the estimates prepared by MVM, the state-owned utility company: “More expensive electricity, brutal losses.” Nice prospects, if MVM’s calculations are correct.

LMP asked for a roll call vote, after which András Schiffer held up a sign: “Hungary sold out and indebted,” while Szilvia Lengyel, also of LMP, held up another placard proclaiming that “We will not be a Russian atomic colony.” Bernadett Szél (LMP) and Katalin Ertsey (LMP) had megaphones that produced the noise of ambulance sirens at full volume. The scene was quite something. I highly recommend the video of the brawl, available on Index. Parliament had to adjourn for over an hour. László Kövér called the protesters idiots and also indicated that the highest possible fine will have to be paid by the four LMP members.

LMP (Politics Can Be Different) / Source Index

LMP (Politics Can Be Different) / Source Index

A quick look at the record of the votes is most interesting. It is striking how many members chose not to be present. Let’s start with Fidesz which has a large 223-member delegation out of which 21 members were absent. Among the missing were Viktor Orbán, Zoltán Balog, Mihály Varga, Tibor Navracsics, and Zoltán Illés and Zsolt Németh, undersecretary for foreign affairs.. Out of the KDNP caucus of 34 members only two were missing but one of them was no other than Zsolt Semjén, deputy prime minister. Half of the Jobbik members were absent, but those present with the exception of one voted with the government parties. The majority of MSZP members decided to stay at home (32 out of 48). Out of the 27 independents 17 were absent and only one of those present voted for the bill: József Balogh of blind komondor fame.

The other important news of the day was the scheduled meeting between Jewish leaders and János Lázár. If anyone had great hopes for a compromise between the government and the Jewish community, he was mistaken. It turned out that János Lázár was simply a messenger. As he himself admitted, everything depends on Viktor Orbán. His is the final word and at the moment that word is “no go.” The monument will be erected, Sándor Szakály will stay, and the House of Fates “can become a reality only if there is intelligent, correct dialogue that concentrates on the essence of the matter… If there is no cooperation there is no reason to go ahead with the project.” So, if you raise objections and want to oversee Mária Schmidt’s activities, there will be no new Holocaust center in Hungary.

As for the monument depicting Archangel Gabriel and the German imperial eagle, “it would be a falsification of history if we pretended as if Germany didn’t deprive Hungary of its sovereignty on March 19, 1944.” The problem is that most respectable historians dispute the government’s contention of a lack of sovereignty, pointing to the composition of the governments formed between March 19 and October 15, 1944. For example, all ministers and undersecretaries of the Sztójay government also served in earlier Hungarian ministries going back as far as 1933. It is also clear that Miklós Horthy was not entirely powerless, as he demonstrated several times during this period. In my opinion, given the seemingly firm position of the government, there can be no agreement between the two sides.

I very much doubt that Viktor Orbán, who will have the final say on the issue next week, will move an inch. He is not that kind of a guy. As for the Jewish organizations that will sit down to talk on Sunday, they are unlikely to retreat from their position. So, it can easily happen that an international scandal is in the offing: the Hungarian Jewish community will boycott the Holocaust Memorial Year initiated by the Orbán government.

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tappanch
Guest

The Orban government want to get a record 6.5 billion euros of EU support in 2014.

http://bruxinfo.hu/cikk/20140129-lazar-janos-brusszelben-iden-2000-milliard-forint-elkoltese-a-tet.html

kerekparos
Guest
Let’s state again: the interest rate in itself is not dispositive in deciding how costly the loan is. It is now advertized as a less than 5% rate, but it is highly unlikely that such figure includes all features of the loan, thus the actual rate is probably higher, so the loan more costly. Also, the electricity prices must increase by way more than 40-80%, as these figures are the calculation of MVM , which has been pushing for the construction for years. Obviously MVM’s calculation will use assumptions which will support the decision to build the new block. They can imagine that the politics will increase prices by 40% or even 80% gradually, with some subsidies, but stating the obvious (2-3 times current prices) would be a no go and MVM wants the project. There is nobody at MVM who does not imagine he will be a millionaire soon. If we review what price the planned UK or Czech blocks (the former is going ahead, the latter is on hold now) require to break even, then we see at least a doubling if not a tripling of the current Hungarian rates — again not including cost overruns, building the… Read more »
Bob
Guest

Once more: the Arkangel/German occupation statue must stand as the guy already finished the construction. They can’t just hide it and keep it in storage. When the project was announced the statue was already made. Orban always does deals so that they could not be undone simply as a matter of practicality even legally could be, although he makes sure they are watertight legally as well.

Moreover, Orban cannot show that he is “soft on Jews”. He can look “reasonable” and “understanding” regarding a project that is more or less about Jewish Hungarians (ie. the new holocaust museum, which would be mostly about the nice gentiles), but certainly not regarding an issue which is important to his core base of hard, anti-semitic right wing voters.

I just hope that the Hungarian Jewish organizations will not budge and will not let themselves be humiliated by a triumphant Orban.

Otherwise Orban would score further points with the right-wing who would see that Orban finally cut the Jews down to size and made kezesbárány (a cute sheep which is made to eat out of his hands) out of them, they way it should be, according to the right wingers.

petofi
Guest

Russian ‘figures’ for loyalty-challenged, Hungarian politicos: the Bolshoi Theatre was due for refurbishment and the government allotted the unheard of figure of $700,000,000 dollars for it
back c. 2002. Some 7 years later–do doubt fat years for some–the cost of the Bolshoi works
was at $7,000,000,000….and not yet finished. Yes, $7 BILLION DOLLARS–an over-run by a factor of 10. (And you didn’t think the Russians knew a good thing when they saw it, eh?)

Over to example 2: The Sochi Olympics are reputed to cost some $52 BILLION DOLLARS, which is at least 3 times more than any previous winter olympics.

Over to example 3: The road between St. Petersburg and Moscow–some 700 miles–is unpassable. During the wealthy, last 10 years they haven’t managed to repair or replace it: apparently, the money for it (and Putin’s boys well know this) gets stolen even before the project begins.

Now, you sad-sack Fideszniks, who’s going to help you as the country is formally, continually,
gradually, looted over the next 25 years?

petofi
Guest

Of course, the performance of the Parliament–and I mean the opposition–is again shameful.
Couldn’t there have been a filibuster?
Couldn’t the opposition has shown up to a man, turned their backs, and refused to vote?
Has Kover got them so intimidated that they couldn’t even show the slightest opposition?
Of the 400 members, only 4 found the wherewithal to demonstrate and stand for the ‘illegal’
fines that Kover will administer?

How putrid a parliament! How putrid a people! Slavehood to Russian is what they deserve!!!

putinka
Guest

Petofi:

there is no filibuster in Hungary.

With 2/3s you do as you please.

Your examples are great, the indicate even more money for Közgép, the Fidesz MPs, the MVM employees. That is why they do it. Even better.

Voters do not care, nor do they understand it.

“There is always money, right, if the politicians really want it, there is always money for this or that. If the politicians want to help the people, they can do it, like Orban did with the utility rate cuts, right, if the communists want to skin the people they will just eliminate the pension for the 13th months, that is what they did. Or the communists just introduce co-payment, because they hate Hungarians. It really all depends on the politicians, they will solve it somehow. They always do. After all, the state can always print money, right, they have the machines, why do not they just do it and help the people? It’s because they steal the difference.”

An
Guest

Sorry, OT:

Just to illustrate how “fair” the upcoming elections are going to be:

The government handed over to Fidesz the advertising image and slogan of the advertising campaign themed “Hungary performs better.” The design for the campaign was originally ordered and paid by the government (800 million forints). The government ran the campaign between March and November last year, on billboards, TV, radio, and in various print and electronic media…. I guess to popularize the government’s “achievements.” Now the government handed over the whole design (image, slogan, etc) to Fidesz – for free, and Fidesz is going to use it in its election campaign. So Fidesz campaign…. financed from taxpayers’ money (plus a little head start from last year).

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140206_Ingyen_megkapta_a_Fidesz_a_kormanytol_a_r

Twin
Guest

An: always note the legal tricks and structures.

You can’t challenge a thing, they have all the necessary paperwork behind it.

Always legal. That is how you do it. Nobody can say a thing.

Non-lawyers just stand there and do not get it. Lawyers know that if you have good enough legal paperwork, you can always do whatever you want, because the bottom line is always is it legal or not? It helps that Fidesz owns the legal infrastructure.

petofi
Guest

Kids aren’t allowed matches: Hungarians shouldn’t be allowed parliamentary democracy.

Place a call to that Finn with all the ‘A’s in his name–let him run the country for 15 years…

PR RP
Guest

who will charge finkelstein with double betrayal?

USA or Hungary? His sins amount to war crimes.

where is the limit of this innocent consultant?

petofi
Guest

Twin :
An: always note the legal tricks and structures.
You can’t challenge a thing, they have all the necessary paperwork behind it.
Always legal. That is how you do it. Nobody can say a thing.
Non-lawyers just stand there and do not get it. Lawyers know that if you have good enough legal paperwork, you can always do whatever you want, because the bottom line is always is it legal or not? It helps that Fidesz owns the legal infrastructure.

Sounds like nazi Germany to me.

J Grant
Guest
Twin : An: always note the legal tricks and structures. You can’t challenge a thing, they have all the necessary paperwork behind it. Always legal. That is how you do it. Nobody can say a thing. Non-lawyers just stand there and do not get it. Lawyers know that if you have good enough legal paperwork, you can always do whatever you want, because the bottom line is always is it legal or not? It helps that Fidesz owns the legal infrastructure. Well, not quite Nazi Germany, not yet, but definitely heading in that direction. Exaggerations and hyperbole does not help the cause of democracy in Hungary or anywhere else. Some time ago a good friend of mine in London said that history proves the old truth that any dictator who is stupid enough to leave no outlet for discontent will likely end up hanging from a tree. Often I read comments on this blog and weep at the depressive misery of those that think that any nation, Hungarian included, is likely to stay on their knees forever. When the vast majority has nothing more to lose the situation WILL explode. Now we all differ in our attitude to whether that… Read more »
whoever
Guest

Yes – the spirited and full-bore opposition approach of the LMP is one of the very few bright spots at the moment. Regardless of position, DK and LMP are easily the best Fidesz bashers currently, the rest haven’t got going yet and -who knows? Maybe never will.

Mr. Paul
Guest
From Eva’s link within the article: “a kormánynak nem az a célja, hogy a magyarországi zsidó közösséggel szemben hozzon létre egy emlékhelyet, hanem “velük együtt, az ő segítségükkel, támogatásukkal”. Amennyiben az együttműködés nem lesz sikeres, akkor “nincs értelme a program megvalósításának” ” Essentially this supports Eva’s conclusion, that the House of Fates may get cancelled. This part of the statement I think goes even further and says that the House of Fates must be supported and helped by the Jewish community otherwise it makes no sense to create it. I wonder how this is connected to András Gerő’s words on the issue. He claimed that early 2015 is a realistic date for opening, and 2014 April (the government mandated date), is just impossible. That public statement that Gerő made several times, is certainly a blow to the project’s survival chances. Cost overruns, time overruns, ran by Maria Schmidt who is under fire from several angles -.and I think was even compared to a bordello madam by Karsai in terms of morality-, the name itself House of Fates is criticized, the content is heavily criticized, and it has huge costs to begin with.- It does not look good for the House… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Russians, with the help of Orban, have stolen the country.

Guest

@Twin: You can’t challenge a thing, they have all the necessary paperwork behind it, and it is state secret.

Mr. Paul
Guest
oneill
Guest

“Often I read comments on this blog and weep at the depressive misery of those that think that any nation, Hungarian included, is likely to stay on their knees forever.”

I am fully convinced after the (non) reaction of the Hungarian population over the last 4 years that, with a few honourable exceptions, that the typical citizen here is passive almost to the extent of idiocy. Those intelligent and proactive and young enough to lead any kind of political or even physical fightback against the regime and the neo-nazis which it courts and subsidizes have left the country to the fascists and the sheep.

tappanch
Guest

Orban’s wife’s assets in June 2010:

comment image

For your reference, to be compared with a future list

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

OT – For the French-speaking among you: according to a journalist in Serbia, bribing your way into Hungarian citizenship costs beetween 300 and 1,000 €.

http://balkans.courriers.info/article23952.html

tappanch
Guest

Did you know that Fidesz redefined the words “hirdetés” and “reklám” (both mean ad, commercial in Hungarian) in the new election law?

In Fideszspeak,

“reklám” is free, (this is where the opposition & Fidesz will get 10 seconds a month),

“hirdetés” is for money (in practice, Fidesz will advertise in opposition media, but opposition cannot advertise in Fidesz media)

See
71. of
http://net.jogtar.hu/jr/gen/hjegy_doc.cgi?docid=A1300036.TV

Updates:
———–
February 6, 2014:
140,000 new citizens “without Hungarian address” are registered to vote.

45.6% from Romania
32.6% from e-Landia (international observers, attention)
15.3% from Serbia

1.3% from Hungary (almost an oxymoron)
1.2% from Ukraine+Slovakia+Austria
1.0% Germany
0.5% USA
0.4% Canada
0.3% Switzerland
0.3% Australia
0.2% UK
0.2% Sweden

1.1% all others

Please notice the very low number of residents of Germany and UK that are allowed to vote in mail.
—–

The all-Fidesz Election Committee has registered 57 parties so far and rejected 6.
The little time allotted for “reklám” must be divided by 57, and this number is growing.

—–
Chairman of the new “National Election Committee”, A. Patyi ”
“we have 19 [!] days to establish the final result after election day”

http://www.magyarhirlap.hu/lassubb-lesz-a-szavazatok-feldolgozasa

whoever
Guest

Yes, and imagine a very close-run election which is only transformed after 18 days of counting votes from e-Landia!

tappanch
Guest

1. The officially neutral “National Election Bureau” encourages to vote with Orban in its video.

2. The government has handed over certain propaganda rights to the Fidesz party for free.

These are further proofs of the utterly unfair nature of the 2014 election.

http://index.hu/belfold/2014/02/07/orban_a_valasztasi_iroda_videojaban/

petofi
Guest

Thank you, Tappanch, you are an international asset.

LoudProtest
Guest

OneILL #14:
I am sympathizing with you in our common misery.
One can be sick and tired of the sins committed by the Fidesz leaders, and the other ill Hungarians with the help of Russian, Iranian, Azeri, and other allied leaders.
Our champion fighter friend, Petofi expresses his views on these crimes more often and better the any of us.
In these times, no one can remain silent.

Joe Simon
Guest

Very sad to see this controversy over Hungary. The Austrians received Hitler with open arms and voted to be included in the Reich. Yet Austria is number one in international recognition. Hungary needs a better PR a la Medison Avenue.

József Szimon
Guest

Concerning “passive almost to the extent of idiocy” and “the situation will explode” are only the two ends of the same candle. How could we “sorrowful beggars of Hungary” ever forget about the “water which rules” and that “not having nor faith nor fare today” does not exclude that “tomorrow will be everything ours, If so we wish, if so we dare”. (words of Petőfi and Ady). In most of the cases it is not only a question of clairvoyance and strong will, but also that of time, isn’t it?. Let me give you here a small reminder:

tappanch
Guest

Another Fideszization is about to reach the finish line:

There is only one credit union that was not nationalized 6 months ago. That lucky one is owned by Garancsi, a good friend of Orban. Garancsi is implicated in the gas shenanigans that resulted in tens of billions of forints in profits to the detriment of the consumers. (See Eva’s article yesterday).

The privatization tender for the 100+ of nationalized credit unions with a combined 1700 branches was published a month ago and was shaped in such a way that only one player fit the requirements.

The only bidder was the FHB bank essentially . It is led by a Fidesz-friendly oligarch.

http://nol.hu/gazdasag/egy_ajanlat_a_takarekbankra

http://hetek.hu/belfold/201307/ellen_otp_t_epitenek_fideszes_segedlettel

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Joe Simon :
Very sad to see this controversy over Hungary. The Austrians received Hitler with open arms and voted to be included in the Reich. Yet Austria is number one in international recognition. Hungary needs a better PR a la Medison Avenue.

Austrians don’t whine constantly about the territories they lost with the Treaty of Saint-Germain. Some people learn from their mistakes, it seems unfortunately others don’t – and no PR will change that.

Guest

And Austrians also had their own “Austrofascists” Dollfuß and Schuschnigg who btw like Horthy were big fans of Mussolini – but they don’t build monuments for them!

That’s the difference …

Just like Germany they said, we don’t want this to happen again!

But it seems that Hungarians long for the good old times of Horthy …

Just look here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Austrofascism

Sometimes I wonder if Joe really is so stupid that he doesn’t see the difference …

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