Viktor Orbán feels at home in Iran, Azerbaijan, and China

It’s time to move on, although the saga of the Holocaust Memorial is far from over. Let’s look outside of Hungary to see what Hungarian foreign policy is up to. The first news item is from yesterday; I discovered it on the Iranian news agency’s website. The highest Hungarian dignitaries–János Áder, president; Viktor Orbán, prime minister; László Kövér, speaker of the house; and János Martonyi, foreign minister–tried to outdo each other in sending separate congratulatory messages on the occasion of “the anniversary of victory of the Islamic Revolution.” The news agency naturally mentioned that “Hungary has been a member of the European Union” ever since 2004. It also reported that in addition to the Hungarians, dignitaries of Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan also sent greetings to the Iranian leaders.

Today another piece of news arrived from which we learned that a delegation of Hungarian journalists and film makers from MTV arrived in Azerbaijan. They are looking for a proper setting for a film about the “atrocities committed by Armenian troops” in the Nagomo Karabakh region. According to the Azerbaijan news agency, the Hungarian television crew will make a documentary about the town of Khojaly that was attacked by Armenian forces and where several hundred Azerbaijani were killed. The Azerbaijanis are certain that “the film will tell the truth to the world about Karabakh.” So, as you can see, the Orbán government finds kindred souls in Iran, Azerbaijan, and yes, China.

Because Viktor Orbán is in China right now where he keeps boasting about the Asiatic origin of the Hungarians. Not long ago he called his people “half Asiatic,” but by now it seems they have become completely Asiatic. He added that “Hungarians were ridiculed many times for their Asiatic origins” but by now that origin has become an asset because it is clear that “the center of gravity of the world economy has shifted from west to east.” I just hope that Orbán didn’t mention anything about the alleged relationship between the Huns and the Hungarians because the Chinese built the Great Wall in order to save themselves from the ferocious Hun invaders.

In Beijing, similar to other foreign visits/trade missions, the program started with a speech by Orbán before an audience of business people that included about 100 Hungarian business men who accompanied him. As usual, the speech was full of falsehoods about Hungary’s economic performance. It is hard to believe that Chinese businessmen who are known for their acumen are so ignorant that they believe that “whoever makes a business deal with the Hungarians will have a direct relationship with the economic engine of the European Union.” Or, “Hungary is Europe’s most competitive economy where a considerable production center came into being in addition to an important research-and-development network.” Furthermore, he outlined the future economic prospects of Hungary as outright rosy: a 4% economic growth year after year and 3-4 % unemployment, which is considered to be full employment.

In addition to the country’s economic prospects, he stressed “the political stability” in Hungary which is such an advantage when it comes to economic growth. In this respect the Hungarian situation is very similar to that of China, he said, adding that he very much hoped that “the Hungarian people will vote for political stability” in the coming election. This particular claim made quite a splash in Hungary where a blog writer pointed out that “Chinese political stability in other words means communist dictatorship” and that Orbán actually gave himself away by in effect admitting that Hungary is no longer a democracy.

The Chinese news agency was less effusive than the Hungarian prime minister, although Premier Li Kequiang and Viktor Orbán remembered fondly the 65th anniversary of Chinese-Hungarian diplomatic ties. Again, one just hopes that neither man remembered Mao Zedong’s less than friendly attitude toward Hungary at the time of the Hungarian October Revolution of 1956 when he urged Khrushchev to put down the revolt and show no mercy.

China-Orban

The Chinese seem to be interested primarily in building roads and railways. We heard about the Budapest-Belgrade railway line earlier, but now it seems to have become a reality. China also expressed an interest in expanding investment and local currency swap agreements. China will provide assistance to Hungarian companies to invest in China while Hungary will help Chinese businessmen acquire visas and working licenses and will provide them with health insurance. In addition, representatives of Huawei Technologies Hungary and the Hungarian government signed an agreement to establish an innovation center in addition to two Huawei Europe supply centers, one in Pécs and another in Komárom. What is really new is that Li called for Chinese-Hungarian cooperation on nuclear energy and hinted that it  could be accomplished jointly with a third party.

This last item sounds rather intriguing. Is it possible that Viktor Orbán realized in the last month or so that the Russian loan might not be quite enough to build the new nuclear power plant and that he is also soliciting Chinese money and know-how? What will Russia think of such an arrangement?

Another item of note is the establishment of a regional center of the Bank of China. While the Orbán government does everything in its power to get rid of western banks, the prime minister welcomes the Bank of China with open arms. I am curious what kinds of guarantees he offered the Chinese to prompt them to establish the Bank of China’s European regional headquarters in Hungary. Without some guarantees I can’t imagine that any banker in his right mind would choose Hungary.

The rest of the agreements are less exciting: the usual cultural centers, more bilingual Chinese schools, and additional scholarships for Chinese students to study in Hungary. It seems there is money for foreign students even as the government sharply reduced the money available for Hungarian higher education in general and introduced very high tuition fees for Hungarian students.

The question of a direct flight between Budapest and Beijing came up again. When there were such flights they operated at a loss. Of course, if Chinese business is substantial enough in Hungary, such flights might be feasible. At first glance, however, it is hard to tell how extensive Chinese economic penetration will be as a result of these agreements.

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Istvan
Guest
According to a recent report from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, approximately 287,260 Chinese individuals currently hold active student visas in the U.S. That means they account for about 29% of all international students, and the total number is more than the international student population of Europe, South America, Africa, Australia and the rest of North America combined. Chinese students pay full-price tuition in US colleges, they may pay additional fees and typically don’t get financial aid, so enrolling these students brings a financial benefit for schools struggling to balance their budgets. In Illinois, China ranked as the country of origin for 6,800 of the nearly 31,100 foreign students at colleges and universities in my state. It can cost a Chinese student $200,000 to get an undergraduate degree at the University of Illinois. Many upwardly mobile Chinese families, especially those who have adhered to the state’s one-child policy, have been saving for years to pay for college. If they’re still short, they might sell their apartment, and extended family members might kick in. While there’s a minority of Chinese parents who think an American education superior, most seem to see an American college degree as a luxury goods item —… Read more »
Member
Istvan :Are Hungarian Universities in that bad of a state for the government to pay for Chinese students when the University of Illinois is reaping cash for the same students? Or has Orban lost his mind? Orban lost his mind. In fact he did loose it long time ago. Interestingly Hungarian education will worth noting very soon under the Orban government, so instead of infusing money to reestablish the value of Hungarian degrees, Orban decides to import students. I do not get it either. Currently the Board of ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education) suspended Hungary’s (HAC – Hungarian Accreditation Committee on 29 November 2013). Hungary has two years to do something with the level of compliance of criterion 3 (resources) and 5 (independence) in order to reestablish its full status. Yes, this came out in November, but somehow the Orban government failed to inform the public, in fact they advertise the improvement of the new education initiatives. I assume, they are looking to the East for new standards. Just like Matolcsy’s success with his unconventional monetary policies, Hungary will also witness Hoffmann success with education. http://www.mab.hu/web/images/doc/hirek/Letter%20ENQA%20to%20HAC_170114.pdf I am not really sure what Russia’s reaction will be… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

“Bank of China
Not to be confused with the
People’s Bank of China (the central bank of the People’s Republic of China) or the
Central Bank of the Republic of China on Taiwan.”

Bank Of China (Hungary)
Jozsef Nador tér 7,
since February 10, 2003.

tappanch
Guest

Further fideszization after the election:

bankruptcy administrators, a very lucrative business

http://www.origo.hu/itthon/20140212-felszamoloi-palyazat-trafiknyertes-es-allami-cegvezeto-a-palyazati-nyertesek-kozott.html

longbee
Guest
Orban and his people don’t get the Chinese. The Chinese are acutely aware that Hungary has a population of less than 10m people and it is decreasing, vs. China’s 1.4bn population which is stabilizing (still growing slowly). The Chinese think about Hungary and the EU primarily as markets. They can and do want to produce everything, which Europeans can then buy from them. The thing with China is that the Chinese produce competitive products, they do not really have to promote themselves, the global traders, stockists anyway go to China, because of sheer economic logic. Also the Chinese are rather snobbish, they hold provenance to be an important factor. They like French wine, Italian suits, Scottish tweed and whiskey, Swiss banks and watches, UK boarding schools, German engineering etc. Hungary does not seem to fit into that picture. The only thing the Chinese possibly still need from the EU is know-how and they bought a number of experienced mittelstand European companies lately which operate in niche markets. Also they still produce inferior cars so they invested in Renault, which is a leading company when it comes to car electronics. The Chinese are competitive in every possible segment of the industry… Read more »
tappanch
Guest

Q: Why is it so lucrative to create your own party?
A: You can easily get 3 million dollars from Orban.

Transparency international explains:

comment image

Fidesz generously gives taxpayers’ money to fake parties
to make it difficult for the voters to find the real opposition
on the ballot paper.

The election party counter is at 68 (+ 7 rejected)

http://www.valasztas.hu/hu/ovb/

I-dip
Guest

Disgrace of Hungary 2014.
How can a decent nation be represented by these people?

China
Guest

May I quote the Nepszava?

http://nepszava.com/2014/02/magyarorszag/orban-pekingben-hulyenek-nezte-a-kinaiakat.html

Fooling the Chines? I don’t think so.

And I know them pretty well.

Bealga
Guest

There is no bargaining with the Jews.

The history of the nation can not be subject to some lowly horse trading or wheeling-dealing.

This is not how we do things in Hungary.

The majority has rights too and even the minorities must respect that.

And as our Asian ancestors said the dogs bark but the caravan moves on.

Tinshed
Guest

I can’t get this fascination with Iran. Why bother? Is it a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend? The downside of being seen as so fraternal to Iran must surely out-weigh any benefits that might accrue from such a relationship. Perhaps I am expecting Hungarian foreign policy to be based on reason, logic and self-interest. Apparently not.

Mr. Paul
Guest

New developments on the boycott and the subsequent letter, sent the next day:

“The leaders of Mazsihisz lie. They lie to us. They abuse the practicly unified majority who they represent, the Hungarian Jewry. They turned traitor to their constituents and thus became unfit for their office” said Tamás Suchmann the former vice president of Mazsihisz and former politician of MSZP, in an email to members. He also called for the immediate resignation of the full Mazsihisz leadership and a congress to be held to sort out the leadership questions.

In Hungarian:

„Mazsihisz vezetői hazudnak. Becsapnak bennünket. Visszaélnek az őket felhatalmazó, gyakorlatilag egységes többség, a magyar zsidóság megbízásával. Elárulták a megbízóikat, méltatlanná váltak a tisztségükre” – ezeket a megállapításokat Suchman Tamás, a Mazsihisz egykori alelnöke (és nem mellesleg az MSZP egykori politikusa) küldte szét e-mailben a szervezet tagjainak.

Suchman levelében az elnökség haladéktalan lemondását követelte, és azt is javasolta, egy rendkívüli közgyűlés összehívásával oldják meg a személyi kérdéseket.

with source:
http://index.hu/belfold/2014/02/12/suchmann_a_mazsihisz_vezetoi_hazudnak/

Pishti71
Guest
Tinshed, it’s a no brainer. Iran has a population of about 80m, more than half of it under 35. I imagine at one point in the near future Iran will overtake Russia, for example, which is on the decline demographically. Iran sits on huge, mostly untapped, underdeveloped reserves of oil and gas. Its economy is also underdeveloped in general. Foreigners hope that there will be a lot of money coming from the extraction industries once Iranians can sell oil/gas freely and that the Iranians will realize that it is so much easier to spend money on imported stuff than to set up factories and compete with Chinese etc. stuff. Of course, a huge chunk of the resources will be wasted internally (via subsidized oil for example) to placate the people, as is the case already, so it is a question how much will be available for export, the income of which can be spent on imported consumer stuff. But businesspeople are optimistic by nature. There is nothing political about Iran, I do not think Europeans care the slightest about Iran’s international issues, just like Germans or French do not give a s**t about Orban or Hungary or Uktraine, they just… Read more »
K. Sandor
Guest

Mr. Paul, I predict nothing will happen at Mazsihisz no matter what Suchman demands. The account movements of the top Mazsihisz people have been all carefully recorded going back for years. Do Zoltai or Heisler want to get a treatment like Gabor Simon? It’s actually a pretty good deal if you look at it. Mazsihisz will continue to get the state subsidies and its leaders will not get prosecuted. (Of course no real case is even necessary, only a controversy, and then the courts will decide in some 7-8 years). Who could resist that?

Well, then, let us coöperate. I say we can surely hammer out a compromise that takes into account the interests of the entire nation. And that is what they will do.

Kong of King
Guest
Orban’s main vehicle is apparently found. It is Olajterv Zrt., owned until now by Hungarian deep state elements. Now the majority is acquired by an unknown named Istvan Polony (according to a PPT file available on the internet he graduated from Corvinus in 1996 and has worked in various management positions) who obviously has no conceivable means to do such an acquisition. The majority stake’s value must be in the tens of billions of HUF range as Olajterv’s sales in 2011 amounted to HUF 70bn and paid dividends of HUF 17bn, though 2012 was apparently less successful, no news on 2013. But it’s the same bunch of people who were involved in the recent MET/MOL oil deal in which some 50bn forints disappeared just in 2012. In other words Polony is a classic Strohman. Orban and Simicska realized that to keep their wealth more is needed than legal protection through complicated shell structures. The ultimate protection is that by reliably trained opeple. The issue with a Strohman is that legally his wealth cannot be connected to Orban. Everybody can suspect it, but only two people (and perhaps one other who suggested Polony to Orban) know it for 100% and they… Read more »
Member

The fascination with Iran has interesting ideological roots in Turanism and the pseudo-scientific search for the roots of the Hungarians. For those who read Hungarian: http://cink.hu/en-sajnos-sejtem-miert-nyalnak-orbanek-irannak-1521252962/+szilylaszlo . (“… this was our favourite pastime: Uncle Icu took the “Népszabadság” to see whether there were news about Iran, where – that I already knew – the real relatives of the Hungarians live, not those who the lying Communists claim to be our relations. If there were, and in those times, at the time of the fall of the Shah, there always were, he read the central persons’ names aloud and explained what they mean in Hungarian. Prime minister Bakhtiar = Betyár. Because, as we know, the Hungarian language is related to Persian.”) As the author claims, the young Fidesz upstarts from the countryside have very quickly adopted the spiritual legacy of Budapest right-wing circles, including the “harmless” Turanism.

But despite this ideological tradition, I think the real keyword was “stability”. Somehow, this reminds me of this: http://youtu.be/KC7dGnOZv4A . (A Tadzhik pop singer’s dithyramb to Vladimir Putin, the real message is in the refrain: VVP, as long as he is in power, he will preserve stability…)

Mr. Paul
Guest

According to András Heisler (from Mazsihisz):

“We have an enormous amount of support both in Hungary and internationally. This is a historical oppurtinity for the Hungarian Jewry, let us take advantage of it.”

http://goo.gl/m9KM7G

Anyone have an idea, what exactly is the “historical opportunity”?

Is it the boycott, that created an opportunity?

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
The first news item is from yesterday; I discovered it on the Iranian news agency’s website.

As a matter of fact, Farsnews isn’t the Iranian State news agency, but the Revolutionary Guards’. Now, doesn’t it sound like good business that they should start a joint-venture with EchoTV, as their information standards and preoccupations are often the same?

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/worldviews/wp/2014/01/13/iranian-news-agency-says-the-u-s-is-secretly-run-by-nazi-space-aliens-really/

petofi
Guest

The only thing we can offer China is Hungarian citizenship which, for the time being, has all the advantages of EU membership.

petofi
Guest

@ Mr. Paul

It seems to me, sir, that you have a vested interest in not only continuing, but fanning, the Mazsihisz/Orban controversy…

petofi
Guest

Largely, Orban’s main intent with the China ‘opening’ is disinformation. He wishes to show Hungary’s openness towards others as well as the Russians. In this way, he wishes to mitigate
the notion that he has sold the country out to one nation–the Russians; and specifically, to Putin.

Mr. Paul
Guest

“It also reported that in addition to the Hungarians, dignitaries of Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan also sent greetings to the Iranian leaders.”

A few countries seem to be missing from the list:

Germany, England, France, Australia, Spain, Holland, Russia, China, Italy, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey and others are missing for some reason.

And also Ban Ki Moon general secretary of the UN is missing who personally congratulated Iran “for the victory of the revolution”.

At least according to this website:

http://german.irib.ir/nachrichten/item/254175-un-generalsekret%C3%A4r-gratuliert-zum-sieg-der-islamischen-revolution-im-iran

It is a german language a iranian website as far as I can tell.

So this could be a reply to Tinshed who wrote:

“I can’t get this fascination with Iran. Why bother? Is it a case of the enemy of my enemy is my friend?”

It seems a whole lot of countries are “fascinated” with Iran.

Mr. Paul
Guest

Meanwhile Index journalists are chasing Gabor Simon. Literally chasing him. “What followed was a 10 minute car chase”

“Fél tíz körül váratlanul beült az udvaron álló autójába, és elhajtott. Munkatársaink utánamentek, ezután egy körülbelül tízperces autós üldözés következett. Simon vezetés közben többször telefonált. Végül valószínűleg látta, hogy nem tudja lerázni az üldözőit, visszatért a házba, így most sem nyilatkozott.”

http://index.hu/belfold/2014/02/13/simon_gabor_mar_nem_parlamenti_kepviselo/

Is that even legal?

La Boheme
Guest

Petofi, remember that fideszniks are just crazy about media, or rather paranoid to the point of madness, as evidenced by their stories of little antant conspiracies. But they do control media effectively and so their success justifies their behavior retroactively. Mr. Paul has been assigned to this forum to create discord. I think there were tries before him from his employer but they just did not fit in. Mr. Paul is more successful. I think his/her predecessors were too young and inexperienced in this kind of work, so a seasoned veteran had to be called in.

Mr. Paul
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Re Tamás Suchmann’s intemperate remarks. I think that sending the letter allows Orbán to retreat and save face. I think it was a good idea. I never thought much of Tamás Suchmann.

So you predict a “House of Fates” cancellation and the acceptance of the points raised in the letter, the Páva street budget increase and the House of Coexistence in Romhány street? This would mean that Orban retreats as you say. But would a retreat of this kind be enough to lift the boycott in your opinion?

Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest
Mr. Paul : “It also reported that in addition to the Hungarians, dignitaries of Kyrgyzstan, Azerbaijan, and Tajikistan also sent greetings to the Iranian leaders.” A few countries seem to be missing from the list: Germany, England, France, Australia, Spain, Holland, Russia, China, Italy, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Turkey and others are missing for some reason. And also Ban Ki Moon general secretary of the UN is missing who personally congratulated Iran “for the victory of the revolution”. Seriously?!? 🙂 There was a banquet was hosted by the Iranian Ambassador to the UN, which the Secretary-General, as well as many diplomats from the nations mentioned, attended. IRNA’s (the official Iranian news agency) dispatch about the event focuses on the success of the event, as measured by its attendance. That’s fair game. Towards the end of the dispatch, both in Farsi and English, there’s a tiny paragraph stating: “Ban Ki-moon, on the sidelines of the ceremony, told IRNA he was pleased to felicitate victory of Islamic Revolution and Iran’s National Day to Iranian nation and hopes to be witness to progress and development of this great nation.” There is no quote, no soundbite and no video to support the claim. And the… Read more »
Marcel Dé (@MarcelD10)
Guest

Eva S. Balogh :
Yes, ,opportunity to set the historical record straight.

I don’t read it this way. I think the answer is in the title of the communiqué, which is also the sentence illediately before the “opportunity” bit. The opportunity is for Mazsihisz to engage in some “real advocacy”.