Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki / Lengyel, magyar – két jó barát–Not at the moment

Two days ago the media got wind of the news that Viktor Orbán was heading to Warsaw today to give a lecture on the Hungarian economic miracle before the Polish Chamber of Commerce, which bestowed on him the prestigious “Golden Umbrella” prize. I understand that among the earlier recipients were Lech Wałęsa, Bronisław Komorowski (today president of Poland), and Pope Benedict XVI.

There is a good possibility that Orbán’s original Warsaw schedule didn’t include a meeting with Ewa Kopacz, who only recently succeeded Donald Tusk as prime minister of Poland. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Hungarian side asked for the meeting only recently. At least this is what I read between the lines of an article published two days ago that talks about “plans for a meeting with the Polish prime minister as well.” Orbán was also hoping to meet with Jarosław Kaczyński, chairman of the far-right Law and Justice party (PiS) and–at least until now–a great admirer of Viktor Orbán. Apparently, the Hungarians tried for two solid days to convince Kaczyński to meet with the Hungarian prime minister but he was unmoved. Mariusz Błaszczak, the leader of PiS’s parliamentary delegation, confirmed the party’s refusal to meet with Orbán, announcing that in their estimation such a meeting was out of the question given the present political situation. This is total reversal of PiS’s policy toward Orbán’s Hungary. You may recall the thousands of Poles in colorful folk costumes joining the Peace Marches organized to save Viktor Orbán’s premiership. As a Hungarian site gleefully remarked: We won’t see Poles demonstrating for Viktor Orbán and his party for a while. The reason, of course, is Viktor Orbán’s soft spot for Vladimir Putin’s Russia.

Since the very beginning of the Russian-Ukrainian crisis Poland has been totally committed to Ukraine. We must remember that the western portion of Ukraine belonged to the Polish crown until the middle of the seventeenth century. As a Hungarian expert on Poland, Judit Hamberger, told Index, Ukraine for the Poles is something like Transylvania for the Hungarians. Polish public opinion is decidedly pro-Ukrainian and anti-Russian. In addition, Poles are great supporters of the European Union, joint EU defense forces, and a unified energy policy. So, they are for all those things Viktor Orbán hates. Orbán’s popularity in Poland plummeted when he stopped sending gas to Ukraine after he had a chat with the CEO of Gazprom, Alexey Miller.

Members of the Polish government share the sentiments of the Polish people. President Komorowski, no friend of PiS and Kaczyński, agreed with the leader of the opposition party when he recalled that “it was not a long time ago that certain Polish politicians considered Budapest an example to follow. Perhaps it is now worth their while to re-examine their positions.” Well, it seems that they did. Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna predicted that Orbán will have to pay a heavy price for his pro-Russian stance because, after all, the majority of Hungarians are against Orbán’s friendship with Russia. Naturally, the Polish media followed suit, from far-right to liberal. Rzeczpospolita, a center-right publication, declared that “Putin buried Orbán’s past,” meaning his famous speech in 1989 at the reburial of Imre Nagy. The liberal Gazeta Wyborcza accused Orbán of buying popularity at home by acquiring cheap Russian gas.

I have the feeling that the decision to arrange a meeting with the Polish prime minister was prompted by a report by Zsolt Németh, who happened to be attending a conference in Warsaw. It is one thing to feel important in the presence of President Putin in Budapest and quite another to be in Poland and feel its ire: parties, media, everybody. On the 17th Németh gave an interview to Index in which he emphasized the urgency of “explaining at the highest level that strengthening economic cooperation with Russia doesn’t mean that we want to withdraw from our support of European integration.” So, a meeting was quickly arranged which, as a Polish official remarked, couldn’t be refused under the circumstances.

It turned out to be a disaster for Viktor Orbán. Even his customary kissing of the lady’s hand didn’t help the situation. It seems that Orbán doesn’t do well with women, especially when they are in powerful positions. He had a pretty rough time with Angela Merkel. And I think that his meeting with Merkel was a cakewalk in comparison to what he had to endure in Warsaw. A Polish source, the television station TVN24, quoted Jacek Rostowski, head of the prime minister’s advisory team. “I think Prime Minister Orbán understood quite clearly what the position of the Polish government is.” And, he added, the Hungarian prime minister “didn’t receive any absolution.” On the contrary, “he was called to order.” In East-Central Europe they know that the polite, diplomatic language used in the western part of Europe does not work with this man. Rostowski wasn’t sure, but he hoped that Orbán understood the “very clear language of the prime minister.”

Kopacz and Orban2

Ewa Kopacz herself described the conversations as open, honest, and difficult. We all know what these words mean in diplomacy. The following quotation comes from a Hungarian translation. “As is customary between friends in an open and honest conversation, not avoiding each other’s eyes, I told Mr. Orbán: the European Union and the unity of the Visegrád countries in the present grave Ukrainian situation is of critical importance. I think that a large country like Ukraine has the right to decide its own fate. In our common past we Hungarians and Poles always lost when force supplanted international law. I think that countries like ours, which twenty-five years ago thanks to assistance coming from abroad, with the help of western democracies regained their independence, owe a debt of gratitude toward those who are denied the right of independence.” The delivery was anything but friendly. Moreover, the Poles made sure that the flag of the European Union was stuck between the Hungarian and Polish flags. I’m sure they knew that this flag irritates Viktor Orbán to no end.

It must have been very difficult to say anything after that speech. Orbán was brief and concentrated on the Minsk Agreement.”European unity is built on that agreement which Hungary will support and defend to the very end…. In this respect Poland can count on Hungary.” But I’m sure this will not be enough. The Poles want Orbán to condemn Russian aggression against Ukraine and support the EU position without any “ifs and buts.” But it is unlikely that the “great freedom fighter” will oblige. How long can he sit on the fence?

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Member

If you accessed Hungarian Spectrum via the old URL address (containing wordpress) , please update your bookmark to http://www.hungarianspectrum.org

Paul
Guest

Suddenly we have a ‘reply’ button!

Which is a good thing, because I forgot to mention the “Hungarian Economic Miracle”.

Can anyone explain what that is, exactly?

Paul
Guest

Orbán must be pretty toxic wherever he goes at the moment (outside the USSR).

On the day of Putin’s visit, I was very surprised to hear him castigated by several commentators on the BBC Radio 4 news. Hungary almost never makes the news in the UK, and I would have expected it to be Putin’s visit and any speech he made that made the news. But, no, it was all about how two-faced Orbán was, and how his uncritical attitude to Putin was unacceptable.

As for the flags – how nice it is to see Orbán standing in front of just ONE Hungarian flag. He looks almost naked!

Member

I tip my hat to the Poles. Their politicians are lightyears better in establishing a good reputation for Poland abroad, than the Hungarian politicians doing anything at all.

LwiiH
Guest

I did not see EU flag at the “book signing” event with Putin.

Elemér
Guest

And as usual Orban and his people lie, now they even claim nobody wanted to meet with PiS’ Kaczynski.

Orban lies without hesitation at any instance and especially so to domestic audience, so he does it again.

Only losers think they have to say the truth all the time. Orban is a winner and he can do whatever he wants.

That’s all.

http://index.hu/belfold/2015/02/20/orban-kaczynski_valaki_hazudik/

Ron
Guest

The Hungarians can learn something from the Polish.

They can unite, why can the Hungarians not?

Ron
Guest

I noticed that seven comments were posted, before I posted mine, but I saw only Some1’s comment and not the rest. Only after I posted my comment I saw the rest.

Ron
Guest

VO is busy first Merkel, than Georgia PM Irakli Garibasvili just before Putyin, and now his trip to Poland.

Btw who decided that there is such a thing as an Hungarian Economic Miracle and what this Miracle is?

The Spoiled Queen in Budapest
Guest

I am Polish who lives in Budapest more than 4 years, I love this city a lot but till now I can not understand why Hungarians are so afraid of everything? Sometimes I have the feeling that they don’t care about their own country, like they complain about government all the time, about corruption and many other things, but when it comes to voting, only 45% actually do that.
If similar situation happen in Poland (Orbán way of leading) there will be million people on the streets fighting against this type of rules and all media will be talking about it day and night. I see slightly progress in Budapest with demonstrations, still I think majority of Hungarian population don’t care at all..it’s quite sad, such a beautiful country with rich history can turn to be the one on the edge of Europe. I think it’s a high time for all Hungarians, to forget for a moment about their dogs, fröccs, Balaton relax and do something to protect democracy, otherwise we will have here second North Korea.

Lady
Guest
I think the criticism is fair, but it’s nothing especially Hungarian. Hungary is an underdeveloped country, lacking a strong middle class, most of the jobs outside Budapest directly or indirectly depend on the state (politics), so its very easy to retaliate and Orban’s people always get away with everything, with looting as well as with their tactics to threaten people who would go public or enter into politics. Dictatorial power (which is getting smarter and wiser so that it now appears formally as a democracy, when it fact it’s controlling mass media, judiciary, prosecution, rewrites the constitution, the election laws in a second etc.) works, as it did in Poland, Hungary, Romania etc. Plus Hungary is not like Poland at all (which is a huge, kind of Nordic country, with independent bourgeoise traditions even outside Warsaw), I think the country most resembling Hungary from the greater Eastern block is actually Serbia. People are lethargic, lost hope, depressed. I don’t think in a similar situation millions would be on the streets of Poland. It’s not like unemployed kids (people under 35, actually) would stage any revolutions anywhere, they like their iphones better. Italy has been clearly in a decline for 6-8… Read more »
Guest

Thanks for these comparisons!
I’ve been saying similar thinks on pol.hu and got heavy flak there – would it be alright if I quote you there as an independent source?
As a German of course the first thing those “Tiszta Magyar” do is accusing me (or my parents …) of being Nazi, stasi, Mischling – you name it …

The Spoiled Queen in Budapest
Guest

And why it is like this? Because people don’t work hard enough here. I experienced very bad service, and doing a business here is a nightmare. Nobody replied to your e-mails, nobody keep committed deadline, that’s why you don’t have middle class here, as nobody seems to care. A lot of foreigners come here and easily take Hungarian jobs, we make more money in Budapest, than an average Hungarian. How it can be even possible? Sorry to write it, but that’s unfortunately true all my foreigners and even Hungarian friends admitted the same. I would stop crying and talking about permanent Hungarian depression but rather take some action, and do everything possible to improve a quality of life.

Wstern Hungarian cities are more developed than Budapest
Guest
Wstern Hungarian cities are more developed than Budapest

Budapest is a backward region in a cmparison with Western Hungarian cities. See Sopron Szombathely Győr Zalaegerszeg Pápa Keszthely. These western cities are more similar to the similar sized Western European cities than Budapest. Both the mentality and lifestyle of the poeople of this western cities are more similar to the Western European cities.

Wstern Hungarian cities are more developed than Budapest
Guest
Wstern Hungarian cities are more developed than Budapest

Budapest is a backward region in a cmparison with Western Hungarian cities. See Sopron Szombathely Győr Zalaegerszeg Pápa Keszthely. These western cities are more similar to the similar sized Western European cities than Budapest. Both the mentality and lifestyle of the poeople of this western cities are more similar to the Western European cities.

nomo
Guest

Something isn’t working with the comments.

yog
Guest

For me, the comments are only seen if I comment too. Like with this comments, I can then read all the comments to this post, but without it – when I am writing this – I only see the first (Some1) comments. Weird.

Guest

Yes, some thing’s definitely wrong – when I just updated/refreshed, the last comment listed in the “recent comments” section was my own from 05.26.

Guest

I am not having the problems others describe–I see the comments listed in the side bar, the title list. When I first opened the page, there were about 4 of the of most recent blogs showing (about 8-12 lines each) so you could choose. I really like this! When I chose the most recent, clicking on comments, everything appeared as usual.

Alda
Guest

Magyar Nemzet came out strongly against Poland, and as pro-Russia. “Poland endangers Europe.”

It’s not as though Lajos Simicska really cares about the Russians, he was just sad that Paks 2 was taken away from him.

http://mno.hu/vezercikk/szakadek-1273712

An
Guest

Simicska sold his share in Magyar Nemzet, Hir TV, etc. a couple of days ago. Looks like he is done with the media war even before starting it.

http://index.hu/kultur/media/2015/02/17/simicska_kiszallt_a_hirtv-bol/

http://www.politics.hu/20150218/simicska-leaves-commercial-channel-hirtv-board/

comm
Guest

comm to read comms

Guest
Sounds like the Polish leadership has a lot more backbone than the Hungarian one. And a much more accurate historical memory. Interesting that the political comfort zone of the Polish public does not seem to be that mix of cheap populism and narrow nationalism we find among Hungarians. Poles seem comfortable with democracy, whether it be Christian Democracy, Social Democracy or Liberal Democracy. In contrast, what Hungarians seem to be most comfortable with are illiberal Christian Nationalism (Fidesz) or National Socialism (Jobbik). Thus, the Christian Nationalist illiberal Fidesz, for instance, does not fit the mold of the European People’s Party (EPP) at all, since the EPP is essentially an association of liberal Christian Democrats from all over the EU. In contrast to Fidesz, the Civic Platform (Platforma Obywatelska), the ruling liberal Christian Democratic grouping in Poland, seem to be in the mold of the German Christian Democrats, and is thus a perfect match for the EPP. It is the opposition Law and Justice (Prawo i Sprawiedliwość), the second largest parliamentary grouping, that seems to be the closest Polish equivalent to the Christian Nationalist illiberal Fidesz, though without the Hungarian propensity for extreme illiberalism and all-pervasive Balkan-style corruption. And again, in… Read more »
Hank
Guest

Don’t be mistaken on what PiS is. They may be staunchly anti-Russian – which is why they dislike very much what Orban is doing – but given the chance they would gladly copy his nationalist illiberalism.

Guest

My wife just told me that she saw on origo a short video of Orbán approaching Mrs Kopacs and belatedly realising that he had forgotten the bouquet that he was supposed to present her with …
So he made a quick step backward to take it from some person’s hands and returned to the lady prime minister …
PS:
My wife’s so happy with her new smartphone – she can select the news to watch and doesn’t have to go through those horrible newscasts on Hungarian tv with lots of totally irrelevant stories …

Member

The video clip can be watched here (http://index.hu/kulfold/2015/02/19/orban_udvarias_akart_lenni_de_nem_jott_ossze/ ) or here (the website of the Polish Radio: http://www.polskieradio.pl/5/3/Artykul/1381444,Viktor-Orban-w-Warszawie-Ewa-Kopacz-potepienie-polityki-agresji-jest-fundamentalne ), and it is definitely worth watching! Orbán in his not-too-well-fitting jacket turns his back to his Polish colleague, who is already approaching, to fetch the bouquet, hands it, then kisses Ms Kopecz’s hand. Kopecz lets it happen (unlike Sonia Gandhi, who – as could be seen in the also viral video clip – used some force to turn the kiss into a normal handshake), but then, she extends her hand to Orbán, as if to say: OK, little boy, you got your play, now let’s start behaving like two grown-up politicians do in these situations.
The body language of the two prime ministers is really worth seeing. Kopecz is polite, calm, cool and distant, Orbán is nervous, his hands tremble, his face twitches, and, time and again, we can see him licking his lips.

Member

Sorry: Kopacz, not Kopecz!

Member

SENTROOPPA-SANTRA: In India it is strictly forbidden for a strange man to touch a women. The viktor made a major diplomatic faux pas with his stupid and ancient “Küss die Hand” routine.

In diplomatic and political circles (as in developed civilizations) women and men are equal, so professional mutual respect is shown as handshake.

India is another culture and one MUST KNOW the customs before arranging the meetings.

Alas, what can one expect from a peasant from Felcsút, whose protocol minister is a man, who use to run an Andy Gump style human waste pumping and disposal company. (This is no joke, the man really was a manager of one such company and he may have been a good manager there.)

Member

My Hungarian friends routinely call Orbán “paraszt”, “tahó” or “bunkó”, and obviously not without reason. But never mind his sloppy clothing, ill-fitting suits (he has gained weight in a way which, to some expert friends of mine, suggests a serious metabolic disorder), badly knotted ties and other slight problems with protocol and etiquette. The real problem is his macho attitude: it is all too obvious that in his world, women are subhuman beings, perhaps deserving some beautiful gestures but not to be taken seriously. (The hand-kisses are just a little part of this. No wonder there are no women in his cabinet.) And I’m just asking myself how much his misogyny, alongside other factors, affects his dealings with Angela Merkel or Ewa Kopacz – in contrast to the über-macho Putin.

Paul
Guest

That clip is a gem – he’s way out of his depth!

Fat man in ill-fitting suit – he looks and acts like a clown.

Member

Speaking of the horrible newscasts of the Hungarian TV: perhaps somebody should try the same as Gary Shteyngart in NYT with Russian state TV ( http://www.nytimes.com/2015/02/22/magazine/out-of-my-mouth-comes-unimpeachable-manly-truth.html?_r=0 ), that is, spend a week in a hotel room just watching the state TV broadcasts and trying to understand what it is like to live in that parallel reality of the “economic miracle”?

Member

Something still a bit amiss with the new system. First it says there is only one comment, then in the top version (where it says “see more”) it says there are 4 comments. This was true for the other articles and comment threads too. And it turns out there are 27 comments (now). So something is not keeping track consistently…

Member

Configuration Problem for the New WordPress Spftware

As others above have noted, you have to actually do a commentary to see all the commentaries. There’s definitely a configuration problem.

Andu
Guest

Im from Romania, and all I can say is that here, Orban´s regime has been massively criticized by the medias and all political factors in the past 1-2 years. The new, yet to be appointed chief of the security service SRI , Eduard Hellvig mentions the the regional context is very difficult, due to the war in Ukraine, the communist-supported “pro-european” gov in Moldova, and Hungary which can act as a Russian Trojan Horse to undermine regional security and energy policy. He calls for a new task force to promote regional democracy, clearly aimed at the threat of the Orban regime.
From our point of view the whole region has gone to hell, from Bulgaria which can almost not have a gov for more than a year, Serbia with it´s many problems, Greece contemplates with economic suicide, Orban to the west of us…
There is a determination in the whole society that now is really the time to stick with the west, no matter what the cost, as there is no alternative… having the experience ´56, it is strange to see a lack of reaction from the Hungarian civil society…

Comm
Guest

it seems to be working.

kcsi
Guest
“Orbán was also hoping to meet with Jarosław Kaczyński, chairman of the far-right Law and Justice party (PiS) and–at least until now–a great admirer of Viktor Orbán. Apparently, the Hungarians tried for two solid days to convince Kaczyński to meet with the Hungarian prime minister but he was unmoved. ” This types of shameful propaganda and lies on this blog is really getting desperate. First of all Viktor Orban did not want to meet Kaczsyki who this blog anyway called far-right, and extremist. So can we conlcude that this blog is far right itself that without critique treats anything coming from a far-right source as complete and absolute fact? But please then treat everything as fact from kuruc.info as well use the same standard… Or are you selective handling of the truth makes it possible to create such stories? In a few months you will be ashamed of the huge lies you wrote in this article. You are so incredibly desperate. If Orban would have met Kacynski what would you write? We know exactly: that Orban met with a far-right and this is unacceptable this shows he is friends with Kacysnki who is a pariah in Europe etc etc. And… Read more »
Ron
Guest
kcsi: According to the PIS website. This is exactly what happened: Google translation: Law and Justice deputy: Jaroslaw Kaczynski refused to meet with Orban PiS leader Jaroslaw Kaczynski did not accept the invitation to a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – said on Thursday the head of the Law and Justice Law and Justice deputy club. As explained by the President of the Law and Justice refused to talk because of the attitude Orban, who “European solidarity storm.” Viktor Orban consists Thursday visit to Poland; will meet with Prime Minister Ewa Kopacz, as well as take part in the economic debate. “With the prime minister of Hungary came invitation to Prime Minister Jaroslaw Kaczynski to the meeting. Prime Minister Kaczynski refused the meeting due to the fact that the attitude of the Prime Minister of Hungary storm European solidarity. Unfortunately, not only the Prime Minister of Hungary, because the attitude of the German Chancellor and the President of France over the last few years, including the EU solidarity Storm “- said on Thursday Błaszczak reporters in the Parliament. He added that the proposal appeared meeting on Wednesday. “Due to the political situation such meeting, in our opinion does… Read more »
Istvan
Guest

The Poles have been unwavering in their support for Ukrainian independence and in opposition to Russian annexation of the Crimea. None of the comments in relation to Orban by officials of the Polish government are surprising. But Poland has now a serious military and political problem in relation to the Ukrainian leadership of Petro Poroshenko who has helped to destroy his own army with his bravado and idiotic no retreat orders in the face of a militarily superior Russian force.

Great burdens will fall on Poland in relationship to rebuilding what remains of the Ukrainian military even with US funding. The Poles know Orban will be of little use in relationship to that task, so what is the point of being nice?

Kavé
Guest

To Kcsi: why even bother trolling?

cheshire cat
Guest

Sentrooppa Santra

Haha, yes – I’ve just watched the bouquet scene. What strikes me is the TOTAL lack of eye contact from Kopacz, both during the hand-kiss, the hand-shake, the invitation towards the door. Then she throws the flowers into the hands of the first person whom she passes, without even looking at them.

Recently there have been quite a few of bruhaha mistakes from Orban, first Juncker dragging him away from the cameras, then him leaving the important Russian -Hungarian agreements on a chair for some journalists to find, and now this. Orban is obviously too nervous now, lost all his allegedly famous charisma and charm.

The hand-kiss is irritating. Not just because the way he does it is WRONG (Polish men often kiss hands, but they do it properly), but because emphasizing the
“ladiness” of a female politician is backward and bunko’. (sorry)

Member

OT: If you visit the blog just now, Please let us know if you can access the comments w/o a problem by replying on this thread (thanks to all who already did).

cheshire cat
Guest

I have no problem.

Guest

No problems here …

Paul
Guest

Fine for me too. But I still find this business of taking you right back to the beginning of the post once you’ve submitted a comment very irritating.

Comm
Guest

no problem.

Awgart Rawetrwetr
Guest

Budapest is a backward region i Hungary in a comparison with Western Hungarian cities. See: Sopron Szombathely Győr Zalaegerszeg Pápa Keszthely. These western cities are more similar to the similar sized Western European cities than Budapest. Both the mentality and lifestyle of the people of these Western Hungarian cities are more similar to the Western European cities.

Guest

But strangely enough these cities (or many of them at least) also are Fidesz strongholds afaik – so what’s going on there?
Maybe a bit OT:
As soon as you go outside of the city centers you see a lot of run down houses – almost ruins.
And even in the city centers – almost every day when we drive to Keszthely we pass the ruins of the famous Amazon hotel – just a stone’s throw from the beautiful Festetics castle. All our visitors are aghast and ask us why nothing happens there – the city promised to rebuild it several years ago, but it is just falling apart, a real shame. And the famous Georgikon (the first agriculture university in Europe!) on the other side of the street also looks rather down trodden. Not to mention the two famous hotels directly on the beach of the Balaton.

Awgart Rawetrwetr
Guest

Hungary built the first university of technology in Europe. Budapest University of Technology and Economics is considered the world’s oldest Institute of Technology which has university rank and structure. It was the first institute in Europe to train engineers at university level.[1] The legal predecessor of the university was founded in 1782 by Emperor Joseph II, and was named Latin: Institutum Geometrico-Hydrotechnicum (“Institute of Geometry and Hydrotechnics”).

The the world’s first institute of technology, was founded in Selmecbánya, Kingdom of Hungary[2] (today Banská Štiavnica, Slovakia) in 1735. Many members of the first teaching staff of BME arrived from Selmecbánya.

Awgart Rawetrwetr
Guest

Most of the ruins have no owners, especially in villages.

Guest

But I’m describing the situation in the rich city of Keszthely …
And from my experience (yes, we live there) around 10% of the houses in the villages are empty ruins but another 10% are inhabited ruins – usually inhabited by old people on a very small pension … Often only one room is lived in.
And to phrase the question differently:
Why is the government not giving out cheap loans to these people – just by insulating their houses they would save a lot of gas!
No, they prefer to spend the money on new stadiums – sorry, stadium is on the list of forbidden words …
My wife just broke into some hysterical laughter (she’s from Eastern Hungary where the situation is even worse …) – if it weren’t so sad it would be really funny: Orbán = Son of Orwell …

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