Jobbik shows the way, the Orbán government follows

There are several new developments on the refugee front, both inside and outside of Hungary. Let’s first discuss Germany’s surprise move  yesterday to allow all bona fide Syrian refugees to remain in Germany regardless of where they entered the European Union. The Germans thus made the first move to suspend the current rules governing refugees laid down in the Dublin agreement. As the spokesman for the interior ministry said, the decision was dictated first and foremost by humanitarian considerations, but there were also practical reasons for suspending the current practice. For instance, it took an incredible amount of paperwork and money to send refugees back to the first EU country where they set foot. I suspect that there was a third, unspoken reason for the change in policy. Out of the would-be immigrants, the Syrians are the most desirable from an economic and social point of view. Their integration seems to be the most promising. Learning from its past mistakes, Germany now offers new immigrants help to make their adjustment as easy as possible. Germany has registered 44,417 asylum applications from Syrians in the first seven months of this year.

In Germany new arrivals who are approved receive generous benefits. Their apartments are rent-free, and each adult receives 391 euros/month and children between 229 and 296 euros/month, depending on their age. The government also provides free intensive language lessons three hours a day, five days a week. Legal immigrants can become German citizens after six to nine years of residence. Even before the recent policy change, Syrians automatically received residency permits good for two years. But now Syrian refugees can really breathe a sigh of relief.

The Hungarian government’s reaction was typical. Government spokesman Zoltán Kovács “hailed the German decision, [which means] that no one will be deported back to Hungary.” He quickly added that Hungary is grateful “even if only one-third of the migrants come from Syria.” Kovács noted, however, that “one should not overestimate the German gesture because one cannot really argue about numbers, and the fact is that migrants arrive in Hungary from 67 different countries, including Bangladesh and Mali.”

Meanwhile, as everybody predicted, the new fence was an absolute waste of money. The Serbian government hires buses to move the refugees close to the Hungarian border where they can easily get across the low, flimsy fence or, even better, they walk along the railroad tracks bothered by no one. As a result, at Röszke, the official border crossing, the lines are getting longer and tempers are flaring. This morning there was a bit of a scuffle that ended in one jittery policeman using teargas on people who had to wait outside in the pouring rain. I assume that this confrontation is going to be used to justify new, more serious measures against the refugees who are, in the Hungarian government’s opinion, illegally crossing the country’s border.

kerites ma

This is what the fence looks like nowadays

The Orbán government’s strict measures seem to be inspired by Jobbik, a neo-Nazi party. The idea of building a fence was first suggested by the Jobbik mayor of a larger village close to the Serbian border. The next Jobbik demand was reestablishing the border guard units that were abolished after Hungary became part of the Schengen zone. Soon enough the government obliged and created a force with the intentionally frightening name of “border hunters” (határvadászok). Today we learned details of this force. It will be made up of 2,000 men who will start patrolling the border on September 1. One-third of the force will consist of second-year students from two-year police academies. There are four or five such police academies in the country, and the ones I checked have only around 200 students in each class. Thus, I gather that the entire incoming second-year class will be ordered to the Serb-Hungarian border instead of to their classrooms.

The Orbán government’s latest brainstorm, that is, sending the military to the border against the refugees, also comes from Jobbik. A couple of days ago János Volner, deputy chairman of the party, expressed Jobbik’s fear that “because of the growing aggressiveness of the illegal immigrants a police presence will not be enough.” He recalled that at the Greek-Macedonian border the police force proved to be inadequate to stop the masses of immigrants. He pointed out that the constitution allows the use of the military in case of emergency. Volner most likely has Article XXXI(3) of the Hungarian Constitution in mind, which reads: “During a state of national crisis, or if the National Assembly so decides in a state of preventive defense, adult male Hungarian citizens with residence in Hungary shall perform military service.”

The very next day the government announced that it is thinking about using the army along the borders. However, as Magyar Nemzet reported yesterday, legal experts can’t quite agree whether such use of the army is permissible without changing the constitution since Article 45(1) specifies that “Core duties of the Hungarian Defense Forces shall be the military defense of the independence, territorial integrity and borders of Hungary.” Clearly, the military would not be defending the country’s independence or its territorial integrity, but I suppose it would be argued that they would be defending its borders. This morning Zoltán Kovács informed the media that next week parliament will vote on the deployment of the army along the Serb-Hungarian border. That to my mind means that the government’s legal experts have decided that there is no need to change the constitution and that a two-thirds majority in parliament will suffice. Such a super majority can easily be achieved with the support of the large Jobbik parliamentary delegation.

None of these developments is heart-warming, although at the moment the scene at the border is more like what you see on this video. The refugees simply walk through gates in the sturdier fence that was constructed along a few sections of the border.

It is hard to understand what Viktor Orbán is planning to achieve with his harsh policies. No matter what he does, Hungary will be unable to stop the flow of immigrants. The fence has turned out to be a joke. Although government officials often talk about jailing all those who damage their fence, such a response is beyond the capability of the government. Then why all the saber rattling? I assume, like everything Viktor Orbán does, it is intended to consolidate support. He has but one overarching goal–to remain in power, if possible until he drops. And, he undoubtedly believes, Hungarian voters should reward him for protecting the country against the extreme danger these refugees pose. Thus far public opinion polls indicate that Hungarians haven’t bought into the government rhetoric. The vast majority of the population never encounter any refugees, most of whom disappear from Hungary as soon as they can, so they don’t feel threatened by these Middle Eastern and African asylum seekers. Hungary is just a thruway, not a destination–unless, of course, the EU eventually decides to return “undesirables” from Bangladesh and Mali to Hungary.

Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
tappanch
Guest

Yesterdays new record: 3,241 newly registered migrants. Among the 90% “captured” in Csongrad county, the percentage of children was 23.6%.

http://www.police.hu/hirek-es-informaciok/legfrissebb-hireink/hatarrendeszet/hatarrendeszeti-hirek-csongrad-megyebol-145

tappanch
Guest

Arbeitslosengeld II = „Hartz IV“ from January 1, 2015

Adult = 399 €
child between 14 and 17= 302 €
child between 6 and 13 = 267 €
child between 0 and 6 = 234 €

European court ruled that Germany is entitled NOT to give this money to EU citizens seeking jobs in Germany for at least 3 months.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“The Orbán government’s strict measures seem to be inspired by Jobbik, a neo-Nazi party.”

On the ground, there is absolutlely no difference ijn attitudes held by Fidesz and Jobbik mayors and chieftains.Fidesz’s 8th District Mayor is a a Neo-Nazi by any definition of the term.

turkish
Guest

But Mate Kocsis likes to use the services of gipsy mafiosi like Nandor Jonas.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

Bit like the Jüdische Ghetto-Polizei?

Kocsis must be a very happy man tonight hearing about those poor souls who have died in that van in Austria.

turkish
Guest

Orban wants to create chaos, a giant complex, controversial discourse so that people will talk about it (and they do) rather than about corruption and lack of jobs and government services.

Also Orban wants to look like a statesman, a commander in chief. Also people like his actions, I’m sure he became more popular. When popularity is down start a war, and this is his.

He is a thoroughly corrupt politician looking to improve his popularity and he is succeeding. He can’t attack Romania so he attacks those “black immigrants wanting to contaminate our white community”.

This is a very simply story. Meanwhile the left is mute (do they still exist?), no one cares about them, their era is over.

Member
Are the Defeatists Deluded or Disinformers? “turkish”“This is a very simply story. Meanwhile the left is mute (do they still exist?), no one cares about them, their era is over.” I’ve been puzzling for some time about postings like this, which seem to pair a valid condemnation of Fidesz depredations with dismissal or denigration of the “left,” and I’ve at last figured it out. (More astute readers will probably have twigged much earlier.) This kind of comment comes from Jobbik supporters, trying to capitalize on Fidesz malfeasance the anti-Fidesz sentiment in HFP to promote their (at least) equally repugnant form of odium. Note that these “critiques” never come paired with support for a democratic opposition; only with a blanket invocation of (Fidesz’s) stereotyped whipping boy, the “left,” (or left-liberals, or liberals) as the ones responsible for all past corruption and now obsolete or obsolescent. The reasons for the democratic opposition are at least these: (1) the undemocratic strangle-hold of Fidesz on the media, the economy and the law; (2) the proneness of (enough of) the populace to Fidesz’s ugly agenda and propaganda; and (3) the (resulting) weakness and disunity of the democratic opposition. The unspoken subtext is that Jobbik is… Read more »
Member
Are the Defeatists Deluded or Disinformers? “turkish”: “This is a very simply story. Meanwhile the left is mute (do they still exist?), no one cares about them, their era is over.” I’ve been puzzling for some time about postings like this, which seem to pair a valid condemnation of Fidesz depredations with a dismissal or denigration of the “left,” and I’ve at last figured it out. (More astute readers will probably have twigged much earlier.) This kind of comment comes from Jobbik supporters, trying to capitalize on Fidesz malfeasance and the anti-Fidesz sentiment in HFP to promote their (at least) equally repugnant form of odium. Note that these “critiques” never come paired with support for a democratic opposition; only with a blanket invocation of (Fidesz’s) stereotyped whipping boy, the “left,” (or left-liberals, or liberals) as the ones responsible for all past corruption and now obsolete or obsolescent. The handicaps of the democratic opposition are at least these: (1) the undemocratic strangle-hold of Fidesz on the media, the economy and the law; (2) the proneness of (enough of) the populace to Fidesz’s ugly agenda and propaganda; and (3) the (resulting) weakness and disunity of the democratic opposition parties. The unspoken subtext… Read more »
Reality Check
Guest

This what I call “concern trolling”. I have noticed this for quite some time on HS.

Member

(I meant HS above, of course [though much the same is happening on HFP, except there the filtration and de-toxification of the troll postings is — in my opinion — still too lax].)

I guess what you mean, @Reality Check, is “pseudo-concern” trolling, as both the Fidesz trolls and the Jobbik trolls have an agenda that the crocodile tears are shed to promote.

Reality Check
Guest

“Meanwhile the left is mute (do they still exist?)”

This nonsense is oft repeated on this site. Just because you are not paying attention does not mean the left is mute. They certainly have been speaking out and making proposals.

Here is just one current example, there are lots of others if you look around.

http://www.politics.hu/20150827/socialists-make-proposal-for-border-crisis-management/

But, they have no power in parliament, so what exactly are you expecting?

Guest

Isn’t this anti-migrants campaign’s primary purpose to divert the Hungarians’ attention from the socioeconomic/political situation in the country + to embezzle money from the funds allocated to build the fence (+ arguably reinforce Fidesz’ support among the population)? It seems to be a perfect depiction of today’s Fidesz, wouldn’t you think?

Guest

I forgot to mention the billboard campaign

Wasa
Guest

You are right, but it works. So Orban does it and wins.

Meanwhile the leftists are speechless, like a deer in the headlight don’t know what to do before Fidesz and Jobbol mows them.

Reality Check
Guest

They are not speechless, you are not listening.

Guest
This story about the Syrians in Germany reminds me of what happened 25/26 years ago in my home town (I’ve written about these people already): Among the many people that fled Romania was a couple from Székely with two small children – he of German descent, she Hungarian, practically not knowing the German language. They were moved into one of the refugee camps, he got a job immediately as a technician – she had to go to school first to learn German, like her children. She immediately told her German teacher she wanted to work to get some extra money – since her qualifications as a technician in a lab were worthless in Germany she started as a cleaning woman … That teacher was (still is …) a friend of ours and recommended her to us – and worked so well that she kept that little extra job for 25 years … To make a long story short: After a while she got a job in a large kitchen, the family moved into an apartment, later they bought and renovated an old house, their son went to work at the Mercedes factory and was sent to the US factory for… Read more »
Live long and prosper
Guest

Hungary’s fence, which I had earlier decried, is a actually a cause for mirth. Who’d have thought it could be that bad? It reminds me of the fabulous new storm drain built under our street at great expense (with EU money, obviously); heavy rain now gushes down the surface of our road in a wild torrent, carrying with it tons of soil and gravel, exactly as it did before the fabulous new storm drain was constructed. It makes me wonder whether the year-long and messy excavation and construction project resulted in some benefit for the politicians and bureaucrats responsible for it, thereby ‘draining’ funds away from the actual drainage solution. After all, aren’t Hungarians supposed to be world experts in matters of water management? According to stereotypical lore, they are also world experts at mysterious overtaking within the confines of a revolving entry/exit system.

Off topic: yesterday I witnessed the wry humour of Hungarian fly-tippers, who had dumped a dozen or so tattered dustbin bags of household rubbish adjacent to a sign indicating an area of natural beauty. Or maybe it was Banksy?

Guest

Lots of fear there in Magyarorszag. It is unfortunate that Jobbik is the engine room of that circumstance that appears to be flowing through its psyche against all foreigners (‘they keep a knock in’ but they can’t come in’ ) who are not apparently the ‘special ones’.

And the fence with 2000 bodies ‘holding’ it up? If UNESCO is on the ball they’d call up GV and ask him for the use of their services rather than putting their finger in a leaking dike.

If it’s defense that’s wanted there’s plenty of indication that events in Palmyra by ISIS that they not only don’t care about the lives of human beings but the artifacts of the ancient world that still exist down through the millennia. Hungary would appear to do better in perhaps protecting’ world heritage and civilization of which the country shares than engaging in futile and mean-spirited enterprises. At least it would show they give a damn about something outside of themselves when it comes to the world.

tappanch
Guest

Simicska’s Magyar Nemzet lost 1/4 of its readership in the last 12 months, while Heti Valasz lost 9%,

Hungarian dailies and weeklies:

http://mfor.hu/cikkek/122768.html

domain
Guest

HVG is also dead in the water with some 35k sold each week, that’s nothing.

It’s not in the audit but ÉS and Mancs each sell about 6,500 per week.

Note that Fidesz-linked entrepreneurs now own the major women’s interest titles (Nők Lapja etc.) which either increased their numbers or stagnated. Conclusion: women still like to read, they purchase way more than 60% of books sold and theatres are full of women. Men just don’t care about culture and are not curious.

Webber
Guest

“HVG is dead in the water…”
HVG has lost readership, true, but it is still the most widely read newsweekly in Hungary by a large margin. Nothing the right has produced comes even near that.
In a country of under 10m. people, for a quality weekly 35,000 subscribers is a very respectable figure. If Hungary had the US’s population, proportionately, that would be over 1.1 m. subscribers.
Nők Lapja was always the most widely read weekly in Hungary. It has lost readership under Fidesz management.

tappanch
Guest

The Orban government will sell 300 to 380 thousand hectares of agricultural land owned by the state (about 7% of the cultivated land of Hungary), starting this year. They will exclude 98.8% of the adult population from the bidding process, only 1.2% of the people will be entitled to buy the agricultural land.

http://index.hu/belfold/2015/08/27/lazar_janos_kormanyinfo_20_tajekoztatoja/

Gondola
Guest

Yep, Fidesz locks its power in all over Hungary as these well-selected people will naturally remain extremely loyal. This is one of the methods to create and operate a national network of loyalists.

If the left-wing was that smart maybe they still had a national network which is absolutely essential for any party in the present election system (even if it’s rigged). The leftists never understood the nature of the game ie. nation-wide networks and now they are ceasing to exist. The chapter of Hungarian history is now closed.

Needless to say the smart fideszniks lawyers will lock these awards in so that no future government may take those plots back (but in any case the loyalists will receive the EU subsidies). Game over. The left-wing in Hungary is over.

There is a reason why Orban is not worried, he is still just getting started, see media, new network of loyalists etc. He is planning way beyond 2018.

Member

(@Gondola) Yet another covert plug for Jobbik wrapped in pseudo-concerned indignation against both Fidesz and the democratic opposition. (Crocodile jeers.)

Guest

@Stevan Harnad
August 27, 2015 at 1:15 pm

It is an open question whether the posts you are commenting on are those of Jobbik trolls or realists with a sure finger on the Hungarian political pulse.

Occasional, random spurts of left-wing activity are no evidence of any kind of significant political clout on the part of the left side of politics in contemporary Hungary. (Apropos also @Reality Check August 27, 2015 at 11:52 am, above)

The Hungarian left appears to be totally disorganised, fragmented, minuscule and incapable of any kind of effective political action, to the point of utter paralysis.

I got no dog in this fight, but it seems to me that the political power and influence of left-wing remnants, factions and fringe groups in Hungary is today no greater than it used to be in the late 1930s, which is to say next to zero.

If so, your assertions to the contrary would appear to be no more than well-intentioned exercises in wishful thinking.

Member

@Mike Balint, You may be right that my perception is influenced by wishful thinking. But defeatism is self-defeating. So even apart from the Schadenfreude of the undeclared Jobbik supporters, those who keep ritually repeating that the “left” is this or that may as well drop the stereotyping and simply declare frankly that they are talking about all democrats left in Hungary. Otherwise they are simply echoing the prevalent scape-goating that has been so effective for Fidesz (and now Fidik). (Worse than the scape-goaters are those who keep enjoining the democratic opposition to ape Fidesz’s dirty tricks in order to be more effective: Those too are unwitting or willful fellow-travellers of Fidesz.)

Juan
Guest

Do you know what’s interesting? There are almost 2,000 readers of this blog, out of which there are a few dozen regular commenters. I would say there can be only a handful of regular readers who are Jobbik or Fidesz fans. But no self-declared leftist/liberal reader/commenter ever opposed any of these statements about the Hungarian left, no leftist ever defended their actions. If nothing else that must be an evidence that leftists are truly dead in the water, I mean try to go to a site beloved by fideszniks and criticize them, how long do you think would it take until the defenders of Orban would bury you?

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“There are almost 2,000 readers of this blog, out of which there are a few dozen regular commenters. I would say there can be only a handful of regular readers who are Jobbik or Fidesz fans”

Racists, nazis and the far-right fruiitcakes generally take the comments section of political blogs more seriously than democrats.

And so is the case in Hungary.
Hence the fact the Fidesz/Jobbik extremists dominating the online “discourse”. There is little to no worth in dealing with these fascist nutters.

But the fact that they and you don’t understand is that the 2000 people who matter reading Hungarian Spectrum pay liitle attention to your childish little taunts but are concentrating instead on the high quality analysis delivered by Professoir Balogh.

I know for a fact it is read in embassies in Budapest and forwarded onto various foreign ministeries. I am sure there are also influential people contained within the 2000 daily readership

I am sure they pay little to no attention to the Fidesz/Jobbik trolls.

bela lu
Guest

Well, if I were a diplomat I probably would after all the fidesz/jobbik people rule Hungary and will for the next few decades.

That said these supposedly important experts and diplomats confuse trolling with inconvenient news at their peril.

And I’m not referring to Hungary now, but to the political situation in Western Europe where the last EU elections showed that ordinary people are pretty fed up with the mainstream parties and their ideology. In this regard Hungary is only a state where, given its underdevelopment these tendencies and processes manifested themselves earlier.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“Well, if I were a diplomat I probably would after all the fidesz/jobbik people rule Hungary and will for the next few decades’

Missed the point spectacularly.

They know exactly what the Fidesz/Jobbik fascists are all about- a far-right government on the edge of the EU obviously is monitored closely by the democracies.

My point is the racist/anti-semitic/homophobic/misogynist/ignorant filth spewed out by Fidesz/Jobbik trolls in comments section is quite sensibly ignored by those who pay closest interest in our country.

burger
Guest

“Racists, nazis and the far-right fruiitcakes generally take the comments section of political blogs more seriously than democrats”

And don’t forget that they are taking every kind of activity including voting more seriously.

They are more active, proud and on a mission.

Meanwhile the leftists are divided, disorganized, without passion and conviction and as a result they tend to lose.

D7 Democrat (@D7Democrat)
Guest

“They are more active, proud and on a mission” and despicable excuses for human beings.

I think I would rather be “divided, disorganised” etc etc than the kind of person making jokes about the death of the refugee women and children. If that makes me and other democrats in Hungary “losers: then so be it.

Guest

@Juan:
f you want to see a “discussion” between democrats and Fiddik just go to politics.hu!
Try this for a start:
http://www.politics.hu/20150827/socialists-make-proposal-for-border-crisis-management/
There you’ll see the real “face of Fidesz” etc – and if you’re Hungarian, then you might hang your head in shame …

tappanch
Guest

Orban government will give loan with preferential, 2.5% interest to the winners to pay for the price.

This is a very bad deal for the taxpayers.

The price of agricultural land is kept low in Hungary artificially. The state will get only 25% return on the loan with simple interest after 10 years, while the chosen new owners will have 400% easily or even 1000% return on money given to them by the state !

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20150827_Kizarjak_a_nagybirtokosokat_a_foldprivati

tappanch
Guest

Say a Fidesz-chosen person gets 100 hectares for 500,000 euros.

He will pay 125,000 euros in interest to the state for the loan in 10 years.
The EU subsidy is 230 euro/(hectare*year). at this moment. If the subsidy
is not increased, the new owner’s 10 year income from the EU is 230,000 euros.

If he actually cultivates the land, the average sales revenues from the crop
is 1000 euros/(hectare*year).

[My numbers for this example came from
http://budapestsentinel.com/articles/farmland-owners-restrictions-hungary/ ]

So even if we calculate with no increase in the low price of Hungarian agricultural
land, the 10 year net profit for 100 hectares, if the owner sells his land is

1,000,000 + 230,000 – 125,000 = 1,105,000 euros.

If the price of land, say triples in 10 years,
the profit is 3*500,000 – 500,000 + 1,105,000 = 2,105,000 euros

Guest

Re: “The price of agricultural land is kept low in Hungary artificially. The state will get only 25% return on the loan with simple interest after 10 years, while the chosen new owners will have 400% easily or even 1000% return on money given to them by the state !”

Nothing like seeing some really really getting ‘overpaid’ over there in the land of milk and honey. But only a small few who are lucky enough to get the privileges while others experience political ostracism. The ‘pork’ apparently gets doled out real good over there. No wonder the country’s political digestion is ‘off’ and more importantly guys doing that kind of work keep a pretty good hold on keeping power. That’s the name of the game isn’t it?

Guest
spectator
Guest
Well, I must say that the so called “left” doing its best to support the so called “pseudo-concerned” comments and theories, you like it or not, that’s how it looks like! Just where are they as a unified force these days, when millions of Hungarians have no idea what to think, and in lack of any viable alternative they listen to the Fidesz/Jobbik crap and goes along? Out of sight out of mind, you know! Yes, I am aware of the latent xenophobe and anti-semitic tendencies which were present all the time, but there is nobody – as is no significant political player – in my best knowledge who stood up and acted against this inhuman lowlife madness what’s going on in Hungary! And yes, I am fully aware of the respective numbers and proportions, and also the politically misguided “civilians” sentiments toward the established political parties, but come on, if someone don’t think that this is the time to stand up and take responsibility, they should just as well disappear for good! And this is what’s about to happen. In my opinion the present situation is a watershed: you either stand up in the name of HUMANITY and you… Read more »
wpDiscuz