European Union in crisis: David Cameron and Viktor Orbán

In the last few days we discussed at some length U.S.-Hungarian relations, which are not in the best of shape. We also briefly talked about the harebrained ideas of a Hungarian Catholic bishop on the death of Christian Europe. During these few days some newsworthy events took place in the European Union, the most important being British Prime Minister David Cameron’s “ultimatum” to the European Union. Analysts suspect that Cameron doesn’t really want to get to the point of holding a referendum on Great Britain’s membership in the EU but wants concessions that he can present to domestic critics of the EU. Given the fragile state of the EU, brought about first by the Greek financial collapse and now the refugee crisis, Cameron’s belligerence couldn’t have come at a worst time.

Cameron’s demands include a safeguard to prevent countries that use the euro from discriminating economically against Britain; an end to Britain’s legal commitment to pursue an “ever closer union”; and the right to restrict welfare entitlements, including benefits for low-income workers, for four years for migrants arriving from other European countries. Of these demands the last is the most troubling since it “would be a departure from current European rules stipulating that citizens of all countries in the bloc should be treated equally.” Politico.eu, on the basis of a conversation with a “diplomat familiar with the talks,” claims that the “EU leaders will offer to create a transition clause that restricts the ability of citizens of possible future EU members such as Serbia and Albania to work elsewhere in the EU.” At present there are restrictions for seven years after a country joins the bloc but, according to politico.hu‘s source, “this could be increased to as much as 20 years.”

Such a deal sounds unfair to me, although it might appease the three Visegrád countries–the Czech Republic, Poland, and Slovakia–whose leaders have already protested loudly. After all, London is full of “economic migrants,” the overwhelming majority of whom come from poor East European countries. Witold Waszczykowski, Poland’s incoming foreign minister, finds the British move “humiliating.” Peter Javorcik, Slovakia’s ambassador to the European Union, declared that “we cannot create two categories of EU citizens.” According to Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka, to put limits on the freedom of movement within the EU poses “a serious problem for the Czech Republic.”  I trust everybody noticed that Hungary said not a word on the issue.

While these leaders were objecting, the energetic Italian Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi, in an interview with Die Welt had a few harsh words of his own about the East European newcomers to the EU. He spoke about the walls that “are not protection but traps.” Renzi didn’t mince words on the behavior of the East European countries. According to him, “the Western European [politicians] paid a political price for the enlargement,” but now they are faced with uncooperative and belligerent Easterners. When the reporter brought up the intransigence of Viktor Orbán, Renzi pointed out that the dividing line on this issue is not left versus right but East versus West. There is socialist rule in the Czech Republic and Slovakia and yet they side with the right-wing Viktor Orbán and many Poles. He elaborated: “It is a geographic, not a political division between those who know Europe as a great ideal and those who primarily see it as an economic benefit.” The problem must be solved together and it will take years: “Only Marine Le Pen or other right-wing demagogues” believe that the problem can be solved in a week. I have no doubt that Renzi includes Viktor Orbán among these right-wing demagogues.

wektwoche

During the same period Orbán gave an interview to the Swiss Die Weltwoche in which he more or less reiterated the outlandish ideas he outlined in his recent speech about the organized nature of the refugee crisis. But this time, I think wisely, he neglected to mention the name of George Soros. He did, however, repeat his belief in a left-wing conspiracy to dilute Christian Europe. This time he also shared his conviction that the socialists of Western Europe welcome the newcomers because they will add to the shrinking voter base of leftist parties.

It seems that Orbán doesn’t have the patience to think through his pronouncements. Years and years will go by before these newcomers receive citizenship. When a large wave of immigrants arrives at the same time, the newcomers’ inclination is to vote for the party that was in power when they were admitted. This was definitely true of the 56ers in the United States and Canada. At least in the first ten or fifteen years after their arrival. Why would the Syrians, who at the moment are so grateful to Angela Merkel, vote for the socialists?

In this interview, which unfortunately is not available online and which I could read only in a Hungarian-language summary, I found two statements that shed light on Viktor Orbán’s state of mind. The first is that he pretty much acknowledges here, if only indirectly, that he has been isolated in the last few years because he “doesn’t fit in,” because he doesn’t “represent the euro-liberal mainstream.” Last night on PBS’s NewsHour I saw Viktor Orbán walking alone, one hand in his jacket pocket, at the Malta Summit, where sixty leaders gathered yesterday. The second telling sentence came at the end of the interview. He explains that the “European, civic, Christian Democratic camp is in such shambles that [he] must take upon himself the task that others cannot accomplish.” Nowhere before have I read such a bald confession of Orbán’s soaring ambition to lead Europe to accept his solution to the refugee crisis.

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Hmm 2... Ndy
Guest

Orban may have perceive few limits to his aspiration for ‘his own’ baby, Hungary (that now means his own self) to forge the only appropriate way forward for his dreamed-for leadership role within his very own ‘European Empire’.

N.B. His desire will be that the 2100 issue of the Rand McNally atlas will picture all of Europe for post 2020 as the ‘HUNGERIEN’ EMPIRE… 🙂

exTor
Guest

Viktor Orbán walking alone in Malta.

When I saw the video of Orbán walking with his wife at the funeral of Árpád Göncz, he was alone. No one wanted to be around him. I swear, Orbán almost looked like he wanted to cry.

Perversely, I felt a bit sorry for him.

MAGYARKOZÓ

spectator
Guest

When I looked at this image from Malta, I was the one who almost wanted to cry…comment image

exTor
Guest

Funny. Sad enough to laugh. Thanx spectator. Great pic.

The good life seems to be too good for the Viktor.
His shirt’s top button seems to be undone.
The tie’s loose and the jacket’s bulging.
To top it off, he’s getting a tad jowly.

MAGYARKOZÓ

exTor
Guest

Cant resist this afterthought.

Orbán, who never cracks a smile at an official function, it seems, is walking beside a politico who may be the tallest person present. Not only that, he’s black, which is rather delicious given Orbán’s racialist attitudes.

I didn’t notice at first, because I was struck by all the other negatives, but Orbán’s got his left hand in his pocket. Talk about looking louche. (Great French word.) It’s almost as if Orbán just doesn’t care.

MAGYARKOZÓ

spectator
Guest

The sad thing is that he isn’t only represent a country, but a nation and a culture as well.
By the other hand – that’s exactly what he does…

Hand in a pocket became kind a trademark of his, – like the Merkel-Raute, or Merkel’s diamond as it called – he obviously has no idea how to behave properly.
My problem with it that that’s part of his job, just as to dress properly and learn the necessary manners and protocols.

But then again, just to whom does he listen to – about whatever?

Paul
Guest

Ye gods! With all that money, he could at least get a decent tailor – and a decent hair cut, and maybe a personal trainer/nutritionist. Or maybe just someone to tie his tie up for him!

His great hero Putin would never appear in public in this state.

exTor
Guest

According to the Slovak ambassador to the EU, it is not right to “create two categories of EU citizens”, yet the same ambassador has no intellectual problem creating two categories of EU countries, one that accepts refugees and another that resists refugees. He is, after all, from Slovakia, one of the antirefugee Visegrád countries. No hypocrisy there.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Michael Stewart
Guest

Eva!
I think you miswrote…. when you said: “Analysts suspect that Cameron doesn’t really want to get to the point of holding a referendum on Great Britain’s membership in the EU but wants concessions that he can present to domestic critics of the EU.” Which analysts?

Cameron is publicly committed 100% to holding a referendum and by a date in 2017 – in reality it seems he wants a fast referendum next June (2016) to get this whole divisive issue out of the way – (see FT and Times beginning of last week) – but there is zero chance of not having a referendum!
best
Michael Stewart

Paul
Guest
Michael is correct – Cameron is absolutely committed to an EU referendum, it would be political suicide not to have one. The assumption here in the UK is that Cameron wants us to stay in the EU and is therefore attempting to come up with changes to the UK-EU relationship which will ensure the ‘stay ins’ win. At least, that WAS the assumption. But seeing both the zeal with which he is insisting on major changes and the seriousness of those changes, I am beginning to wonder if he is now pursuing his own agenda. He doesn’t have to get such drastic changes agreed to win the vote, so what is he up to? And from a pro-EU point of view (mine), this is getting very depressing. Even if the vote is to stay in, by that time the UK will such a different relationship with the EU compared to all other countries that we might as well not belong. I suspect the key to all this is free-trade. All the Tories really care about is having as many countries as possible they can have free-trade links with, the whole social/political side of the EU matters nothing to them, indeed… Read more »
Observer
Guest

OMG, the front page has an orwelian air, or a Folkischer Beobachter one? it seems the craving for power starts to overcome his sences resulting in ridiculous fantasies. As history shows such power junkies start to believe at some point their own propaganda and sycophants, looose touch with reality and do crazy things. God save the Hungarians, first of all from themselves.
I find it incomprehensible why do the EU heavies let this brown virus germinate and spread threatening the union, now Poland too goes brownish.
Orban should have been nipped early to send a message to other budding dictators. Appeasement doesn’t work with maniacs.

petofi
Guest

One of the problems of EU action on Hungary is that overt intimidation will lead to Orban calling on the Russians to help. In turn, the Russians will claim that they have important interest in Hungary–Paks–to protect. Then, the Russians will run down Romania on the way to helping Hungary.

petofi
Guest

Eva and Some1

Twice I’ve written comments and edits now and before I could post it, it disappears.

Egri
Guest

Note the facts:

“49% of UK trade is with EU; 14% of EU’s trade is with UK.

Who would be most desperate to do a deal post Brexit?”

(That is from Hugo Dixon on Twitter.)

Smaugli
Guest
Let’s not forget that what Orban does is 100% in line with Putin’s strategy. Orban’s euphemistic saying that “he doesn’t fit in” simply means that he is doing everything he can to saw discord and divide the Union. Putin’s long-term strategy is to neuter (if not destroy) the already divided and politically enfeebled EU (ie. as a political institution, Putin can’t destroy the deep economic ties). Putin’s short term strategy is to create dissent and divisions. Imagine if the EU couldn’t even agree on the sanctions re Ukraine (when even with these sanctions ordinary Russian’s are very happy with the deal they got). Putin’s most important agent in Europe is clearly Orban. Putin – and his people – control Orban as any good handler would control an agent. And make no mistake these efforts would continue post-Putin as this strategy is shared by the entire Russian political elite. (As to post-Orban, well, Jobbik is a thinly disguised Russian front entity.) Also, there is an agreement within this Russian elite that the old, lost Eastern-European sphere of interest, that host of client states must be regained by any means. Poland and Romania are difficult cases (given the anti-Russian sentiments held by… Read more »
exTor
Guest

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aleksandr_Dugin

Well, it’s my lucky day, evidently. On Friday the 13th [November 2015th version] I learn about Aleksandr Dugin, a 53-year-old Russian fascist, apparently [per Wikipedia], who has the ear of VV Putin.

I’ve got a lot of reading ahead in order to put the puzzle pieces into some semblance of Europolitical reality. Whew !!!

MAGYARKOZÓ

petofi
Guest

In the various online infos on Dugin, I found nothing on a private life. Does he have a wife, or is he still living at home with mommy?

Guest
Re: ‘ The Russians are real pros. And the very fact that the EU has no immunity against such Russian virus and seemingly no top EU politician cares about Russia’s efforts only strengthens Orban’s and the Russians’ belief that the West is indeed weak and is about to disappear in the sea of new, powerful, ascending anti-liberal nations (Russia, China, Iran, India)’ You know rather than the West viewed as ‘weak’ perhaps it’s more of the fact the Vlad and Viktor and the rest know where to push Western buttons and get a rise out those foolish ‘democrats’. Those guys are always probing the West’s belly. In the great continental and global chess game going on Viktor and Vlad are playing against each other just as much as against other opponents. Each ‘game’ has its own combinations to play. And on that I’d suggest that yes the Russians are grandmasters and therefore dangerous to have the edge. Why? For the simple reason they seem to embrace bold bold moves in the game. The moves usually shake things up and require others towards say a ‘re-orientation’ of the present. And for that I note the incidents of ’56 in the Soviet-Hungarian… Read more »
Observer
Guest
Let’s not overestimate the Russia connection: – There is a lot of anti-Russian sentiment in Hungary, stronger in Orbán’s camp, although fanatic faith suppresses it to a degree for now. – Orbán personally is a horse trader going for immediate gains, short term at best. Used to listen to crafty advisers, but less so last year or two, as witnessed by the messy communications and extremist statements. – Putin personally doesn’t like Orbán, in such systems it counts. – Russia, more importantly, has too much “internal” issues on its hands – Crimea/Ukraine, Abkhazia, Chechnya, relations with the ..stans and the Baltic states, etc. In Russia’s world play Orbán was an easy game, but still a minor show. – Russia has bout of economic flue at present, money’s very tight. First priority should be, probably is, to keep the Moscow and large cities happy. While supporting a client state is no option, selling a nuclear power station on credit is the next best thing. – Last, the Orbán mafia seems to be too greedy, the corruption is measured in % of GDP and the economy starts to hurt, total propaganda notwithstanding. It’s a slow process in a dictatorship light, but at… Read more »
exTor
Guest

I’m with Observer on some of what he writes. I too believe that there is a residual antiRussian sentiment, however (a quarter century after Regime Change) memories will have faded somewhat. Negativity towards the Russians may not have been passed on to any significant degree.

That said, the 2011 restoring of the Széll Kálmán tér name from Moszkva tér [Budapest District II] was as much about exorcising lingering bad feelings left over from the attempted revolution of 1956.

Amongst other things, one of Jobbik’s weaknesses is its eastward gaze. That will have to be worked on in the leadup to the 2018 election.

Six decades later, 1956 still looms large in Hungary.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Ndy - Reason EU's letting Orban get away with 'stuff'
Guest

The EU is not fighting fully against Rebel Orban’s anti-democratic ways because it wants to avoid tangling with a small and hardly significant neighbor.

Ignoring him or handling him as an outcast effectively isolates him sufficiently for now.

It is simply easier to accept Orban’s delinquent ways than mounting a battle thereby causing a proverbial ‘tempest in a teacup’.

For now Europe is savoring its relative ease at doing big business worldwide and the small seepage of moneys via Hungarian misspending is just a tiny leak in the tub, easy for the larger members to replace.

The EU ‘powers that be’ figure they will fix the leak if and when it gets more problematic.

Istvan
Guest
I don’t see the EU doing anything to Hungary or enforcing mandatory quotas of asylum seekers on Hungary. Mr Soros was correct in opposing quotas because they are not enforceable on the Central European states that have repeatedly expressed opposition to quotas. Orban is an intelligent although devious man, he is fully aware of the economic limits of Putin’s own mafia state. He is also aware that because of Russia’s economic limitations their state owned corporations economic deals with so called client nations will by necessity become exploitative at a degree that will make German, Austrian, US, and other for profit corporations seem kind. Russia will provide no Cohesion type funds that don’t rapidly generate a profit for the Putin mafia, Orban’s own Fidesz crooks will get cut out of the deal and the glue that holds together his rule begins to separate. I don’t see any rapid developments moving Hungary into the Russian camp, nor do I see Russia capable of an invasion of Hungary or other NATO nations unless they formally opt out of the alliance. Even in that situation Russia could face a nuclear assault by NATO forces, well really by the USA. No matter who gets… Read more »
petofi
Guest

By now it should be no secret that Orban is a doppelganger (thank you, Henry) for Putin. Anyone who thinks that there is a push-pull relationship between the two is sorely mistaken: Orban is just a Putin asset. He takes orders-he never questions or opposes.

One needs no better proof than Putin’s recent visit to Budapest when he went out of his way, before Orban, to insult the memory of the ’56-ers by calling them reactionaries. Now, if you feel free to give a slap to Orban before his very own people, why should you bother smiling at him?

Orban is Putin’s ‘stepin fechit’.

Guest

“Nice” pictures of Orbán:
http://akurvaanyadatbuttersofficial.tumblr.com/post/133017040189
I wonder at what occasion the last one was made …

Istvan
Guest

Related: Austria will build a fence on the Slovenian border for those who read Hungarian see http://nol.hu/kulfold/ausztria-is-keritest-epit-a-hatarra-1574797

There is clearly some irony in this given how aggressively the Austrians opposed Orban’s fence with Austrian Chancellor Werner Faymann comparing Hungary’s border fence to Nazism (see http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/09/13/us-europe-migrants-idUSKCN0RC0GL20150913#bwl2y8ZCR4IdIPyT.97 ). Pragmatism seems to be sweeping Europe in relationship to the issue of refugees, borders, and fences.

spectator
Guest

István, here is a difference between fence and fence, and the reasons why fences being erected as well.
I hardly think that the Austrian fence too would provide the means for the mindless and horrible massacre of (innocent!) animals, as the Hungarian does!

Even if there are quite a number of deers of foreign origin which trying to cross the border illegally every day, it’s an act of pure barbarism!

In my opinion, that is.

Bowen
Guest

OT. Is there a pressing reason why Orban Viktor’s Facebook posts are now also in
English? Including such news as visits to a zoo, or English subtitles on videos as internationally fascinating as his announcement of a new bike path in Nyiregyhaza?

Guest

Maybe he wants to counter those memes that are exchanged on the net:comment image
There’s more like this on vakkomondor …

webber
Guest

OT
Kurdistan is coming into existence, under the most horrific conditions. The Kurds are making major advances against ISIS. If Kurdistan succeeds, it could help stem the flow of refugees.
Perhaps Europe might make a joint policy on this, for once.
News here:
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2015/nov/13/tyranny-has-gone-kurds-and-yazidis-celebrate-recapture-of-sinjar-from-isis

webber
Guest

P.S. Ladies like this are part of why the Kurds can win – total mobilization, everyone is welcome to fight against ISIS, women and men alike. So, what’s wrong with these people’s Islam? Nothing, I’d say:

petofi
Guest

The success of the Kurds will push the Turks to ally with Russia if they would come to clean out the Kurds; and all it will take is one or two tactical nuclear weapons…or some serious carpet-bombing.

webber
Guest

Petofi, don’t hallucinate… (ne fesd az ördögöt a falra)

Look at some videos from Russian TV online about the take over of Sinjar. They are all positive. Unless I am very much mistaken, in one or two of the videos there is some Russian being spoken in the background (friendly advisors… on the front line?), and there are CERTAINLY some very nice brand new Russian rocket launchers being used in some of those videos. Where did they come from, I wonder….

For example, look at sec. 48 to 1:04 in this video:

Paul
Guest

petofi lives in a permanent state of hallucination, I’m afraid.

petofi
Guest

Believe me, I’d rather be wrong than right-

petofi
Guest

re Kurd success..

As the Turks turn to the Russians, some major tradeoffs may be afoot: Turkey gets to keep that portion of Iraq were the Kurds ruled; the Turks offer to repatriate all the migrants from Europe, settling them mostly in the once-Kurd terrain; America will be displaced as the major power with Russia/China now calling the shots in the Middle East and most of the world.

And then, ladies and gentlemen, bend down and kiss your assets goodbye because American jews will not allow the abandonment of Israel; and whistle a tiny tune because, finally, the Third World War will be here…

(Dugin and Putin will be reported to be spasming in ecstacy.)

Guest

Re: ‘European Union in crisis’

Events in France have exploded earlier..literally. That country and the continent will have to gird themselves for difficult challenges ahead. I hope they can do it.

webber
Guest

Petooooofi!

Your crystal ball is cracked. Get a new one.

petofi
Guest

Paris attack: the biggest casualty may be Merkel who is under attack.
Merkel is Europe’s greatest leader at the moment. Putin would celebrate…

Guest
Totally OT: Someone calling herself Melissa Mészáros writes on breitbart.com: Currently in the process of translating Zsolt Bayer’s blog into English, and it’s just irresistable to post here one of his funny posts. To those who don’t know what I’m talking about, Zsolt Bayer is a Hungarian journalist and one of the founders of Fidesz, and Viktor Orbán’s best friend of 30 years. He has been following events all summer and writing regularly in his blog. Without further ado, here is his post from June 26, 2015: We need a kind of country that is organized according to the desires of liberals. In that country there would be boundless freedom. In the schools, there would cease to be classes, lessons, accountability, discipline; there would be no more tests or exams, and there wouldn’t be any required reading. The students would be allowed to hang out on the internet all day, and from fourteen years of age they would be allowed to smoke weed, freely. (This regulation would soon be attacked by an organization called “One Million for the Free Weed-Smoking of Under Fourteens” that pools together on Facebook, and they would win their valiant battle.) There would be a single… Read more »
Guest

Thanks, Eva!
Sometimes I’m almost happy that my knowledge of Hungarian is severely limited, so I can’t even be tempted to look at idiocies like that …
And my wife would probably … if I asked her to translate this for me.

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