Social media and political change: The case of the Hungarian “teachers’ revolt”

I am following with fascination the Orbán government’s reaction to the “teachers’ revolt” that originated with a single complaining letter from a high school in Miskolc, a town that’s not exactly the center of Hungarian liberalism. The movement caught on mostly because another school’s teachers decided to start a webpage on which like-minded teachers and parents could join the Ottó Herman Gymnasium’s staff in demanding a change in Hungarian public education. The emphasis was not on salaries but on the quality of education, which has suffered immeasurably since the government decided to turn public education upside down, creating a monster that can barely function.

A handful of teachers started something that might usher in a new era: a successful grassroots movement to battle the regime Viktor Orbán created in the last six years. Of course, we are still at the very beginning: to date 23,286 individuals and 382 schools have joined the teachers of the Ottó Herman Gymnasium. But that was enough to get the government’s attention.

The response came quickly enough. On January 23 the incompetent top brass of the department in charge of public education, together with Zoltán Balog, minister of the monstrously large Ministry of Human Resources, organized a press conference. This hastily called press conference was held on Saturday, a day before Viktor Orbán left for Mongolia. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if Balog was instructed to act immediately. I am also sure that the minister was told how far he can go in appeasing the dissatisfied teachers. Not very far, as we will see.

So, Zoltán Balog assembled the troops: Mrs. Czunyi, the undersecretary, who inherited the mess from her predecessor; László Palkovics, undersecretary in charge of higher education; and Péter Horváth, president of the government-created National Teachers’ Association. The promises were meager. Balog claimed that they have been diligently working on reducing the administrative duties of teachers. I don’t know what Balog expected, but the announcement was not greeted with enthusiasm by the teachers and their unions. At long last the two teachers’ unions, the Pedagógusok Szakszervezete (PSZ) and the Pedagógusok Demokratikus Szakszervezete (PDSZ), decided to move into action. PDSZ is the more radical of the two unions, and until recently the two groups were unable to work together. Union leader Piroska Galló (PSZ) considered László Mendrey’s PDSZ too brash. By now, however, she has realized that her methods no longer work. And so Galló is refusing to accept anything less than a restoration of the autonomy of schools and a return of principals’ competencies. Negotiating with the ministry leads nowhere. Perhaps it is time to consider a teachers’ strike.

During the last week or so more and more teachers reported that KLIK, the “employer” of the teachers, was putting pressure on principals of schools that signed the manifesto of the Miskolc teachers. In turn, the principals put pressure on the teachers, several of whom, after signing the petition, asked that their names to be removed from the list for fear of  reprisals. Under the present system if a teacher is fired from his current job, he will not be able to be employed in any of the schools under the supervision of KLIK. A teacher’s fate is entirely in the hands of the state.

Despite all the threats, the number of protesters kept growing. A press conference wasn’t enough. So, three days later, on January 26, in a surprise announcement Balog said that he and his colleagues would visit Miskolc to talk things over. Moreover, he promised that they would pay several visits to various parts of the country to listen to the teachers’ complaints.

Well, the first meeting took place in Miskolc today. Although details of the gathering are sparse, I gained the distinct impression that Balog was forced to realize that the whole educational system as it was devised by Viktor Orbán and Rózsa Hoffmann is unacceptable to the teachers. It is not something that can be remedied with a few concessions. Otherwise, Balog’s comment–“let’s not act as if everything was perfect before”–doesn’t make sense. The teachers’ demand that schools should again be operated and maintained by the same organization means that they want the present dual scheme, which splits the two functions between the central and the local governments, to be abolished. That would mean dismantling KLIK and the centralized state system of education. At the moment that seems out of the question. The nationalization of schools, which makes the curriculum uniform across all schools, was one of Viktor Orbán’s pet projects.

Zoltán Balog in Miskolc. To his right Ákos Kriza, mayor of the city

Zoltán Balog in Miskolc. To his right Ákos Kriza, mayor of the city

The struggle between the government and the teachers is just beginning. Next door, in Slovakia, a teachers’ strike is underway right now, and if the government is not careful, the same thing might happen in Hungary. My feeling is that although the administration believes that some minor adjustments will suffice, as time goes on Viktor Orbán will have to give up several of his ideas about the ideal education for Hungarian schoolchildren, including the centralization of education.

Today we learned that Fidesz’s approval rate is growing steadily as a result of the government’s migration policies. Yet there are serious problems with the economy, healthcare, and education. The employees of the state railways are on the verge of striking. The government just announced that about 6,000 state employees will lose their jobs due to the closure of several ancillary institutions that served as professional advisory bodies to the ministries. One suspects that there are cash-flow problems because state employees often receive their wages late. Hospitals can’t pay their bills. The whole governmental edifice is crumbling. One day, perhaps in the not too distant future, the whole thing might disintegrate.

Nationwide organization is very easy in the age of the internet. Enterprising teachers at the Ignác Zimándy Elementary School in Törökbálint began a countrywide protest movement simply by starting a website where people and institutions could join the initiative of the Ottó Herman Gymnasium. That’s all that was needed. I understand that a social internet site is being tested at the moment to serve as a platform for those who would like to join others in starting a movement that might lead to the dethroning of Viktor Orbán and the eventual demise of his undemocratic regime.

January 27, 2016
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Paul
Guest
I’m afraid we’ve had too many false dawns imagined on here to believe that this will lead anywhere. It’s most likely that Orbán will wriggle his way out of it, just like he always does. The impression will be given that he has listened and things have changed, but in reality nothing will happen, and the teachers will give up (and the ringleaders will be quietly sacked). However, with the economy in the state it’s in, there is just a chance that things really might be heading for some big problems for Orbán – something so serious that even he can’t talk his way out of it. I hadn’t realised the economy was that bad, until I heard a BBC Radio 4 programme the other day. They were discussing the Chinese economic slowdown and the impact it might have on other countries. The commentators thought that the bigger, richer countries would survive more or less unaffected, but warned that those countries already in serious economic trouble would get hit hard. One of them listed half a dozen of these threatened economies as examples, and, to my surprise, Hungary was on that list. As I have said before, Hungary is hardly… Read more »
Ron
Guest
Until recently, I agreed with Paul. However, on Saturday January 16 many kids from 4, 6 and 8 grades (as I understand it) went for the entrance exam of the 8, 6 and 4 year gymnasiums. http://eduline.hu/erettsegi_felveteli/2016/1/6/Fontos_hataridok_ezeket_ne_feledjetek_janua_P0XYUB This year the pressure was so high that parent and kids broke down. Brilliant kids broke down because the pressure was too high, parent broke down because these kids have no future in current Hungary (parents are realizing this). As I understand it, the during mathematics entrance exams some kids cried and could not continue to go further (we are talking about 10 to 14 year old), and taking some of the others with them. A friend of mine working for a gymnasium informed me that for that exam (I described above) you could get maximum 50 points, only 3 of the more than 200 students were able to get more than 40 points (not 50 points). It was that difficult. According to my friend it was the most difficult test so far, but according to him and I agree with him, it was made difficult on purpose in order to reduce the number of at the Gymnasiums and later on at the… Read more »
webber
Guest

Just watch – Fidesz will find a way to make this an excuse to fire opponents and give more jobs to the party-faithful. “Fölháborító mit művelnek a magyar gyermekekkel! Helyre tesszük!”

Nicky
Guest

I heard the same kind of thing as Ron. A friend of mine took her 13/14 year old daughter to an entrance exam at one of the local high schools a week or so ago. Granted, that school is supposed to be one of the better ones. The girl in question studied hard for the maths part of this entrance exam, and had taken extra tuition beforehand to help her get through it. She also left the exam in tears. I hear stories like this all the time. Kids so overburdened and stressed out at school, then comes the entrance exam period and it gets even worse. Something is very wrong.

Guest

I saw a comment by Malala Yousafzai , the Pakistani girl who was shot in the head by the Taliban because she wanted an ‘education’ not only for herself but for her whole gender cohort.

‘All I want is an education, then I am afraid of no one’

And it does appear Hungarian teachers and administrators look to be in tune and in union with her on the idea. Perhaps a point of no return?
In simple language they look to be ‘fed up’. If this is true , Hungarian teachers have learned much from their profession. It looks as if ‘education’ indeed has done something to bring out the courage of their strong convictions.

By the way, what Ms Yousafzai said is unquestionably true. I know it as the sun rises and sets.

dos929
Guest
Dear Eva, in your closing sentences you are being ‘too kind’ in your assessment of the state of the ‘governmental edifice’. It is not just the government institutions and just about everything they touch is crumbling, it is the whole country. In any democratic society the disintegration just one of the basic institutions would bring about a revolt by the populace, but in Hungary ALL foundations of the civil society have been reduced into mere slogans of the regime, as yet the Hungarian society is as far from rebelling as are the citizens of Canada, who of course have no reason to dissent. For the casual observer of the Hungarian scene the basic question is always: “If the situation is really so terrible in Hungary, why the people tolerate it, and why they support the ruling regime in ever increasing number?” The answer is to the first question is that in practical terms all means of expressing dissent have been taken away from the Hungarian people. Let it be the judiciary, the offices of the ombudsmen, the Constitutional Court, the right to have a referendum, etc… etc… The list is endless. And the answer to the second question is not… Read more »
Guest
London Calling! As in any authoritarian state – the informer system at work in a Hungarian worker’s workplace ensures the worker can never step out of line – without risking their job. Many opportunist workers use the ‘compliance’ system to brazenly seek promotion with demonstrations of do-or-die loyalty and grassing up less demonstrative employees, thus ensuring promotion when the time comes. I’m sure the managerial and administrative jobs in, for example, education and health are filled by such goons that even in more prosperous times they would not exactly be run efficiently – the dyke workmen running the swimming pool in The Witness. I can’t imagine Zoltán Balog ever making a good decision as he himself is a product of this commocracy – remember his ‘luxury-hotel treat’ for those poor kids? Extreme examples are when the news reader in North Korea becomes emotional whenever Kim Il Un receives a setback. Orban’s system is more discreet – but still effective – very effective. It’s self-censorship in the media – and ‘watch-my-step’ everywhere else. We’ve had several conversations with Hungarians who have visited us – with quite responsible careers – a lawyer and pension administrator – who tell us that they have… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Quite right, Charlie. In Hungary, an opposition can be dismembered easily enough: you find the 4/5 leaders of it and either get rid of them (ie. fire them or even hoist some false charges) or you buy them off. Buying off works best with Hungarians because it prepares the way for future backstabbers to wait their turn and act similarly. So, timing is all important–you must pick the right time to ‘turncoat’…but Hungarians are past masters.

Hungaricum.

dalma
Guest
My firm conviction is that Fidesz’ popularity – which nonetheless has a very strong grass roots base – is misleading. I feel that it’s a bit like with mobile phones in 2006. Experts, the consumers, the makers of the handsets, the marketing advisors, journalists, everybody was convinced that Nokia and Motorola and Blackberry were the most popular brands and will remain so, Siemens had even decided to exits the mobile handset market entirely because it figured no profit could ever be made in this segment. Then Apple introduced Iphone in mid-2007 and it turned out that this was what people wanted all along, only the consumers themselves could not imagine it (let alone other established makers of handsets). What is certain from the polls to me is that people are not excited about MSZP, LMP, DK, Együtt etc. The polls only suggest that over these parties Fidesz is still – perhaps grudgingly for many – preferred. These parties, however, will not be able to defeat the incumbent Fidesz (which anyway rigged the system), I believe that only an entirely new offering can at least move the imagination of voters. (Given the rigged nature of the election system a clear defeat… Read more »
Guest
This is a possibility that many on here have hoped for – but Hungarians hunt with the pack – and are very conservative – and hate change. So not for a few political iterations yet – 12 years maybe. Inspired young Hungarians don’t politic. They do social media and emigrate – they escape. Many (most?) don’t ‘do’ democracy and are completely disinterested in politics. It’s the system – don’t question your teachers; don’t question your elders; don’t question society. You’re educated as a unit of work. Your parents are your ‘Kader’ role models. It’s Orban’s Commocracy. And it’s a constituency of two peoples. Those in Budapest…… And those not. Those ‘nots’ vastly outnumber the ‘ins’ and have: their own properties; one and two pensions; gardens and hens; and they only see Orban as their hero. They know how much blackmail money to pay the doctor and their dogs keep them secure. Many are women because the men are deceased through drink and smoking. If they haven’t retired they hold the power – as the beneficiaries of the flat tax – and they don’t want it changed. They know Orban will give them more energy cuts – and keep the flat-tax.… Read more »
Guest

Illetve addig megy a korsó a kútra amíg el nem törik. :-))

Csak ez még sokáig nem fog megtörténni . . . . . sajnos . . . . .

Guest

I fear only the handle will break off after 12 years – it will still be in use!

webber
Guest

IF they fire 100,000-150,000 people working in public administration, as they have announced they plan to do in the long term… rippityára törik.
It’s a big if.

libego
Guest

it’s a joke, Orban won’t fire them. This is the usual double-talk.

One day one fideszniks announces the downsizing the other day another one denies it.

The announcement is for Moody’s and S and P so they would believe that the government is serious. I think they will. They are no better suckers then the Western politicians were for years, plus they need good stories too.

When they upgrade Hungary suddenly Orban will forget about the fireings.

Guest

I’m not so sure about upgrading – have you seen the latest figures about people out of work?
Still over 500 000 if you include the közmunkás …

Klaus
Guest

Let’s hope that your opinion about the popularity of Fidesz is correct.

In German there is the concept of a “Scheinriese” – the closer you get the smaller it is.

Istvan
Guest
I find the idea that primary, secondary teachers, along with nurses are the harbinger of revolt against Fidesz difficult to accept. Another problem is the reality that the higher the educational level of a Hungarian the greater the possibility they will become a successful emigrant to the core developed nations of the EU. This becomes an economic problem and Fidesz has made a decision that the pre-university options for children should be restricted which will in turn reduce the flow of university educated Hungarians. Abstractly I suspect there are people who agree with that policy except when it comes to their own children who are of course extremely talented and have amazing IQs. Eva is well aware that there has been an ongoing debate even in the USA as to whether we are producing too many college graduates to be absorbed economically and we here are effectively raising the required educational levels for essentially clerical and retail jobs that 20 years ago only required a high school education. Our solution to this dilemma is to cut off funding for higher education tuition support and force thousands of students into massive loan debt. For those of us in the top 20%… Read more »
Guest
Let us however make some careful distinctions, rather than generalizing about education. “in general.” To the best of my knowledge there is no crisis whatsoever in USA higher education in the SMET subjects (Science, Mathematics, Engineering, Technology) – or for that matter in other anglophone countries like Australia, New Zealand, Canada, Britain or even Israel. The crisis in the USA (and elsewhere) appears to be primarily due to a severe overproduction of graduates and academic papers in “soft” humanities and social sciences subjects, which lack the tough and exacting academic standards of the SMET subjects. And it is not only some of the politically correct fields such as gender studies, race studies, holocaust studies, cultural anthropology, etc, etc. that are of concern, but the inflationary epidemic of ever lower academic standards washes across to more traditional humanities and social sciences fields as well, such as literature, history, economics or linguistics. My own academic field is theoretical linguistics. As a businessman and management consultant, I was always fascinated with the nature of language, and on retirement I undertook a research PhD, which I finished magna cum laude three years ago. To my profound disappointment, however, I found linguistics to be absolutely… Read more »
Guest

Mike, this sounds rather depressing!
I’m not as well informed as you there but still I’d like to add an anecdote:
Someone in the Hungarian family needed a “diploma” in a second foreign language. Now she speaks very good English, but her German …
Since she had a limited time she got a brilliant idea (or maybe it was suggested to her:
Take Esperanto as your second language – it’s not too complicated.
So she got her degree in the end – had no problem in her field of studying, she was very good there, just this language problem.
Of course, one might ask why she didn’t have the chance to really learn two foreign languages at the gymnasium …

Guest
After reading Mike\’s post I am wondering that perhaps one of the problems on this topic regarding education is the idea that they\’ve lost the concept of what it means to be \’educated\’. So if the whole shebang is all \’centralization\’ it does illustrate what the government believes is their mandate in projecting \’learning\’ to the population. Get young Hungarians down a certain path and don\’t deviate from the \’text\’. That pressure on \’uniformity\’ is just the opposite of what an \’education\’ is to provide. I think the \’education\’ hierarchy is a bit lost there on a philosophical level. Their ideas do not bode well for the future. Hungary risks a population that can\’t think for themselves. Probably that also but more importantly that centralization is beset with a political story. For me , it looks a matter of learning the \’Fideszian\’ way\’ according to their bureaucrats. How the hell creativity and fruitful intelligence gets used under the circumstances is tough to see. Igen, sajnos sajnos. I hate to see it. And I\’d also think the politicization of learning and education is here as well. Brings up what indeed are the functions of universities today? At times I think discourse… Read more »
Guest
I would like to add a further point here to my post above (ambalint January 28, 2016 9:26 am). The humanities and social sciences departments in higher education are bastions and powerhouses of the left that provide intellectual horsepower to the left side of politics both within the universities and within left wing political parties, media and think tanks. This is one very important reason why the left side of politics prefers to fudge the debate on the so-called crisis in education by getting het up about education “in general,” rather than specifically in relation to the humanities and social sciences, and keep the discussion strictly to anger about funding while studiously avoiding issues, such as standards, relevance, or the senseless and untenable inflation of students, graduates, academic staff, and academic papers in so-called “soft” subjects. Other areas of vested interests that will soon begin to fight a desperate rearguard action are Law, as well as other fields, where heedless overproduction of graduates by bloated university departments is certain to come to a dead halt when disintermediation due to impending automation will begin to bite in the very near future. But that, of course, is another story that has nothing… Read more »
Guest

And this is not only as true in Hungary as in the anglophone West, but has a peculiar Hungarian twist to it.

The blatant, but selective starving of humanities and social sciences of funds in Hungarian universities at the hands of the right wing Christian Nationalist, Horthy-era-rehabilitating Fidesz-KDNP government is occurring precisely because these university departments in Hungary have historically been bastions and powerhouses of left-wing thinking and, since the eighties, of left-liberal thinking in particular.

But not uniformly everywhere!

Glaring exceptions are the history departments where the leadership of Jobbik got its education, the various Catholic and Calvinist tertiary establishments, and in general humanities and social sciences departments run by Christian Nationalist professors.

These operate as the agitprop arms of the regime and unsurprisingly enough, none of these appear to suffer in any way from a lack of adequate funding.

At the same time, the defunding of humanities and social sciences is not just highly selective, but huge funds are actually being invested in creating Christian Nationalist institutions for propagating expressly Christian Nationalist notions and dogma in humanities and social sciences subjects.

Welcome to the land of the “oonortodox” and of aluminium foil hatters . . . .

Guest

. . . the “oonortodox,” the aluminium foil hatters, and the falsifiers of history . . .

webber
Guest

Istvan
The United States is in NO WAY implementing policies similar to Fidesz’s in education.
There is simply no comparison. The United States government has a minimal role in higher education. The United States is in no way restricting access to higher education – it’s independent of government.
As to access to education – if a student cannot get a fully funded place in a great university, there are thousands of good ones to pick from. If a student cannot get a place in a good university, there are thousands more mediocre ones. If the student can’t get scholarship at all, there are community colleges. And yes, there is also student debt (or family financing)
There is also student debt and a student loan system in Hungary. The scholarships in Hungary for undergrad studies are so tiny that they just cover a room in a dorm these days. Food and other expenses are not covered at all by scholarships in Hungary. Either the student’s parents give the student money or s/he works, or goes into debt – and often enough, all three.

petofi
Guest

Any comparison of Hungarian ways with those of the US is totally ridiculous, whether in politics or education.

Guest

Your last sentence is so true …
And then people wonder why students take so long to finish their studies – and get ready for the exams (including that silly two foreign languages thing which should be clear after the gymnasium).

Guest
Because English is the lingua franca of a rapidly globalizing world, the vast majority of university students in anglophone countries are graduating without any working knowledge of a second language, while the vast majority of matriculating high school students are completely lost when they try to read a newspaper or express themselves about the simplest of things in a language they might have “studied” in school for up to eight years. That is a very great pity, but anglophone countries can get away with it because of their dominant linguistic position in the world. Tiny Hungary however cannot. In order for Hungary to succeed in the world, the average Hungarian should be effectively bilingual in Hungarian and English, and even better, trilingual in Hungarian, English and German. The pity of it all, and the profound irony of it all, is that up to the end of WW1, and even WW2, most if not all Hungarians had been in effect at least bilingual in Hungarian and German, if not trilingual in Hungarian, German and the language of whatever non-Hungarian ethnic background they came from, such as Slovak, Ruthenian (Ukrainian), Romanian, Serbian, Croatian, Slovenian, Roma or Yiddish. The mindless push for monolingualism… Read more »
Guest

By the way, I know for a fact that the foreign language skills of the vast majority of Hungarian graduates are pathetic to non-existent, notwithstanding any foreign language exams they might have “passed” in order to get their degree.

Guest

Yes, it’s a real pity!
Our young ones told us stories about this you almost can’t believe.
There was this teacher who had taught Russian before 1989 and now was supposed to teach English – she was maybe two lessons ahead of her pupils.
And then there was the German/English teacher of my wife’s son …
I probably told this story before, but it just stuck in my mind …
After I met my wife’s family I was happy to have someone who could converse with me in English and German but I got irritated when he spoke of his mother as “he” and her things as “his”. After having corrected him several times he explained:
His teacher had said something like:
Ignore those things like he/she and der/die/das – you’ll never understand them anyway …
Can you imagine this in gymnasium which is supposed to prepare the pupils for university?
Unbelievable!

Istvan
Guest
Webber the federal government controls the largest pool of funding for college tuition. Student loans come in several varieties in the United States, but are basically split into federal loans and private student loans. The federal loans, for which the FAFSA is the application, are subdivided into subsidized (the government pays the interest while the student is studying at least half-time) and unsubsidized. Federal student loans are subsidized at the undergraduate level only. A subsidized loan is by far the best kind of loan, but an unsubsidized federal student loan is far better than a private student loan. Some states have their own loan programs, as do some colleges. In almost all cases, these student loans have better conditions – sometimes much better – than the heavily-advertised and expensive private student loans. An unusual provision in US federal law prohibits student loans from being discharged through bankruptcy. It is the rare student who realizes the danger in taking out a loan with such a condition. In Illinois we have two major universities in deep fiscal trouble, Eastern and Western Illinois Universities. In part its due to a decline in students who have had fully supported Illinois by the Monetary Award… Read more »
webber
Guest
Istvan, you are comparing apples and moldy pickles. Does the United States government, or any American state government 1. name a university’s rector, if the rector chosen by the university isn’t a faithful party member? 2. delegate fiscal guards who control all funding at the top of all universities? 3. name professors, or prevent promotion to full-professorship if the candidate or his/her relative is in opposition to the government? 4. decide for every department in all public universities how many students will be accepted every year? 5. set entrance standards, so that the departments have NO SAY whatsoever on who is accepted or not accepted? 6. delegate young members of the party to head student unions? 7. pay student union heads who are party members MORE than full professors? 8. set salaries for every person in higher education in every institution (o a pay scale)? 9. set tuition fees for each and every institution? The answer to each of these questions is “no” for the United States. If I ask the same about Hungary, the answer is “yes.” And there is a lot more, which I have not gone into here. You simply do not know what you are talking… Read more »
grand
Guest

What’s the grand bargain with the Slovakians? One must be in the making.

http://nol.hu/belfold/cenzura-a-magyar-tudomanyos-akademian-1598697

webber
Guest

Fidesz is planning to build the Bős-Nagymaros dam after all. That’s the “grand bargain.” The only thing that is not clear is what the Slovaks are giving in return. The Slovak government is said to be ecstatic. Slovak environmental groups are disgusted and horrified.
The study that has disappeared probably says the ecological effects of the dam will be disastrous. What else could it say? It’s what the study decades ago found, too.
Incidentally – WHY is Paks necessary at all, if the dam will be producing as many kws as they say it will? (Hungary gets some of the energy, of course).

webber
Guest

P.S. Why do I suspect Pálinkás has something to do with all this? He’s no longer head of the Academy, is he?

nope
Guest

It’s insane, totally insane.

As if Orban would purposefully do everything he could to bind Hungary via international agreements which could not be terminated (legally or politically) to force Hungary to harm itself (to the Hungarian taxpayers).

Orban is a traitor many times over.

The big thing Hungary (representing Russia) could get is that from Hungarian taxpayer’s money MVM or MOL or whoever could spend billions of EURs to purchase into the Slovakian nuclear power station.

The logic is the other way around. To operate Paks 2 there need to be more dams built because the normal flow of the Danube would no be enough for the cooling so dams are necessary. Once you build one, you need to build two others too to smooth out the system.

The dams themselves could not produce enough electricity since in Hungary is a plain land. Compared to the costs , the return would be negative for sure. But who cares about rationality or what is good for Hungary?

webber
Guest

Actually, a dam at the “Danube Turn” (Dunakanyar) COULD produce quite a bit of energy, I believe. It’s one of the places where the Danube cuts through mountains (well… hills), so a fairly large lake could be built up behind the dam (think of the Bonneville Dam on the Columbia between Oregon and Washington), and that could generate significant amounts of electricity. Now, to do that, they’ll have to move some people up away from the river (they did for Bonneville – which also flooded an island that was an Indian tribal cemetery of very great age) , so I guess Hungary and Slovakia will go for a low dam that will cost a lot less, but generate a lot less electricity over the long-term too….

petofi
Guest

I don’t know why this is a mystery to people…but Orban is having a riotous pleasure–much like a three-year old whose piled up blocks–to bring the whole edifice of Hungarian society down.

This is as clear as the light of day.

Member

Let me share an OT that still relates to Eva’s recent choice of topics. It is a wakeup call on Croatia and its new HDZ- led government: https://euobserver.com/opinion/132002
I trust the journalist’ knowledge about the former Yugoslavian space so let me quote him four shortened sentences.
– HDZ’s Karamarko … said he aspires to rule the country in the manner of HDZ’s founder, former president Franjo Tudjman.
– Petrov himself (from MOST, the coalition partner) is a former Roman Catholic cleric. He’s heavily influenced by cardinal Bozanic, who’s about as far right as a Catholic prelate can be.
– The new minister for culture used to be a member of the Croatian Liberation Movement (HOP), a neo-Nazi group established by Ante Pavelic, a real Nazi, who fled to Argentina after World War II. (Minister) Hasanbegovic later joined the extreme-right HCSP party.
– The Karamarko-Petrov government in Croatia is, in reality, about as pro-European as the Kaczynski government in Poland, or the Orban government in Hungary.
Please add that the President is also from HDZ.
Sounds familiar? Ingredients for a Perfect Orbanian Storm? Yes, but missing the landslide victory, as yet. That is why I am saying that Poland is so important for the future of Eastern Europe.

Guest

The only true test of the robustness or otherwise of a political system is the test of hard socio-economic times.

Today the East Block nations in the EU are merely returning to form under the impact of socio-economic problems.

It was naive and delusionary to expect anything else from formerly communist countries (or indeed of a typically Levantine country like Greece).

Tiny Estonia stands out as a shining exception in among all this gloom.

Guest

Correction:

delusional (rather than delusionary)

Guest

The Ustasha is back in Croatia? That is like an Arrowcross coalition of Jobbik and KDNP taking over in Hungary.

Pathetic, but unsurprising.

Wohveli
Guest

My wife is a teacher in ”regionally dedicated” szakközépiskola. The schools job is to feed graduated students into near by German/EU firms producing for export. So, pretty important thing. You might think. But… The school’s computers were donated by Norwegian Government via the EAA program in 2007 or 2008. Since 2006 there has been 4 ”new” (all second hand) machines (CAD etc) deliverd to school, all by donations by the near by firms.

Hungarian government, be it MSZP or FIDESZ, did nothing else than to pay salaries and sloppy maintance of the buildings. Of a school that is important for the EXPORT SECTOR OF THE HUNGARIAN ECONOMY. On the last four years the Hungarian government has granted the school… new flagpoles. Schools most important job is to fly the flag.

As the school is now under the jurisdiction of ministery of economy (or what it’s name nowadays is), the schools management a dad better than under the KLIK. But bearly.

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