Viktor Orbán, the “great supporter” of European common action

A couple of days ago we pondered the true meaning of the Kohl-Orbán joint communiqué, which emphasized a coordinated European response to the refugee crisis. What could have transpired during the hour Viktor Orbán spent with the ailing Helmut Kohl? What did the former chancellor tell the Hungarian prime minister to entice him to sign a document that emphasizes common action in the face of one of the greatest challenges the European Union has confronted in its existence? We now have the answer.

Today Viktor Orbán gave his customary, carefully choreographed Friday morning interview on Kossuth Rádió. About three-quarters of the conversation was devoted to Orbán’s views on the migration issue. His message was unequivocal. It matters not what he signed after his meeting with Kohl, he hasn’t budged an inch. He totally rejects a common European solution to the refugee problem–unless, of course, the rest of Europe accepts his solution. One could ask why he signed a document that goes against his deeply held beliefs. Because such a gesture at the moment was to his political advantage. For him it was only a scrap of paper without legal consequences.

Today’s interview began with a “little white lie.” Orbán claimed that “every time I visit the southern regions of Germany I visit Chancellor Kohl.” Sure thing, he just calls the Kohl residence announcing that he is somewhere nearby and the next thing we know he is sitting in Kohl’s living room.

He continued the interview by systematically misrepresenting the current German position on the refugee question. He claimed that although it is true that in the past there was “a significant difference between Germany and Hungary on the handling of the migrant crisis,” by now “the Germans have changed their position.” They recognized that Viktor Orbán was right all along, although “Europe doesn’t want to admit that.”

Viktor Orbán in the studio / MTI

Viktor Orbán in the studio / MTI

It was inevitable that the issue of compulsory quotas would surface in this particular Friday session. After all, the Orbán government is already hard at work preparing the ground for a referendum on the question of quotas. The Hungarian people are supposed to refuse, through a democratic process, to allow any refugees to be settled in Hungary. Orbán is adamant on the issue. His view is that if Angela Merkel “made a decision to accept migrants without any control, then she should take full responsibility for that decision.” Since other member countries, including Hungary, were not consulted, they are not obliged to take responsibility for the consequences of this action.

The reporter, who is of course carefully trained and never asks embarrassing questions, did venture to inquire whether Orbán doesn’t see a contradiction between the Kohl-Orbán communiqué’s reference to common action and Orbán’s emphasis on national sovereignty. The answer is worth translating verbatim.

No, because stronger cooperation means Schengen. My suggestion is that if a country is a member of the Schengen system and therefore enjoys its benefits, which means that its citizens can move freely within the borders, it must also accept the concomitant commitments, which include the defense of the Schengen borders. If a country refuses this obligation, the European Union should take away this country’s right to defend the borders. Well, actually, since we are talking about sovereign states, one cannot force them, but the EU should ask them to hand over the right of defense. If that country refuses to oblige, it should be expelled or its membership in the Schengen zone should be suspended.

I find it interesting that Orbán’s first thought was to use force against a truant state and that it was only a second later that he caught himself offering a solution that disregards the sanctity of sovereignty he so fiercely defends.

Relatively little time was spent on his Schengen 2.0 action plan, but the little there was is interesting. He gave the impression of such staunch German support for his plans that the interviewer summarized her understanding, saying that “there is then strong German support for your ten points.” Well, at that point Orbán had correct her and admit that “not quite, because Brussels in the meantime published its own proposals … [which are] absurd.” According to this “ridiculous idea,” Europe’s demographic situation is so grave that only immigration can solve the problem. This is a totally unacceptable idea according to Orbán, who finds it “unchristian and objectionable from the national point of view.”

The government has already prepared the ground for a forceful campaign for the totally superfluous referendum against compulsory refugee quotas. They dug up an old study the Gyurcsány government commissioned back in 2007 on the demographic problems facing Hungary. Magyar Idők, the government paper, dutifully printed a long article about the evil intentions of the socialist-liberal government. Even the headline is telling: “The left has been waiting for the migrants for the last ten years.”

Magyar Idők’s summary of the document shows it to be a well-reasoned analysis. The study maintains that, with globalization, migration is inevitable and Hungarians, especially highly qualified professionals such as doctors, will leave the country to accept better paid positions elsewhere. This exodus might be lessened by certain government policies, but selective immigration will undoubtedly be necessary to maintain the healthy demographic balance essential for a thriving economy. Natural reproduction cannot solve the demographic problems of the country, and therefore a selective immigration policy should be implemented. It is possible that by 2050 10% of the population might be of foreign origin, the study predicted.

Orbán is now using this study commissioned by the socialist-liberal government as a weapon against the opposition. The highly xenophobic population now can blame not only Brussels for its egregious refugee policies but also the Hungarian socialist and liberal politicians who wanted and most likely still want to flood the country with foreigners. “We must prevent this at all costs. We must stop not only Brussels but also the Hungarian allies of Brussels. We must stop the left because by now anybody can read what kinds of plans they were entertaining.”

This from the mouth of Viktor Orbán, who told us only a couple of days ago that he wants to have a common European solution to the refugee question.

April 22, 2016
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Guest

I hope someone sends a copy of Orbán’s latest Friday chat to chancellor Kohl, so he can confirm what he already must know, that our Orbi “speaks with forked tongue”.

And by the way, I note that our illustrious leader is wearing a checked shirt! I thought it was banned from all Fidesz wardrobes. Or perhaps he thinks it will now appeal to the opposition? Who knows what goes on in that little “koponya” of his.

The man must be exhaused from making all those meandering and endless u-turns in poilicies, in double-talk, in deceit, in lying, in cheating, and in his blustering empty posturing.

Guest

”The man must be exhaused from making all those meandering and endless u-turns in poilicies, in double-talk, in deceit, in lying, in cheating, and in his blustering empty posturing.”

Everybody is saturated with information nowadays. The brains have run out of space for storing what Viktor Orban, or anybody else for that matter, said yesterday. We live in the era of ephemeralism. And he knows it!

Guest
London Calling! “Oh what a tangled web we weave – when we first practice to deceive!” Orban has dissembled so much that he can’t remember which lie he has to keep going for which audience. And so much for his so-called ‘intelligence’. Which I have never believed to be other than average – just an unprincipled politician who plays fast and loose with the truth every time his lips move. These types of politician are found in any ‘parliament’ of crows. Orban’s ‘Schengen 2’ has received the short shrift expected – such that there has been little or no press coverage outside Hungary – and I’m not in a position to know if it got covered inside – except to know that it would just be propaganda from the ‘State-Controlled Press’ – a phrase that I am seeing more often in International press coverage on Hungary. I am becoming increasingly incredulous of how Hungarians – not to mention the trolls – see the blatent lies and inconsistencies of the Orban administration. Orban, Lazer and Kovacs have been caught with their pants down so often that they wouldn’t have survived in a real democracy. And with a very low intelligence quotient… Read more »
Guest

Not too much OT – an article on Trump and Putin and their love for each other which might also apply to O:
http://www.nybooks.com/daily/2016/04/19/trumps-putin-fantasy/
Just one example:
More extraordinary still, Trump has indicated, in his selection last
month of Carter Page as a foreign policy adviser, that American policy
to Europe will be guided by Russian interests. Page, heretofore known as an adviser to Russia’s state gas company, has been among the prominent Americans spreading Russian propaganda about Ukraine’s revolution in 2014 and the Russian invasion that followed. In his writings he has questioned Ukraine’s status as an independent state, which is precisely the line that Moscow took to justify its invasion. He maintains—preposterously—that Ukraine is like Quebec inside a Russia
that is like Canada. Quebec is a province and Ukraine is a country. He
has referred to Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, a
signal violation of international law, as the “so-called annexation.”

Istvan
Guest

Trump is a mess on policy towards Russia, his focus is on China. I am amazed by the veterans here in the USA who are supporting Trump, they generally are former enlisted men and NCOs without college education from what I can see. I do agree with Trump on the need to force European nations to pick up a much bigger part of the expenses for NATO.

Sec Clinton is fairly pro -military (see http://swampland.time.com/2014/01/14/hillary-clintons-unapologetically-hawkish-record-faces-2016-test/ ). I can live with Clinton, even through she has adopted a very anti-gun position. I do not believe she will be able to legislatively implement it because those us who are gun owners here in the USA are too powerful of a lobbying group in Washington.

There will be a lot of Republicans voting for Clinton assuming Trump is the candidate of the Republican Party, Ted Cruz won’t do much better. It’s a sad situation for a life long Republican like me.

Observer
Guest

”The man must be exhausted from ..all those u-turns .. double-talk .. deceit ..lying, cheating …blustering and empty posturing.” Well said.

But it comes easy to him, they say (not very PC) It takes a gypsy (for such brazen lies).
How can anyone even buy a used car from him is somewhat of a mystery to me. I guess a lot of Hungarians are essentially cheats and lairs themselves and relate to “their own”.

Guest

Charlie: ”I am becoming increasingly incredulous of how Hungarians – not to mention the trolls – see the blatent lies and inconsistencies of the Orban administration. ”

Observer: ”I guess a lot of Hungarians are essentially cheats and lairs themselves…”

It is not only the Hungarians who fail to recognize Orban for what he is. Hungarians are not that special. Foreign leaders are making the same mistake as Hungarian voters. They just forget what he said yesterday. They cannot hold it in their heads.

petofi
Guest

@ Jean P

“Foreign leaders are making the same mistake.”

I doubt it.
I don’t go along with the common view (hereabouts) that the eu boys are incomprehending boobs. I think everyone (among the western leaders) more or less realize that Orban is a Pyutin asset and don’t particularly want to antagonize a fellow playing ‘chicken’ with American destroyers in the Black Sea.
Let’s just say that Orban’s account will come due in the future, and nothing will be forgotten.

Guest

I see Mr. Orban has referred to the proposed referendum he wants as a ‘European test of democracy’. Interesting in the sense that here is a fellow who extols the supposed virtue of democratic principles yet wants a vote to deny the potential of Magyars living with ‘certain’ others. The focal point there is not encompassing but exclusionary. Who would agree that that is a ‘democratic’ notion?

If this Magyar prime minister is a democrat, he certainly wears the wrong clothes. In thinking about it he’s like a Kadar type ‘pushing the limits’ of where supposed ‘democratic style’ can go. And the fit is terrible. Magyar governments perhaps would do well to get better ‘tailors’ when they delve into ‘democracy’.

triglodite
Guest

Orban will survive everybody. He is hard-working and healthy as a horse.

http://444.hu/2016/04/23/sulyos-tudoverzessel-kerult-korhazba-simicska-lajos

tappanch
Guest

Do Orban’s numerous secret services have a hand in Simicska’s poor health?

“Orban will survive everybody.” .

Orban is also a simple mortal, albeit a kleptocratic one – he is not a god.

Jabba8
Guest

Simicska has been a heavy smoker for 40 years and he’s been seriously overweight for at least 15. Orban doesn’t smoke and that alone may account for 10 years of difference between their life expectancies. That and the fact that Orban has access to the secret service, I agree. But given the mortality tables Orban can hope to live for another 25, especially that he has access to good healthcare. He is mortal, but I guess he isn’t leaving politics anytime soon.

petofi
Guest

Polonium hors d’oeuvres, anyone?

Jabba8
Guest

This is a very interesting list. It shows the number of average daily users (and the viewed number of pages but that’s not relevant) of the most popular internet sites in Hungary.

There are over 8m voters in Hungary.

Compared to that Index and origo.hu (both owned by Fidesznik oligarchs) are each visited during a 24hour interval by some 500k people (of course many people read both).

24.hu has 350k, Hvg.hu has 240k viewers, but 444.hu only 150k. (Again, many readers are overlapping of course). These are the sites that can be critical of Fidesz.

These figures nicely show that any purported “scandal” on the internet simply does not reach middle-aged or older people, especially outside Budapest. Simple as that. The internet – despite its growth – is really not that relevant in Hungary. Orban owns most of the media and its lock over average, rural people is almost perfect.

http://gorillavideos.tumblr.com/image/143217616839

Guest

Are you a defeatist or just a troll?
Why do you keep posting this nonsense – O will live/reign forever?

petofi
Guest

“O will live/reign forever”

I hope so. Schmucks like you deserve him.

Guest

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Observer
Guest

To remind readers that Fidesz has been loosing voters in last three elections, ie. had more votes in 2006 than in 2014 despite all the threats and cheating.
It will win in 2018, if nothing changes, but who can vouch for this.

Member

Hungary’s consummate hypocrite and demagogue swapping spots

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Guest

Arguably a ‘divat’ trendsetter with those checks!

Member

Hunpty-Dumpty
In this case (the checked shirts symbolizing the teachers’ strike) Orban is a trend-follower or rather trend-scrambler or trend-troll, putting on the spots as if he were crusading with the teachers, whereas in reality they are struggling against him. It’s this Hunpty-Dumpty world he’s created by co-opting the media, the attorney-general, the presidency, most of the courts, and all of the graft and sleaze, so the result is that he can say whatever he wants, and the opposite, because words just mean whatever he momentarily chooses them to mean. Orban’s M.O. is not hard to comprehend: it’s just that of a sociopathic demagogue and megalomane. What’s harder to understand is why the Hungarians keep falling for it, and letting him get away with it. (Perhaps it’s because enough of them have their own inner Hunpty-Dumpty, with the same gripes and yens?)
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