Jean Asselborn calls for the expulsion of Orbán’s Hungary from the EU

Only a few hours have gone by since Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn gave an interview to Die Welt in which he called for the temporary or permanent expulsion of Hungary from the European Union. But the number of articles on the story is already in the hundreds, in the Hungarian as well as the international media. Asselborn argued that Hungary’s leaving was “the only way to preserve the cohesion and values of the European Union.” The EU shouldn’t tolerate such misconduct as “the treatment of the refugees, the massive violation of the freedom of the press and the independence of the judiciary.” Asselborn would like to see a change of EU rules that would allow “the suspension of membership of an EU country without unanimity.”

Asselborn is especially appalled by the treatment of those fleeing war, who “are being treated almost worse than wild animals.” In his opinion, “Hungary is not far away from introducing a firing order against the refugees.” Once he finished with the sins of the Hungarian government, he turned to the person of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whom he made responsible for the perception that, although in words the EU is supposed to be the defender of basic human values, it tolerates the existence of a regime represented by Orbán.

The letter Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó sent from Moldavia was, as Index pointed out, anything but politically correct. “We already knew that Jean Asselborn is not someone who should be taken seriously. He lives only a few kilometers from Brussels and it shows. He is patronizing, arrogant, and frustrated…. As a run-of-the-mill nihilist he tirelessly works on the ruination of European security and culture.” The description of EU politicians as the “nihilists of Brussels” is of very recent coinage. Viktor Orbán used it yesterday in his speech at the opening of the new session of the parliament. The image apparently comes from Aleksandr Dugin, the Russian political scientist whose views have been described as fascist.

Jean Asselborn and Péter Szijjártó, September 21, 2015 / MTI Photo Márton Kovács

Jean Asselborn and Péter Szijjártó, September 21, 2015 / MTI / Photo Márton Kovács

The very first person who came to the defense of Orbán was Jiří Ovčáček, the spokesman of Miloš Zeman, the notoriously anti-EU and pro-Russian president of the Czech Republic. Zeman’s support only further emphasizes how far out of the European mainstream Viktor Orbán is with his views.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steimeier tried to calm the situation. He pointed out that “there is no agreed position” within the Union on the treatment of Hungary, but he added that he “can understand, looking at Hungary, that some people in Europe are getting impatient.” Steimeier is a social democrat who most likely shares Asselborn’s feelings toward Viktor Orbán and his regime but is far more diplomatic.

Soon enough, however, German politicians on the right began to line up behind Orbán. The first of these was Manfred Weber, head of the European People’s Party in the European Parliament. Although occasionally Weber has been mildly critical of the Hungarian prime minister, this time he defended him quite vigorously, pointing out that “Hungary has always carried out all the decisions” of the European Union. On the other hand, he severely criticized the Polish government for its attempt to undermine the rule of law in Poland. An indefensible position, I must say, considering that in the last six and a half years Viktor Orbán has completely destroyed Hungarian democracy and has introduced an autocratic system without any semblance of the rule of law. Weber’s lopsided view is undoubtedly due to the fact that the Polish PiS members don’t sit in his EPP caucus.

The German Alternative für Deutschland (AfD) naturally supports Orbán’s Hungary. The party’s deputy chairman called Asselborn’s demand “grotesque” and added that Orbán should be awarded the Charlemagne Prize. This suggestion is especially amusing in light of the fact that the last two recipients of the prize were Martin Schulz, the president of the European Parliament, and Pope Francis. Orbán at the moment is accusing Schulz of conspiring with socialist Hungarian mayors to smuggle migrants into the country, and we know what the general opinion is in Fidesz circles of the pope who doesn’t understand Europe and is a naïve socialist.

Soon enough Austrian politicians also spoke up in defense of Orbán. Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz considered Asselborn’s statement “unacceptable,” but as I read MTI’s summary of his statement he mostly objected to the fact that Asselborn criticized Orbán and his policies in public and expressed his belief that the topic may come up in Bratislava at the end of this week at the meeting of the European Council. The other Austrian who spoke on the issue in favor of Orbán was Hans-Christian Strache, the chairman of the far-right Austrian Freedom Party.

Too little time has gone by since the appearance of the Asselborn interview for foreign policy analysts to assess the significance of Asselborn’s harsh criticism of Orbán, with the exception of a partisan pro-Orbán piece written by Bálint Ablonczy of Válasz.

Asselborn’s dislike of Orbán is legendary, and this is not the first time that he has openly and harshly criticized the Hungarian prime minister. In 2010 he was one of the first critics of the media law, which he claimed “directly threatens democracy.” In 2012 he raised his voice against the introduction of a new constitution and called Hungary “a blot on the European Union.” In 2015 he suggested placing Orbán in diplomatic quarantine.

Asselborn, who has been in politics ever since the age of eighteen, has been foreign minister since 2004. He is also a close friend Jean-Claude Juncker. Of course, the question is how many people share his view of Orbán in Brussels and elsewhere. According to Hungarian opposition EP members, the anti-Orbán voices are growing, but this might just be wishful thinking.

Although no serious commentary on the Asselborn interview has yet been published, an “open letter from a potential refugee” appeared in Kolozsvári Szalonna, which is as intriguing a site as its name, which means Kolozsvár (Cluj) bacon. It was published both in Hungarian and in English. In it, the author, who calls himself István Kósi, explains to Asselborn how the Hungarian public is misled and how it has become “radicalized, fanaticized,” which can be compared only to the 1940s. The far-right shift then “led to gruesome consequences, so you probably understand why many of us are so worried this time.” He concludes the letter with these words: “Let’s throw them out of the EU, out of Europe in general, and out of the planet.” The author describes himself “as a citizen of the European Union and Hungary, potential refugee in the near future—unless something is being done by those capable of effectively doing anything at all.”

I believe that a lot of people share this sentiment, but only an iconoclastic site like Kolozsvári Szalonna will actually publish something that openly supports Asselborn’s suggestion. I’m curiously waiting to see how the opposition party leaders react and how they indicate that they are in favor of some kind of censure without going as far as Asselborn.

September 13, 2016
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Istvan
Guest
Thanks to Eva for the very timely post about the Asselborn statement, that was incredibly fast. For those that read Hungarian this article http://nol.hu/kulfold/raportra-hivta-orbant-az-europai-parlament-elnoke-1631715 indicates that the EU Commission, does not support the call of Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn that Hungary be suspended or permanently expelled from the EU for its treatment of refugees, lack of media freedom and the violation of judicial independence. There is no source cited for this claim that the Commission does not support the call of Asselborn other than unnamed sources. But it is likely correct in my opinion. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó is also quoted taking a pretty good rhetorical shot at Juncker for “adóoptimalizálás” tax optimization in Luxembourg and effectively making Hungary share the burden for the EU’s mistakes on the refugee issue. Tax optimization as a concept involves searching for and identifying the legal and organizational frameworks that provides the lowest possible level of taxation for a company. Since the 2008 fiscal crisis the meaning of the term “tax optimization” has shifted significantly towards less honest behavior perception and the term has taken on a negative meaning. Apparently Szijjártó picked his term carefully. I am surprised Szijjártó went this far… Read more »
webber
Guest

You should be surprised for another reason. Last year Hungary enabled General Electric to pay its taxes – a very low level of taxes – in Hungary (there is a bi-lateral “no double taxes” agreement between Hungary and the US) That is, Hungary is in the “tax optimization” game – to the great detriment of American taxpaying citizens.
The pot is calling the kettle black. Szijjarto is throwing stones from a glass house, etc., etc. The gall of the man is simply unbelievable.

Story about GE’s tax deal in Hungarian here:
http://www.portfolio.hu/vallalatok/adozas/megvan_a_titokzatos_magyar_adofizeto_ceg.223887.html

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Luxembourg’s tax shelter policy is irrelevant. It is a separate issue, Istvan.

Nicholas Molnar
Guest

This man is an asshole. Why do we waste time with his suggestion?

Observer
Guest

We know Szijjarto is a silly asshole, but the issue is the corrupt to the bone quasi fascist regime subsidized by Democratic European taxpayers.

Nicholas Molnar
Guest

Hold it! Not Szijjarto is a silly asshole, but Asselborne.

Guest

Troll! Go back where you came from!

Nicholas Molnar
Guest

Hungary?

Guest

Look here:
comment image
Kuruc.info or breitbart.com?

Nicholas Molnar
Guest

It is hopeless to argue with somebody like you. What is your IQ?

Guest

At last, an influential figure in the EU finally tells it like it is. I totally agree with Asselborn. Either the EU is a stalwart of democratic values, or it isn’t. If the former, then it has a duty to uphold its own basic principles and to act when those principles are violated.

It is quite scary to think that the Visegrad 4 have any sway at all within the EU, where they have continually undermined the foundations of the union, in the few years since these former communist countries have been privileged enough to be members at all, with their scewed and confused values. Or rather, their lack of any values, as exemplified by Orbán and his thugs.

It is time the EU finally takes action and does indeed expel Hungary. And I will also become “a potential refugee”, and depart once more from this lawless country.

Member
Alas there’s an element of Realpolitik: Hungary has not been expelled yet (and the expulsion rules have not been updated) for at least the following reasons: 1. Concern about the integrity of NATO 2. Concern not to drive Orban into the arms of Putin 3. Concern not to reduce the influence of the European People’s Party 4. Uncertainty about how to proceed within the existing EU legal framework There are probably other reasons. Harder to second-guess is why they have not suspended Hungary’s fat subsidies, but maybe it’s for the same reasons. It’s short-sighted reasoning, but the EU has its hands full enough now with the refugee problem, Brexit, the terrorist threat, and the rise of the proportion of extreme nationalist (Trump-like) sentiment in EU states and the US. Troubled times are good times for opportunistic marauders like Orban (but all the V4 are behaving in a shameful and despicable way: the Czechs are a special disappointment, because one expected better from them). But for me all of this pales before the perilous prospect of a Trump presidency — and the realization that that large a proportion of the US populace is among the deplorables (exactly as Hilary Clinton put… Read more »
Guest

To address your points, Stevan-
Orbán is already in the arms of Putin, but not because he likes him, but because P is most likely to support our Orbi’s own oligarchical ambitions, and what better man than the king of oligarchs, Putin.

As for the EPP, it would be strengthened, not weakened, with the expulsion of Hungary.
And a legal framework needed to oust Hungary should not be too difficult, as I am sure the EU is overflowing with clever lawyers who can formulate clauses by which any country which does not abide by EU rules, is automatically ousted.
Why not?

To allow countries to use a democratic system, suc as Orbán has done, to then promote “illiberal” ideologies makes no sense at all, and the quicker the EU takes action (not quick enough in my view) the bettter not just for Europe but for the rest of the the democratic world.

Guest
Re: ‘To allow countries to use a democratic system, suc as Orbán has done, to then promote “illiberal” ideologies makes no sense at all, and the quicker the EU takes action (not quick enough in my view) the bettter not just for Europe but for the rest of the the democratic world’ Absolutely correct. Got to start some time. No use in giving the impression that the EU is a vacuous paper tiger to the tag-team combo of the ‘Vik & Petey Democratic Follies Show’. Really it is embarrassing that before Mr. Asselborn’s public assessment the EU has looked on with an overt and almost accepting displeasure at the rundown of democratic elements in Magyar society. It’s like it was melting before their eyes and they hung about with mouths open and had nothing to say. As for Mr. Asselborn being ‘influential’ with his views it remains to be seen if his back will be covered if the assaults start to fall on him. The diplomatic arrogance of the ‘fightin’ Orban-Szijjarto combo would always seem to project the idea that Magyarorszag is doing the EU a big favor by being in the EU club. Right now, there is certainly a… Read more »
Member

T4C: Of course every decent person agrees with you. The question is why it’s not happening. Outrageous absurdities like this should not be possible, yet they are tolerated: Why?

HUNGARY to EU: “Brussels will face ‘CONSEQUENCES’ if EU tramples on result of Hungary referendum”
http://www.express.co.uk/news/world/709781/Hungary-referendum-EU-migrant-quota-system-Brussels-Viktor-Orban

(At the very least, the confidence of Orban in the results of the not-yet-held referendum indicates that besides the media brain-washing of the populace he will most certainly cheat with the results to ensure that the outcome is the one he channels.)

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

I think US institutions and values are much stronger than Hungarian values. So I would not worry so much about Trump, who is unlikely to win.

petofi
Guest

R. Beck:

If you’re not already worried about US institutions and values, then you better start soon. How can one of the two main parties hoist a jive-ass talking con man on the electorate? What exactly of ‘American Values’does Trump represent?

And, as I’ve stated on my previous entry, the Dems are not much better hoisting a virago who’s a habitual liar
to represent them.

The lack of men/women of integrity to step forward
in a presidential race bespeaks the powers and manipulative forces that envelope the presidential office.

Guest

petofi… I can understand the comment ‘perversion of the democratic system’. Yet the system is precisely one to be flexible with the experience and hopefully work through
the ugliness or ‘perversion’ if you will. Democracy ain’t perfect.

tappanch
Guest

cca 8 AM
I am happy that Mr Asselborn initially mentioned (in second and third place) violations of “Pressefreiheit” and the “Unabhängigkeit der Justiz” among the reasons to expel Hungary.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/news/politik/eu-asselborn-ungarn-sollte-aus-der-eu-ausgeschlossen-werden-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-160913-99-430619

cca 8 PM
In his second statement however, he spoke against the treatment of the refugees and the planned referendum only.

http://www.sueddeutsche.de/news/politik/eu-asselborn-verteidigt-forderung-nach-eu-ausschluss-ungarns-dpa.urn-newsml-dpa-com-20090101-160913-99-441928

petofi
Guest
American Presidency Sad to say, but this election has laid bare the perversion of the American democratic system. First, a person with no experience in public office…but worse still, a person of less than doubtful character, is being promoted by one of the major parties. It’s clear that what matters is gaining the levers of power and budget and the Republicans will get behind any candidate that gives them a chance at it. The Democrats are little better. Let’s face it, the party power structure has pulled every string to get Hillary to beat Sanders. Without the super-delegates, Sanders probably would’ve won at the convention. But, not unlike in Hungary, the Dems are willing to risk losing the presidency–Sanders would’ve destroyed Trump–by supporting a candidate who has been co-opted by the major interest groups. (Similarly, in Hungary of 2006, the MSZP backroom boys stuck the knife in Gyurcsany’s back rather than allow him to reform the politics of the country.) Sanders would’ve done some major hacking to the special interest groups etc. The Dems, it appears to me, would rather lose the election than to have their cushy game (and of course the Repubs are in on this) upset. Presently,… Read more »
Roderick S. Beck
Guest

What planet do you come from?

petofi
Guest

You must be very young, Mr. Beck.

Surely, for the majority of politicians–and that goes for many western countries–prefer the keep the political game rigged
for their own benefit. Perhaps not as greedily as Orban and the Hungaricoes…but how to explain all the Repubs falling in behind
the monstrously toxic DonaldT?

It will be to the long-lasting shame of the Repubs, and to many Americans, that such a man as Trump should now be leading the presidential race.

Are Americans as daft as Hungarians?

Have the extra-terrestials sprayed something into the atmosphere?? Is this the best fun they can have short of a world
war?

webber
Guest

Trump is not leading the race. The only polling organization that puts Trump ahead in the general election is the LA Times, and the data that paper has presented is so very different from the rest of the polling organizations’ that I suspect there is something very wrong with it.

Trump will certainly take some states. Texas, for instance. But Clinton has such a lead in some key states (a 25 pt. lead in California!), that she cannot be beaten in them.

The only issue is Mrs. Clinton’s health – but not for reasons that Trump’s people claim.
Think about it. Do you really think that people will think less highly of her because she came down with pneumonia?

Mrs. Clinton’s health is of significance to me for only one reason – if she dies before the race is over, Trump will win.

webber
Guest

Poll data here for Petofi – the latest numbers are from yesterday, after Clinton collapsed. As you’ll see, Clinton is still leading in the national elections according to all polls except the LA Times’s:
http://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/latest_polls/president/

pappp
Guest

That said, as Nate Silver put it yesterday:

“As others have mentioned, there are echoes of Brexit here. Clinton’s narrowing lead over Trump a lot like Remain’s over Leave at this point.”

webber
Guest

“Nihilist” was a term of abuse used by state authorities in the Soviet Union. In 1985, when I visited that country, I heard it leveled against regime opponents by military officers. It was a serious charge then – one that could lead to imprisonment in a psychiatric hospital.

tappanch
Guest

“Russian nihilism (rus. “нигилизм”) can be dissected into two periods.

The foundational period (1860-1869) where the ‘counter-cultural’ aspects of nihilism scandalized Russia, where even the smallest of indiscretions resulted in nihilists being sent to Siberia or imprisoned for lengthy periods of time, and where the philosophy of nihilism was formed.

The other period would be the revolutionary period of Nihilism (1870-1881) when the pamphlet The Catechism of a Revolutionist transformed the movement, which was waiting and only striking mild propaganda, into a movement-with-teeth and a will to wage war against the tsarist regime, with dozens of actions against the Russian state. The revolutionary period ends with the assassination of the Tsar Alexander II (March 13, 1881), by a series of bombs, and the consequential crushing of the nihilist movement.”

Wikipedia

webber
Guest

Yes, but in the more recent period – in which Szijjarto and Dugin grew up – it was simply used to mean opposition to state and power, as embodied by the Soviet state and power.
You could call anyone a “nihilist” who opposed power.

webber
Guest

It’s just the catch-all category Russian and Soviet authorities have used to imprison those who have opposed state power in writing and in thought, but who have actually done nothing illegal. Vid. В. А. Туманов, “О правовом нигилизме”, Советское государство и право, 10: 20-27, 1989.

By using the term, Szijjarto has revealed not only his alliance with Russia, but his affinity with Soviet communism.

tappanch
Guest

“Liberalism is nihilist ideology. It insists on the liberty from any kind of collective identity but never suggests something positive.”

Alexander Dugin, Putin’s favorite philosopher, 2016 March
http://katehon.com/article/what-wrong-europe

Guest
On that I should send some copies of TJ’s Declaration of Independence and the Constitution and the Bill of Rights to the ‘revolutionary’ fellows inhabiting what can be called in the Eastern/Eurasian zeitgeist ‘Uj Rossiya’ and ‘Uj Magyarorszag’. The latter seems to be enthralled also with a philosophical siren call. The call of the East gets louder and louder. What a fakeout. What a bumble. No matter how they raise and protect their ideological animals they always seem to feed them with grains of ‘science, materialism and the Nep, the Nep. It’s like the tried and true recipe that they believe is good political food. In the 21st the Dugin/Orban chef-meisters know and want to keep the recipe but everything is in the ‘tweaking’. And at this point for dessert oh they’ll bake the cake and try to shove it down the EU throat. The ‘Nihilists of Brussels!’ Waiting for the ‘Dogs of Liberalism’ to be barked out. Diplomatic exaggerations are not conducive to the actions of a nation’s foreign policy. Sounds like a Kimmy Jong un autocratic phrase construction there. Autocrats sure stick together on language as they get their points out to the ‘Nep’.
tappanch
Guest

Orban must be afraid of Kadar’s ghost. Asselborn is a leader of the Social Worker’s Party.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Luxembourg_Socialist_Workers%27_Party

Matolcsy governs the National Bank by a Tibetan Buddhist Calendar and avoids the number 8 (which is actually lucky according to the Chinese).

http://nol.hu/belfold/ezoteria-uralja-matolcsy-jegybankjat-1631727

tappanch
Guest

Matolcsy gave about $120,000 a year to his yogi lover. (half of the money comes from the “foundations” created by the Bank.)

This is more than ten times the average gross salary in Hungary.

http://nol.hu/gazdasag/vajda-zita-matolcsy-gyorgy-mnb-botrany-1631529

tappanch
Guest

comment image%3Foh%3Db4299c4371f6939bf932cca0f82fca87%26oe%3D583928CD&key=aDJCYzUF2rnslVyk7bzwQQ&w=600&h=646

dos929
Guest
I think that although it should have happened a long time ago, but it is indeed time that the leaders of the EU and the leading politicians of the European countries will join Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn in denouncing NOT Hungary, but the Hungarian regime lead by the FIDESZ and Orban. But so far Orban was the one who led by the nose all these leaders, and perhaps it is time to put a stop to this. If I may add that there is a common mistake by many whereby critiques of the Orban regime are equating the regime and Hungary. When criticising the country, the wording chosen should make the distinction between the regime and the country, even if this is to the contrary to the established practice. Otherwise those critiques just give further munitions for Orban, who pictures himself as the ‘true defender of Hungary’. Also, there is another common misconception that is too often held by many in the media that labels all those that are not liberal minded as ‘right-wingers’. Not all ‘conservatives’ are right-wingers, as not all liberals are on the extreme left. There are many who do not consider themselves right-wingers, but hold… Read more »
Guest

At it’s most basic the argument to counter what you say is Orban and Fidesz ARE Hungary.

The electorate IS Hungary because in a totalitarian state they willingly vote for the current regime.

Blindly but willingly.

They have it in their grasp to eject him – but they don’t.

Guest

Re: ‘They have it in their grasp to eject him – but they don’t’

Perhaps better the ‘urdog’ you know than the one you might not if they go off into the hinterland? In this case to loving arms of you know who. He’s always got the samovar going for his Magyar barats. Maybe the EU diplomats know more than we think when it comes to ‘influence’. Wish I could be a fly on the wall when some discuss the ‘Magyar problem’.

tappanch
Guest

Conflict of interest, anyone?

András Patyi is the

A. president of Orban’s new (2012) university training fidesznik apparatchiks.

B. chairman of the National Election Committee (since 2013)

C. chairman of the “State Reform Committee” (since 2015). This committee recently recommended setting up special courts to handle politically sensitive cases,
including those related to … elections ! These courts would consist of handpicked judges and apparatchiks.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20160913_nvb_elnok_patyai_andras_egyetemi_rektor_osszeferhetetlenseg

Guest

Please read my comments on the economic future of Hungary in the other thread re the referendum or go directly to this damning analysis of the economic future of the Visegrad4 and the other Eastern European states – I’m sure that the EU politicians know about this already!

http://www.portfolio.hu/en/economy/orbans_dream_in_danger_the_glory_days_of_cesee_are_over.31817.html
and
http://bbj.hu/economy/study-warns-of-electrical-engineer-exodus-to-germany_121886
“Good” news for Germany!

Guest

And more info here:
http://carnegieeurope.eu/2016/09/12/how-corruption-is-driving-eastern-europe-s-brain-drain/j5ba

And a very good site on twitter:
https://twitter.com/astroehlein
Andrew Stroehlein is European Media Director of Human Rights Watch. Based in Brussels, he oversees media outreach and strategy in Europe, Central Asia and West Africa, and advises on public advocacy via social media across the organization.
On those anti-refugee booklets and their costs a remark by Lydia Gall:
https://twitter.com/LydsG/status/775608021439418368
Today’s question for Europe: How much toilet paper could you buy with €16 million?

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

No, America is the Future, not Germany, Wolfi. Germany has the lowest birth rate in the world.

webber
Guest

For the future, my vote goes to Africa (yes, I know – spare me the comments)

I can’t resist posting this (below) when people say the future belongs to their particular country- sorry Roderick and Wolfi!

pappp
Guest

It seems from today’s news that the opposition does not want get involved in this. When Hungary as such is attacked, it is very difficult to go against the Orban government because most people – I guess the opposition assumes – line up behind the one in the position of the “defender of the nation”.

It’s a bit like after 9/11 it was extremely difficult to criticize the Bush administration because then the person was immediately branded as soft on terrorism or simply unpatriotic, not desirable politically.

It would be rather confusing for the opposition – which has been pro-EU (wanting to stay in the EU – argue that Hungary indeed should be kicked out and agree with the foreign criticism.

The opposition should rather do something other than praying to make sure Orban does not succeed with his referendum campaign. All I’m seeing from the opposition in Budapest is the Kétfarkú Kutya billboards, absolutely nothing from other parties. Meanwhile Fidesz stands are every now, with a usually a young, prettier girl and an older person (or even more activists) – apparently trying to appeal to various demographics. Luckily not too many people are attracted to those stands.

webber
Guest

Pappp – if you think a suggestion to expel Hungary from the EU is in any way comparable to the 9/11 attacks, you are crazy.

pappp
Guest
webber, try to be a bit more creative and not just see the surface. The two are actually similar because when the “nation is being attacked” verbally or physically it is very difficult to side or appear as though siding with those attacking. You have to appear patriotic, you fear that most people are actually patriotic and you would appear to be in the minority and will be criticized/penalized for it. So you stay silent. Obviously, in our situation the attack was a mild verbal attack so there is more room for appearing “unpatriotic”. But the Hungarian opposition has a deficit anyway in patriotism, so why enter this debate? (Just as the Democrats were perceived as “weak on national security” and therefore could not speak up against the machinations of the Bush administration). It is the perceived pressure to confirm that is similar in such situations. Politicians in the US assumed that they would be penalized if they raised a question about W’s lies and his bogus rationale to attack Iraq. So they remained silent. Similarly now the opposition of Erdogan was forced to go along with the purges because the opposition politicians feared that they would look like traitors… Read more »
webber
Guest

9/11 attacks:
2,996 people killed, more than 6,000 injured, $10 bn. in property damage.

compared with a SUGGESTION to eject Hungary from the EU.

And tell me, except for in Fidesznik rhetoric, in what way is such a suggestion an “attack on the nation”?

Your moral universe is completely off kilter.

pappp
Guest
webber, you personally represent Daniel Kahneman’s findings. A vivid event can totally crowd out any more distant, more abstract thoughts and impair rational thinking. I did not compare the devastating loss of 9/11 to Hungary’s ejection from the EU. The two are not comparable in that direct, physical level. I agree. (And how can anything compare to the loss of the US at 9/11?) Though note that the feeling of loss is extremely subjective which is why many Hungarian people think that the Trianon decision was just as important a national tragedy as the Hungarian Holocaust even though no people died as a result of the former and some 600k Hungarians in the second. This is not my evaluation I am just reporting that many people feel so. Feelings of loss, offense, hurt are absolutely not rational. Try to talk to an East Asian about national pride, offense and loss of face. The argument is on a different level. You either get my argument or you don’t. That certain events – I listed three – seem to require a conformity to a perceived patriotic unity. If Hungarians as a nation are offended by a foreigner (who effectively said that Hungarians… Read more »
webber
Guest
The problem with your argument (again) is that you are presenting it as if the emotions you depict actually represent public opinion in Hungary. You have already said you don’t live in Hungary. You didn’t know, apparently, that Veszprém recently voted against Fidesz. So, please stop making these arguments. You have no idea how people are reacting. I cannot tell you how many times I have heard over the past year from Hungarians that Hungary should be expelled from the EU, and the fact that it is not expelled shows how fouled up the EU is. Each one, however, has also made it clear that they do not want Hungary to be expelled from the EU – that this would cause them great pain. I have met other Hungarians – some Jobbik supporters – who actually want Hungary out of the EU. I do not claim any of these Hungarians represent any broad base of public opinion. Without a public opinion poll, we cannot know what the majority is thinking about this, or even if there is a majority viewpoint (it could be split 33-33-33%, for example) So please stop speaking for the nation. It’s what Fidesz does, and just… Read more »
pappp
Guest
You purposefully misinterpret me and I don’t like that. I was trying to imagine how the opposition might think. This does not mean at all that I agree with their – potential – arguments. And I never implied that in my view most Hungarians also think so. I only wrote about how the opposition might imagine, interpret the situation. I still think that the opposition believes that in such cases it is better to remain silent lest – in the fears of the opposition (not mine) – they look unpatriotic. That’s all I think. I live in Hungary and I know full well that Veszprém town voted against Fidesz, but I talked, as I wrote in a later comment you must have missed, about the Western part of Veszprém county, close to Tapolca (which in fact is a place where Jobbik won in a 2015 by-election). This area is also close to Zala megye, one of the most ardently Fidesz-leaning regions (in many parts of Zala in 2014 Fidesz-Jobbik were over 80%). And there, in Western Veszprém county, I found no left-leaning people among those I talked to lately, there has to be many, I guess, but I just haven’t… Read more »
Guest

Are you for real?
If Hungarians as a nation are offended by a foreigner (who effectively said that Hungarians are not fit into the EU) then Hungarians may need to unite, throw away their internal disagreements and appear as patriotic.
I’d say that Hungarians should behave as EU citizens then – not as crazy Balkan marauders …

But we know already that O wants to destroy the EU – maybe told so by Putin?

webber
Guest

Wolfi, next Pappp will tell you that you “intentionally misinterpret” his argument….

pappp
Guest

Wolfi, your excerpt is an argument which wants to enlighten how the opposition might think. This is the thinking of an opposition politician as imagined by me.

This is not how I personally think.

That said – in my view – it is usual thinking from a politician to assume that if the nation is offended (or the politician may conclude that it was offended) then best not to side with the offender and better to remain silent.

If the Chinese say that the Japanese are reprehensible because they still haven’t apologized properly for their WWII acts then you can be sure that the feeble Japanese opposition will not say, well, the Chinese may have a point. It will probably remain silent.

This is the logic I thought the opposition was following . That was my point and I find it hard to believe that this is such an esoteric argument that apparently cannot be comprehended.

Guest

We all know (and that includes Mr Asselborn, Steinmeier, Orbán etc …) that there is no way right now to throw Hungary (and Poland and the Czechs …) out of the EU – that mistake of taking them in and giving them free rein can not be corrected in the short run. Just think about how difficult it was to contain little fascist Mr Haider and Austria.

But this was imho a clear “Schuss vor den Bug” – a warning shot across the bows!

And I’ve already written about the economic reality that faces Eastern Europe …
Just as with the Socialist countries who believed in the 80s they were getting up to the West economically in reality the trench is getting deeper and wider!

webber
Guest

Yes, though it is no fault but their own. The proof of that is that there are E. European countries that are converging – Estonia for one, which even in 1995 had a GDP per capita lower than Poland’s (no surprise – Estonia was part of the USSR), but now has surpassed Poland and is growing at a nice clip.
Romania is now growing at a good pace, and I am told that most of this growth can be chalked up to the attack on corruption, because productivity otherwise has not changed. It’s just that now less money is being siphoned off by corrupt elites.
So, convergence is possible.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Economic growth depends on labor productivity growth and growth in hours worked. I am confident you will find greater Roman productivity.

PS: Hungarian productivity has been flat since 2099.

Guest

Re: ‘the trench getting deeper and wider’

That’s what happens when somebody else always does the ‘heavy’ lifting.
PS when my packages to EE get to the recipient then maybe I’ll know their society and economy is on the up and up.

Guest

Patriotism – you mean the desire to restore “Greater Hungary”, where Hungarians were a minority among the “second rate citizens”?

Guest
London Calling! Several of us on here have been calling for Hungary to be expelled for YEARS! There is a glaring mismatch between the values of the EU and the so-called democracy in Hungary – blindingly obvious. The anti-British – but principled – Guy Verhofstadt has been on Orban’s case for years. And now Jean Asselborn. All to no avail. The EU will keep Hungary in the fold come hell or high water. If you haven’t twigged this by now you haven’t been concentrating. There has been enough rope to hang Orban but the deed can not be done. Merkel. Being a daughter of the clergy she is a firm believer that you can convert someone only by keeping them in the tent – the camel theory. Orban and kft know this and continue to exploit exploit exploit. And support will (is growing) grow for Hungary as Europe moves further to the right. But the realisation that net contributors can only support a finite number of net receivers has yet to dawn on the contributors as they become increasingly disgruntled as corruption comes to a head. It’s not ideology that will break the EU – it’s hard-headed finances and the… Read more »
Guest

Charlie, you too should read this scathing analysis:
http://www.portfolio.hu/en/economy/orbans_dream_in_danger_the_glory_days_of_cesee_are_over.31817.html
Citi’s economists have warned that access to generous EU funding is not likely forever. They reminded that the current seven year EU financial funding plan will end in 2020 and they are “increasingly concerned” the next budget will be less favourable for Central Europe.

“Apart from purely economic factors there are also political considerations that suggest a less generous budget for the region. Over last year Central European countries have been vocal in their opposition against European migration policies, in particular the plan to relocate asylum seekers. In this situation it is hard to imagine how CEE governments could use the argument of European solidarity during the budget negotiations. The overall strategy of opposing closer EU integration is not likely to help either.”

Guest

Thanks wolfi!

Unfortunately city scribblers like Citi and RBS pontificate on Hungary in complete ignorance. The FT’s efforts are embarrassing too.

They have been as wrong about Hungary’s financials in the past – as we have about more political issues.

Of course the Financial pot of the EU will be reduced with Brexit – we were the second biggest economy – straight out of the bible of the bleedin’ obvious.

But there are more systemic problems that the EU will have to cope with – and at the moment they are focused on Brevenge. (© Charlie)

Schultz, Juncker, Verhofstadt et al are having fun threatening the UK – with Merkel strangely quiet.

Quietly our manufacturers are devising their strategies – James Dyson states that we (GB) have about 15% of trade in most Global markets – and sees our new Global marketing being more successful than our European marketing.

The EU should concentrate on how we can all benefit from Brexit – instead of defining Brevenge.

It’s the path we have chosen. It is an opportunity for everyone.

Guest

And watch out EU.

As Ozzy Osbourne once said:

“You have to get your retaliation in first.”!

Guest

It was interesting to note that Magyarorszag in the analysis suffers from a lack of ‘appropriate skills’ in its workforce. The analysis perhaps could have been made more interesting by looking at that item in say context within the entire mode of efforts to get the country up to speed in QOL score …quality of life.

It would appear if we look at the ‘education’ debate and skills issue in the country the left and the right hands are working at cross-purposes. Like our ‘devices’ today in order to work they have to be in sync. At this point, there seems to be little understanding on the relationship of ‘skills’ construction to ‘education’ efforts at the top level. Maybe not to be surprised though. In the current government it looks like you can get picked for the very high posts and plum jobs just by dint of being someplace somewhere with someone at the right time and plug the vote the ‘right’ way. Magyarorszag… it’s a land of opportunity alright.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Your comments are way off. Citi is absolutely right that the development fund cash will not flow indefinitely, particularly if Eastern Europe is perceived as lacking solidarity. Secondly, the European negotiating position is completely rational and not motivated by revenge. Only a fool would encourage EU exit by making life chummy.

Guest

I wasn’t saying Citi was right or wrong – just that their credentials are suspect. Very often their ‘analysts’ are just one person whose prejudices often cloud out any wisdom.

I know – I worked with several and they represent themselves and are often graduates with an economics degree – with very little experience of life beyond their bank.

Just look at the crash – only one ‘scribbler’ got it right Gillian Tett of the FT.

‘Chummy’ doesn’t enter in to it.

Professionalism and fairness does.

Your point about ‘revenge’ is sadly off beam – and you are not tuned in to the EU zeitgeist.

webber
Guest

On “revenge” – Even before Brexit there were those in the EU who said that if the UK leaves, it should be made very painful to discourage others from leaving.
I hope those people are ignored. Any pain imposed on the UK will hurt the rest of the EU as well, even without tit-for-tat measures.

NWO
Guest

Whatever the merits of Asselborn’s comments, he is the wrong messenger. Luxembourg (even more than Hungary) thrives off of the benefits of the EU (the whole economy is built around EU type institutions) and has egregiously flouted EU law on bank secrecy and tax policy. Lux has due to its strategic positioning [next to France, Germany and Belgium] and that French is basically the first language has has an undue influence on the EU. Moreover, the bigger problem (as you know) is that many politicians may legitimately hate Orban, his views on many of the current pressing issues faced by EU are more in line with public opinion than those of Juncker (a buffoon) and Asselborn.

Istvan
Guest

I agree

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Luxembourg is a democracy and a modern successful state. Hungary has 100 years of failure.

tappanch
Guest
Istvan
Guest
Please forget about Hungary being expelled from the EU. JC Juncker’s State of the Union Address 2016: Towards a better Europe given a short while ago if anything represented a major concession to Hungary. Mr Juncker stated that accepting refugees must be “must be voluntary, it must come from the heart, it cannot be imposed”. That pretty much ends the discussion. That also was probably the only part of Juncker’s speech not taken apart by Marine Le Pen, who to Jucker’s face called the speech “insipid” and a “funeral for the European Union”. There were numerous scathing comments made about this passage of Juncker’s speech: “A fair playing field also means that in Europe, consumers are protected against cartels and abuses by powerful companies. And that every company, no matter how big or small, has to pay its taxes where it makes its profits. This goes for giants like Apple too, even if their market value is higher than the GDP of 165 countries in the world. In Europe we do not accept powerful companies getting illegal backroom deals on their taxes. The level of taxation in a country like Ireland is not our issue. Ireland has the sovereign right… Read more »
Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Last time I checked Merkel calls the shots, not Juncker.

webber
Guest

Spot on!

PALIKA
Guest

It seems pretty clear that the EU will not only not expel HUNGARY but that it will not apply any sanction to bring Orban to order. The reasons are probably that it is less damaging to the institution experiencing strain on many fronts to keep them in than to open up another front with an unpredictable outcome. The downside maybe that leaving things as they are may result in the proliferation of fascist States in the EU, made more likely by the strains imposed by Middle Eastern migration. Then those in the EU may have a problem answering the question what the EU is for. A collection of poor and inefficient crypto fascist backward countries living off the contributions of their more powerful and successful neighbours until they drown them too in their poverty and ideological filth. That event would certainly make Brexit seem like a triumph of good sense. But we are nowhere near that, and some decent news may soon cheer us all up.

Joe Simon
Guest

A strange criticism of Hungary. In 2O15 alone some three hundred migrants died along the US-Mexican border. Dozens are killed every year by Border Patrol agents and vigilantes. Ranchers set up electric fences.
Hungary observes all EU rules regarding migrants. Just as Canada, Hungary would not allow undocumented migrants cross the border anywhere they like.
By the way, the US would not even be allowed to join the EU.

Bowen
Guest

Hungary allowed several thousands of undocumented migrants across it’s border with Croatia last September. In fact, it even welcomed them with buses, and dumped them onto Austria.

Complete chaos from Budapest, and no plan or policy beyond creating propaganda for its own citizens.

“Hungary’s right-wing government, which has faced international criticism over violent clashes with migrants and a hastily erected fence along its frontier with Serbia, has vowed to “defend its borders” against the flood of arrivals, most of whom are from the Middle East and Africa.

But in a shift late Friday, Hungarian authorities began transporting thousands of migrants straight to the border with Austria, an apparent bid to move them through and out of their territory as quickly as possible.

Austrian police said Hungary had bussed at least 6,700 people to the border, with more expected in the Burgenland border region by the end of Saturday.”

https://www.yahoo.com/news/slovenia-border-standoff-croatia-buses-migrants-hungary-013802444.html?ref=gs

webber
Guest

But then the US does not want to join the EU.

Hungary would not have been allowed to join the EU if the government then had done what the Orban government has done.

Guest

It’s enough the United States regardless of what illiberalists think is satisfied that the EU was based on a template emanating from a community based on democratic principles. The grave problem now is that burrowing moles are disturbing that order.
Those miners are perilous.

Istvan
Guest

Really Joe I know you have a job to do, but you can do better than to claim the US Border Patrol kills dozens every year. According to Rodolfo Acuña, Professor Emeritus of Chicano Studies at California State University, “Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs reported 14 deaths fro 1988 to 1990 attributed to the Border Patrol. From 1990 to 2016 these deaths dropped to one or two a year. As to
Vigilante killings the UN looked at this in 2000 and investigated really only one case where Sam Blackwood, a 74-year-old rancher, was charged with killing Eusebio de Haro.

I am very critical of the way our Border a Patrol treats illegal border crossers, but your claims are way over blown and no doubt come from Russia Today.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Joe, last time I checked the US is not interested in joining the EU, but Hungary is a member. Does your attention span wonder often?

dos929
Guest
One of the problems with comments that equate the Orban-regime and the FIDESZ with Hungary is that since the overwhelming (~ 90%) majority of the media directly or indirectly is under their influence (to put it mildly…) most people on the countryside have no news other than fed to them by the regime. One cannot buy an opposition newspaper nor can listen to the single radio and TV programme that is providing forum for the opposition voices. So, the ‘luxury’ of having been informed is not given to most Hungarians. Then on top of this you have the fear not of God, but fear of the regime, and very few can risk of being thrown out of work, etc… as a result of belonging to the ‘other side’. Of course the time will come when even these won’t matter anymore, but it will be an uprising against the regime, the consequences which cannot be foretold. But blood will flow for sure… If one thinks back to the days of the totalitarian regimes then perhaps the reality will sink in why the Hungarian people can’t get rid of this criminal gang… So, don’t equate the people of any country under a… Read more »
Guest

If this is an answer to me then I’m afraid I still disagree.

Much of politics is reflected in your own moral compass.

Hungary claims to be a ‘Christian’ country – mainly. Roman Catholic mainly.

And ‘democracy’ requires a certain responsibility from each voter.

Much of what Orban is doing flies against even the most basic of morals – let alone ‘Christian’ ones.

Even with a shackled state press most voters must realise that what their country does is against basic humanitarian principles – very often in parallel with biblical teachings.

Your defence of information ‘blindness’ doesn’t wash – not does turning a blind eye.

And don’t hold your breath for a revolution.

Hungary hasn’t the stomach.

Roderick S. Beck
Guest

Your analysis is largely correct. But the economic bubble of 2014-15 is close to an end, the population is shrinking at an alarming rate of a half percent per year, there are labor shortages, and virtually no productivity growth (only 2%) over the last 7 years. At some point the economic stagnation will undermine the political order.

Guest

At least for the younger Hungarian people who all have internet access it should be no problem to get independent news – my wife does it too (and she’s over 70), her sister also!
We never ever watch M1 aka north korean state tv …

Jean P.
Guest

OT
There is going to be election for the state Duma in Russia 18 september. In order to prove that he is doing something about corruption, Putin has made a big sacrifice just before the election. One of the top leaders of Russian anticorruption Dmitry Zakharchenko was arrested after a search of his sisters apartment revealed more than one ton of bank notes in different currencies. The police is still counting.
https://www.rt.com/news/358891-russia-corruption-officer-dollars/
http://www.aftenposten.no/verden/Polititopp-i-Moskva-fengslet-Hadde-familiens-stue-full-av-pengesedler-604350b.html
If Orban would make a similar sacrifice, let us say arrest Matolcy or Rogan (preferably both) before the referendum he would prove that he is also doing something about corruption and he would be absolutely sure to win without having to adjust the numbers.

Guest

Don’t you give O any ideas!:)

Istvan
Guest

I was very confused by this part of Juncker’s speech today:

“Being European also means a fair playing field. This means that workers should get the same pay for the same work in the same place. This is a question of social justice. And this is why the Commission stands behind our proposal on the Posting of Workers Directive. The internal market is not a place where Eastern European workers can be exploited or subjected to lower social standards. Europe is not the Wild West, but a social market economy.”

My understanding of the posting workers directive is that a Hungarian worker for Audi sent to Germany under contract as a temporary worker, the labor law of Hungary would apply which as we know offers that contract worker much less protection than does German labor law. Is Juncker here proposing a change in the EU law or am I totally confused about this? Or is it the current interpretation of the EU Commission that Audi has to pay Hungarian contract workers in Germany the same pay as indigenous Audi German workers?

Does anyone out there know what Juncker was referencing in this part of his speech today?

webber
Guest

There are rumours about an initiative for a minimal living wage for all Europeans floating about (like the Federal min. wage in the US, perhaps? All very vague). Other than that, your guess is as good as mine.

lrits
Guest

Interesting tidbit according to Ferenc Gyurcsany KGB now has between 600-800 active agents in Hungary which is double the number during his time.

webber
Guest

How does he know?

apart from
Guest

Gyurcsany probably still has connections to counter intelligence people and also his wife’s family has some connections to the intelligence community I gather.

petofi
Guest

Hungary is a cow. The active KGB agents are needed to attach the milking machines to various outlets to milk the Hungarian treasury…

PALIKA
Guest

His time? As KISZ sec or as PM?

webber
Guest

Worth recalling that Kövér, Deutsch and several other Fideszniks also had nice fat positions in KISZ.

PALIKA
Guest

I remember it well, but the runaway admiration for Gy on this blog is in my view over done

pappp
Guest

Orban too was a KISZ secretary. He was a real young commie (ifjúkommunista).

Guest

It seems that the whole crazy thing was started by Orbán who called Juncker, Schulz etc “Nihilists” a week ago – I couldn’t find a report in English so here we go in German:
„Die Nihilisten sind in der Gesellschaft in der Minderheit, aber die europäische Elite haben sie schon lange okkupiert“, sagte er nach Angaben des regierungsnahen Internetportals pestisracok.hu bei einer Veranstaltung in Kötcse im Westen Ungarns. „Unter ihnen sind bekannte Repräsentanten wie Juncker, (Liberalen-Führer Guy) Verhofstadt und Schulz.“
https://www.welt.de/politik/ausland/article158094223/Europa-wird-nicht-laenger-erkennbar-sein.html

Does anyone have more info on this happening in Kötcse which was only reported by pestisracok.hu – no other media were allowed there it seems.

PS – found it now in English, funny in a way, but really depressing:
http://budapestbeacon.com/politics/viktor-orban-vows-life-and-death-battle-with-brussels-over-refugee-crisis/38978

Guest

Can’t help I’m afraid – but Pal Schmitt is alleged to be writing a thesis on it. There’s a slight delay at the moment while he learns to spell ‘nihilism’ – there’ll be a further delay whilst he learns what it is.

Szendi Zoltán
Guest

Orban is a sleaze. Jean Asselborn telling the truth. From Hungarian : Szendi Zoltán