When a love affair is no private matter: The case of György Matolcsy

Until very recently the Hungarian media had left politicians’ private lives alone. In the last few months, however, there has been a decided change in attitude. I think it was 888.hu, a government-inspired internet site that was supposed to be hip and capture the imagination of the younger generation of right-wingers, that broke with this hands-off policy. The editor-in-chief, the notorious Gábor G. Fodor of Nézőpont Intézet, decided to publish nude photos of the wife of MSZP party chairman József Tóbiás. A few weeks later Ripost.hu, also a government-sponsored tabloid site, came out with a juicy story about János Volner, a Jobbik MP, who was found behind some bushes with a woman friend in Pécel, a suburb of Budapest. What the two were doing in the bushes was widely discussed at the time, especially in the pro-government media. So, thanks to the newly created pro-government tabloids, the taboo has been broken.

The story of György Matolcsy’s divorce and his liaison with a 31-year-old woman, Zita Vajda, has been garnering a lot of attention. The media isn’t interested in their romantic attachment. Rather, they view the story as further proof of the incredible corruption that surrounds the Hungarian National Bank (MNB) under the leadership of György Matolcsy.

Regular readers of Hungarian Spectrum are only too familiar with Matolcsy’s generosity toward his friends and family—and his family is large since there are a lot of Matolcsys. He is especially generous toward his lover, for whom he is divorcing his wife of thirty years. In fact, Matolcsy is taking care of Zita’s mother as well. It is easy to be generous with someone else’s money, especially when that money comes straight from Hungary’s central bank. Matolcsy has a track record of using bank funds for questionable purposes. The bank bought some very expensive real estate, and it transferred an incredible amount of public money from the bank to private foundations it set up, which I described as a perfect money laundering device.

Népszabadság stumbled upon the case of Matolcsy’s liaison with Zita Vajda by accident. What the paper was investigating was her fabulously high salary. She was making more money than a department head, and her job was merely to prepare and organize Matolcsy’s foreign travel and negotiations. When Matolcsy became chairman of the central bank in 2013, he fired a number of staff members, including well-qualified economists, and replaced them with his favorite associates from the ministry of the national economy. Zita Vajda was among them. Vajda’s very high salary (1,730,000 ft.) was undoubtedly the subject of gossip, and I assume that one of the employees convinced Népszabadság to investigate. It took a little while because the bank tried to stall, but eventually the paper got the information with the following sentence tacked on at the end: “György Matolcsy’s personal life and his divorce is a private matter.” Was this a mistake or was the information about his divorce, which was not publicly known, intentionally leaked? I don’t know, but it supplied another incentive to pursue the matter. And the deeper Népszabadság dug, the more dirt it uncovered.

In addition to her job at the bank, in 2014 Zita Vajda was made a board member of the bank’s Pallas Athene Domus Innovationis (PADI) foundation. A year later she became a member of the board of a corporation created by the same PADI. Népszabadság calculates that the salary of a board member of one of these foundations is 555,000 ft./month. Soon enough it became known that Zita Vajda’s mother, Mrs. Péter Vajda, an employee of a public accounting firm, takes care of the accounts of all six foundations. The company, thanks to Zita Vajda’s relationship to Matolcsy, received approximately 27 million forints from the foundations in 2015 alone. The company’s total revenue that year was only 62 million forints. Thus, almost half of the public accounting firm’s revenue came from the bank’s foundations.

Just to keep the record straight, Zita Vajda no longer works for the bank. I guess it was deemed advisable to remove her from the limelight because of the divorce and impending marriage. Ripost recently reported that the Matolcsys separated months ago and that divorce papers had already been filed. After Vajda’s departure from the bank, Matolcsy made sure that she would not suffer any financial loss. Thus, in addition to her two board member jobs, she became deputy director of the Pallas Athene Geopolitikai Alapítvány (PAGEO) and also a “researcher” in the PAGEO Research Institute. Her income from these two new jobs amounts to 1.2 million ft. /month, which doesn’t quite match the money she made at the bank. But if you add up her income from the four different sources, her salary may be as high as 2.3 million forints a month.

Of these four jobs the most intriguing is her “research position” at PAGEO to the tune of 600,000 ft. /month. As far as we know, she spent two months in India where she studied yoga. In fact, in her spare time as “international secretary” to Matolcsy, she gave yoga lessons to interested bank employees. Her knowledge of India certainly doesn’t merit 600,000 ft. per month. The top expert on India, a university professor, makes only 380,000 ft. Népszabadság discovered one short article online that she wrote about Dharavit, one of the largest slums in Mumbai. But she is no India expert. The job was created for her because of her relationship to Matolcsy. After all, the happy new couple will need plenty of money to maintain a life style becoming the Hungarian central bank chairman and his wife.

The lady seems talented--in yoga

The lady may be talented–in yoga

Matolcsy, we know, is attracted to certain Eastern beliefs/superstitions. For instance, it seems that Matolcsy believes in the ill effects of certain numbers. The number 8 has ominous consequences, and therefore he changed the official address of the bank from Szabadság tér 8-9 to Szabadság tér 9. People claim that certain rooms inside the building had to be renumbered to avoid the number 8.

Another hypothesis that’s floating about in Budapest is that Hungary’s central bank is run by a man who accepts the Tibetan Buddhist belief that there are four days in the year when positive or negative actions can be multiplied ten million times. The best description I could find of this belief came from the Kopan Monastery in Nepal. Since these days are calculated on the basis of the lunar calendar, the dates vary from year to year.

Upon hearing stories about Matolcsy and the Buddhist ten-million multiplier days, the journalists at Népszabadság began checking the calendar of important bank announcements and came to the conclusion that there might be something to the story. The article correlated these special days with important bank announcements. It is hard to know, without going over all the important decisions that have been made in the last three years, whether there is any truth to this hypothesis. I did check the dates to ascertain what day of the week we are talking about, and I found two announcements that had been made on Saturday, an odd day to pick.

Buddha stature from Sarnath / 4th century

Buddha statue from Sarnath / 4th century

Soon after the article on the strange happenings in the central bank was published, the bank’s spokesman denied the allegations and called it absurd, pointing out that since March 2013 the Hungarian National Bank has published 818 news bulletins and 455 publications. Therefore there has been hardly a day when the bank didn’t make some kind of a statement. Yes, the hypothesis may sound strange, but by now one can imagine almost anything about the affairs of the bank under the leadership of Matolcsy, who some years ago claimed that all Hungarian children, just like the Japanese, are born with a red spot on their fannies which, of course, was nonsense.

In the wake of the revelations of Népszabadság, the pro-government papers have been silent. Matolcsy and his girlfriend have disappeared from sight, and Zita shut down her yoga blog in a great hurry. The supervisory board headed by a Fidesz politician claims that it has no jurisdiction over Zita Vajda’s salary. We can be pretty sure that everything will go on as if it nothing happened in MNB, which the author of an editorial renamed Magyar Nemzeti Budoár (Hungarian National Boudoir). Another editorial, which appeared in Magyar Nemzet titled “Sötét verem” (Dark pit), emphasized that although the paper is not fond of tabloid stories and the romance between Zita Vajda and György Matolcsy is a private matter, there are times when a love affair loses its private quality. This happens when public money is involved. According to the author, “Matolcsy for a very long time has owed the public an explanation of his sundry questionable affairs.” And if he misses the opportunity to do so, “he shouldn’t be surprised if many people think that love is not only a dark pit but might also hide corruption.”

Perhaps the best line came from Zoltán Bodnár, former deputy chairman of the central bank, who has a good sense of humor. At the time of the upheaval over the establishment of private foundations by the Hungarian National Bank, Matolcsy steadfastly maintained that with the transfer of the money to private foundations “it had lost its public character.” So, when a few days ago a reporter asked Bodnár what he thought about the national bank under Matolcsy, Bodnár quipped: “it has lost its character as a central bank.”

September 15, 2016
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Member

Peter Konok commented on Facebook: “I don’t care if the Matocsy’s are divorcing! I only want to know how will they divide my money!”

tappanch
Guest

Although the interior ministry admitted on September 15 that the secret service AVH had tried to blackmail a journalist into becoming their agent, the Fidesz majority of the parliamentary committee on “internal security” prevented the start of an investigation.

http://444.hu/2016/09/15/a-belugy-elismeri-hogy-valami-tortent-de-nem-indul-bizottsagi-vizsgalat-az-ujsagiro-elleni-titkosszolgalati-akcio-ugyeben

Observer
Guest

Mr Bodnár quipped that the MNB has lost its character as a central bank, but it is the Hungarian state that has been turned to the quasi private domain of the “new national bourgeoisie”, ie of the Orban maffia. Overpaid jobs, inflated public work contracts, subsidies and grants are being doled out to party soldiers, family members , cronies and lovers at every level from Orban to the village mayor.
This system gobbles up 1.5 – 2 GDP at best, ie more than the avr growth of the Hungararian economy.
In our case watch the diminishing MNB reserves.

BMO
Guest

The influx of EU funds should have enabled the economy to grow at least 1.5x to 2.5x the rate of the current levels. We all know why that didn’t happen.

The stand-alone Hungarian economy fails to cover amortization rates… Take out the EU funds , you have a sinking ship.

András B. Göllner
Guest

@ BMO

Leave IN the EU funds, you have a stinking ship….

Observer
Guest

Eva,
I think that since the highest courts’ rulings confirmed that the MNB funds transferred to it’s foundations remain public money, these foundations can hardly be called private.
This inept Matolcsy attempt at embezzlement can hardly be called “a perfect money laundering device”. Rather gypsy horse traders in the MNB.

webber
Guest

Again, why the gratuitous comment about gypsies? It’s misplaced for two reasons. The first is obvious – it’s really unfair to that people to equate them with Matolcsy’s behavior. The second is that a Gypsy horse trader actually gives you a horse for your money. He’ll try to get more than the animal is worth out of you, but you do will the horse. What does Matolcsy give you for your money?

webber
Guest

“but you will get the horse” (above). typing too fast.

Observer
Guest

Sorry Webber,
I just can’t resist the temptation and so much care about PC.
BTW – you get a sick or damaged horse the essence being you will be cheated.

webber
Guest

In my experience, bog standard Hungarians are quite good enough at cheating buyers. No need to make nasty comments about other groups.

webber
Guest

P.S. No, you don’t always get a sick or damaged horse. You have to know what you are doing, of course. If you don’t know horses, you shouldn’t buy one without a veterinarian along, or you might well be cheated. My grandfather broke, bought and sold horses. I’ve seen a lot.

It’s just like buying a car from a stranger.

Skócia
Guest

Bunch a fannies! Be mindful of your Americanisms, UK readers may just question where these red spots are reportedly appearing!

webber
Guest

It’s an American blog. Take it or leave it.

Guest

So you also are proud of your “Mongolian spot” as these are generally called? Nice for you!

webber
Guest
Wolfi – Skócia isn’t proud of anything. S/he just has the pretense of guarding the English language. Fanny (as slang) means something different in than it does in American English. There are all sorts of such differences. They should be celebrated, in my view (Am./Can. gotten, Brit got, Am./Can. dove, Brit dived – n.b. “gotten” is actually the older usage – British English became simplified in this over the centuries, while N. Americans kept the old form. By contrast “dove” is newer). Dialects enrich language – something I hardly need to tell you, since German has so many interesting dialects. For some reason I cannot fathom, “correcting” American speech is something some Hungarians who have lived in Britain for a time take upon themselves. They sound so ridiculous when they do it that it is painful. Interestingly, Oxford and Cambridge examination regulations specifically encourage Americans to write in their own dialect, and explicitly warn examiners that they must not discount points for American usage. Native Brits only try to correct American speech very rarely, and when they do other Brits think they are prats (an excellent English slang word). John Cleese famously made an idiot of himself when he put… Read more »
webber
Guest

P.S. An analogy – the way many of the English pronounce the word “can’t” makes Americans smile for the same reason that the English smile when Americans use the words “fanny pack” (“bum bag” in Britain) for that thing people used to wear around the waist. Come to think of it, many Hungarian waiters still use them.

Guest
webber? “Up to a point Lord Copper”! Your American/British meanings’ analysis is mainly correct – it seems to me based on ‘equality of spellings/meanings’ and reflects that no side has superiority over the other in an ever -changing language landscape. But…….! When Eva used ‘fannies’ she meant ‘bum’ (to use a vernacular word!) whereas without exception in England, for example, it means the female pudenda. Now I know Eva meant no offence, but reading that in particular communities it might reflect on the writer and cause offence. This could be due to the ignorance of the reader – but I know some in England would blanche at this usage. Just as I am careful when in US company I know I have to be aware of certain words having inadvertent sexual meanings in the US that they don’t have in England – and might cause unintended offence. For example we might very innocently discuss ginger nuts as a very nice accompaniment to a cup of tea! Ditto ‘box’ – I remember ‘Simply Red’ had a hit with ‘Red Box’ and I always wondered how it would go down in America. However to some these considerations would be dismissed as being… Read more »
webber
Guest

Hence, Charlie, my comment about how a lot of the English pronounce the word “can’t.” To American ears, it sounds like a word Americans generally will not even spell.

There is an excellent 19th cent. English novel, Fanny Hill. Does that cause offence? Of course not. You may have read it in school. I did.

Surely we Americans can keep on using the word fanny as we see fit, without encountering a fit from some British agony aunt?

Some very silly Americans are similarly offended by how the English pronounce the word “can’t.”

Will you change your word use because of that? Of course not. I’d be sad if you did.

Guest

I take your point fully! But your ‘Fanny Hill’ is a non sequitur.

(And yes I read it as a naughty school boy – ditto ‘Lady Chatterley’s Lover’.)

To the people who, possibly ignorantly, only understand fanny to mean the female pudenda in most contexts – I wouldn’t deny them the intelligence to realise that ‘Fanny’ is a woman’s name.

I just don’t want to run the risk of causing offence – inadvertently!

Guest

I’ve noticed one of your posts in this stream has a ‘negative’ vote?

This is strange and unnecessary – I can’t fathom why?

These sorts of dialogues on Eva’s blog are extremely illuminating for me – and I welcome them.

webber
Guest

The “votes” for posts are just silly. I believe Eva explained that she couldn’t get rid of them.

webber
Guest

Redbox happens to be the name of a very popular movie rental company in the US.

Box means just box, in the end. We do use it for that, generally. It’s only in certain context that it means something else.

My wife once asked if there was any noun in the English language that could not be used to imply a body part. She was joking, but had a point.

Guest

You know people ‘get the hump’ here and there.But it sure helps if you know who yer talkin’ to’ here when that comes out of the mouth. Our English cousin taught us that one .;-)…

webber
Guest

That is my point – words can mean many things, and only prudes could possibly be offended.
Hump still means the bump on a camel’s back. There is no other word for that. Hump day means Wednesday in much of the US, because its the middle of the working week, not because sexual activity is more common on that day. And in those same parts of the US, hump is also used as you have implied.

There are town names with odd meanings, too – in both the US and UK. Should those names be changed? No.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fV_k1ivteRs

There’s Bugyi in Hungary. I’m told Érpatak used to be called Húgyér. A shame they changed the name!

webber
Guest

In the US ginger, as you apparently know, is only used for the spice, or as a name you might give to your daughter. It never means red-headed.

I’ve never heard of ginger nuts, but assume they are a spiced peanut mix, like honey nuts. They sound revolting (ginger and nuts?)

And yes, honey nuts are a snack in the US, and yes that CAN mean something else, but generally the snack is all that comes to mind.

Incidentally – prejudice against red-heads is another thing that is foreign to Americans. We have plenty of our own prejudices, but that is not one of them, thank God.

Guest

Ginger Nuts!?

These are biscuits! Or small cookies to you!

Sweet biscuits that have quite a high content of ginger spice that are ‘dunked’ in tea at four in the afternoon every day.

As you probably know – everything stops for tea in England – it’s programmed into our DNA!

I know I’m going to get into trouble with the verb ‘dunked’!

The most popular biscuit for dunking in tea is the ‘digestive’ biscuit – which you probably know is a wholemeal sweet biscuit consumed in England in phenomenal numbers. It is claimed that for one brand alone 53 are eaten every second! Apparently ‘invented’ by the Scots.

However for me ginger nuts are are a fantastic dunk too!

Guest

Re: ‘Surely we Americans can keep on using the word fanny as we see fit, without encountering a fit from some British agony aunt?’

Now I wonder how those ‘aunts’ handle Shakespeare with ‘American’ accents! Marlon Brando in ‘Julius Caesar’ must’ve killed them…😎

Guest

This is a diversion too far, wrfree!

But interesting nevertheless.

webber
Guest

Ah… but then Caesar wasn’t British, was he?

webber
Guest

But if you want to make fun of Dick Van Dyke’s British accent in Mary Poppins, I’m with you (and yes, that was his proper name)

Guest

Hahahaha…. Good one! Wish there was a way I could subscribe to Brit, Irish, Welsh and Scot comedy stuff.
Hilarious.

Started with Fawlty: ‘Don’t mention the war!!!!!!!’ Really I was ready for the hospital when Cleese came on. A notable contribution of the British gift to comedy in the world. Britain had Julius and Adolph to contend with. Looks as if they’re none the worse for the wear. Would love to know how comedy is faring in the ‘old’ country under the circumstances. The practice of comedy in countries indubitably comment on the type of society they’ve got.

Guest

Comedy is alive and well in the UK.

It’s keeping us sane.

Guest

Righto!

Being in Britain you have a higher probability of meeting ‘Mr. Fawlty’ if you do tell him please for me he is a ‘master’. We make it a point to put them on regularly to get laughs. Personally, I think his ‘Fawlty Towers’ is the creme de la creme of comedy sketches. God save
Basil!’

Sorry to digress a little but I’d think since Prof’s fine blog here comments on ‘culture’ hey comedy’s fair game too.

pappp
Guest

György Matolcsy is on a f***g roll, he just can’t stop his antics. Simply put he is insane. Mad. Not criminally insane because he is capable of seeing the consequences of his acts etc., but he is insane nonetheless.

Somehow Jackson 5 came to mind

pappp
Guest
pappp
Guest

OT: Fidesz and MSZP working together. MSZP is part of Fidesz’ system.

Interesting article (in Hungarian).

http://index.hu/belfold/2016/09/16/ha_osszeomlik_az_mszp_a_fidesz_osszetakolja/

Guest

Funny?
Does he really believe in this?
The New Silk Road, the trade route between Asia and Europe that China is aiming to revive, could double Hungary’s GDP, National Bank of Hungary (MNB) governor György Matolcsy said at a meeting of economists yesterday, according to Hungarian news agency MTI.
http://bbj.hu/economy/new-silk-road-could-double-hungarys-gdp-says-mnb_122080

webber
Guest

Yes, he believes it. It’s just the least of his idiocies, really.

It’s tied up with the plans for a super-fast rail-line the Chinese want to run between the port they have now bought at Thessalonika through Macedonia and Serbia to Budapest and, eventually, to Vienna.

The Chinese have promised the Hungarian government a loan to cover the costs of the line in Hungary. The Hungarian government, however, has not published details of the loan agreement, though Brussels has the right to see it. Without Brussels’ approval, the loan will fall through and the project will collapse.

Incidentally, did you know there is a fast rail line from Budapest to Vienna? You say you’ve never noticed it? Odd. Neither have I, though it’s been built. Or rather, the money for it has already been spent….

pappp
Guest

The “super-fast” rail line between Bp and Szeged would be capable of only 160km/hours max (I guess for a few sustained minutes at most) which is a standard modern speed and it’s not considered especially fast. See links below about already existing Hungarian rail lines with such theoretic maximum allowed speed (almost never used out).

The Budapest – Vienna Railjet (operated by the Austrians) – though only for a few seconds – actually travels with 160km/hours (the speed is shown on a display on board).

All told, however, it takes 2:40 hours to cover about 240kms which is about 100km/h (and one needs to get downtown from the new station, whereas before Westbanhof was in the centre), so it’s more like 3 hours which was the time to WB before making the average velocity even worse. Don’t expect anything better from a the new line to Szeged.

https://hu.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magyar_vas%C3%BAtfejleszt%C3%A9sek_a_2010-es_%C3%A9vekben

webber
Guest

Yes, but the rails they paid for on that line to Vienna supposedly would have enabled that train to go 230 km./hr., as Railjet does within Austria.
MÁV built inferior lines, and someone pocketed the money.

pappp
Guest

Sorry to continue this webber but this is from today’s interview with Oroshaza’s former MSZP mayor Janos Fetser.

He says “but despite this [the poverty and corruption in Békés county] when we were collecting the signatures [probably for the land-privatization referendum] in Battonya they asked as back: why is it a problem that they steal?”

Many people in rural places accept corruption as an everyday fact and simply don’t care. (And as we saw from a recent poll for half the country corruption is not an important concern). They still like Fidesz better and look over Fidesz’ corruption and incompetence. This popular support should not be underestimated just because it is not rational for a Budapest-based intellectual.

Rural people like Fidesz because it is in tune with their lives and world views.

“Ehhez képest, amikor gyűjtöttük az aláírást Battonyán, visszakérdeztek: miért baj az, hogy lopnak?”

webber
Guest

aha. And you believe that?

Guest

Just like the Black people accepted slavery and the Jews accepted being moved into wagons?

pappp, you’re not for real!

PS:
Your interpretation of that poll is nonsense! it just says that money or rather the lack of it is a bigger problem for them!

pappp
Guest

A no. 4 priority is not a priority. It means they don’t really care about corruption.

What I am saying is that while Fidesz is disliked generally, and I agree with that presumption, many, perhaps as many as 25-30% of the general population (and more of the likely voters), still like Fidesz and are very happy to turn a bling eye toward corruption and incompetence. These people are more likely to live in rural places and outside Budapest and as I wrote I had my personal experiences which tie in with Fetser’s experiences.

Why is this so? There is no good rational explanation.

But to assume that the nation is united in hating Fidesz is a huge mistake. It’s not true.

Guest

Being frustrated because of something you can’t change does not mean they don’t care imho …

But it’s irrelevant anyway – those people “just don’t count”, they’re ignored by the politicians …

Guest

Re: the ‘nepek’

I think I know them. They are too too humble.

Jean P.
Guest

Unfortunately it is an open question whether Nobel Prize winning economic theory is more reliable than Tibetan teaching.

Bowen
Guest

Well, it’s nice to know that while Orban Viktor is lambasting Angela Merkel and others for ““undermining Christian Europe”, his right-hand man in the National Bank is screwing around with yoga teachers, Asian mysticism, and billions of Euro.

Honestly, why aren’t Hungarian citizens marching on Kossuth Ter with pitchforks an flaming torches at this point? They must love being screwed, is the only answer.

Guest

Re: ‘Well, it’s nice to know that while Orban Viktor is lambasting Angela Merkel and others for ““undermining Christian Europe”, his right-hand man in the National Bank is screwing around with yoga teachers, Asian mysticism’

Shades of the Reich. Looks a ‘Hanussen’ roaming the halls. Matolcs has updated the occupation to the modern proclivity of looking to the ‘East’. No fortune telling for him..;-)…

Guest

Totally OT:

Like yesterday I have many comments appearing twice – at first I thought that some commenters had put them in twice but to have this happen regularly?

Of course it’s not a real problem – I’m just wondering …

Istvan
Guest
The meeting going on in Bratislava of the 27 EU leaders could be Orban’s victory lap. This article discusses some of Orban’s early pronouncements in Bratislava for those that read Hungarian http://nol.hu/kulfold/orbannak-elmagyaraztak-hogy-nincs-ingyen-ebed-az-eu-ban-1632111 Orban effectively gently lectured the EU stating it used legislative tricks in order to put in place the refugee quotas and he was quoted as stating he asked the EU not to do so anymore because the nation states can not accept these actions. Jean Asselborn, Luxembourg Foreign Minister has withdrawn his statement on the expulsion of Hungary from the EU and said reportedly the focus should be on keeping communities together and not “be cut at each other on a daily provocations” while still being critical of Orban on a diplomatic level. President Donald Tusk issued a letter ( http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2016/09/the-bratislava-letter-20160913_pdf(1)/ http://www.consilium.europa.eu/en/meetings/european-council/2016/09/the-bratislava-letter-20160913_pdf(1)/ ) in preparation for the meeting today making clear the EU was retreating from greater federalism. Specifically Tusk wrote: “We will not, however, change the European Union into a single state. Therefore, it will be crucial for the Member States to better cooperate among one another, to bring our forces together in the Union. My talks with you clearly show that giving new powers to European… Read more »
Guest

Since the UK is still part of the EU it is a sign that the EU will not fight fairly.

For example, the UK can’t negotiate any trade deals with EU members until we have left – but the 27 can negotiate in meetings before then.

In addition the EU fully realise that if they play hardball with the UK then others won’t be tempted to follow the UK.

This is however understandable but requires restraint to ensure fairness on all sides.

Since we are being – and will be – excluded from decision-making, from today I propose that we wind up forthwith any further contributions and cease to take part in all discussions.

I would not even expect to be excluded in this way even if we had triggered article 50.

This is not the way to treat a member who has made such a big contribution to the EU.

This Brevenge route will backfire – and they should keep an eye on the future.

If, against all the odds and expectations, the UK ‘makes it’ – then the EU will be in one almighty mess.

And we will watch Hungary et al fester with less than a heavy heart.

Guest

And btw from speeches being made that power might move from the commission to the council – (this will mean bigger squabbles and more of them) – the EU won’t work as they envisage it unless all members adopt the Euro.

If it fails then the EU will look back and wish they had negotiated with the UK in 2016.

Orban – via Varga has only muttered that Hungary will join the Euro in the ‘next decade’. But he doesn’t mean a word of it.

Yes – keep up the Brevenge chaps!

webber
Guest

“the EU will look back and wish they had negotiated with the UK in 2016.”
Negotiated, on what grounds Charlie? Until Article 50 is triggered, nothing can be negotiated.
Really, what is May and her cabinet thinking? That they will negotiate before they trigger Article 50, and will not trigger it if they don’t get a deal they can accept?
GET ON WITH IT!

webber
Guest

I agree with you on the stupidity of Brevenge, but…
The British have only their own government to blame for failing to trigger Article 50. Only London can do that, and it should have been done by the end of July, at the latest. Every day that passes is just another day of pushing the problems ahead. They are building up.
The people doing the waffling here are all in London.
You cannot blame the EU for getting on with business. You surely should blame your own government for failing to do so.

Guest

Not so.

Germany and France are in a position of stasis – rabbits in the headlights – scared of any significant moves.

Germany can’t negotiate a jot until elections next year – Octoberish and ditto France.

Just keep blaming the UK as part of the Brevenge strategy.

But Germany and France need all the time they can get to line up their ducks.

Merkel knows even if Hollande doesn’t.

webber
Guest

Since when should London give a hoot about elections in France or Germany? Since the Brexit referendum, clearly London should not. Just trigger Article 50, and be done with it. There is plenty of time for negotiation after that happens.

Guest

Yes of course. We can’t have Merkel or Hollande, Juncker or Schultz appearing to shilly shally can we?

webber
Guest

Only Britain can trigger Article 50. Nobody else. Only the state that wants to leave.
Give me one good reason for not triggering it now – indeed, a month ago – just one reason.

Guest

Merkel has told us to take the time necessary. And we will.
The UK would have done the same if the boot was on the other foot.
The rule was written requiring the triggering of article 50 by the leaving-member state.
It’s called democracy and it doesnt require anyone to hector the UK – or change the rule unilaterally. Unless you really have a Brevenge strategy.
It’s written in the rule for all other members too should they decide to leave. Geddit?
Or do you expect it to be changed if Hungary or Germany decides to leave – to suit someone’s whim?

webber
Guest
You haven’t given a reason for not triggering Article50 now. Not a single one. Dilly dally, very silly. Can’t you give me one? Just one? I’ll tell you what – from where I’m sitting, May seems to be acting like Aunt Dahlia with a hangover (Corbyn gave her a mauling – CORBYN for God’s sake), with a fat Bertie Wooster as FM, and Gussie Fink Nottle backing up. Where is your Jeeves??? What sort of answer is “it’s called democracy”? You’ve had your referendum. That’s absolutely fine. I’m fine with the results too – that’s democracy. What have I said that implies anything anti-democratic? “Unless I have a Brevenge strategy”??? What in the world do you mean by that? I have no strategy whatsoever. I think things should be made as smooth as possible for Britain. I deplore any idea of taking vengeance on the people of Britain just for expressing their democratic will. THAT would be anti-democratic Focus now, please, and stop giving me these bristly Little England answers which have nothing to do with my questions. The questions are, Is Britain leaving, or not? And if Britain is leaving, Why not trigger Article 50 ASAP? I would think,… Read more »
Guest

Hector all you want. The politicians will invoke it when they are ready. When they were ready. When they are ready. When they……

Just be patient.

It’s democracy.

webber
Guest

Well, you’re the Brit. If it’s okay with you, who am I to squall?

webber
Guest

Just don’t complain that the EU is moving on while your politicians are busy warming their port.
Really – the fact that the EU might actually get business done BEFORE your government makes a single move should surely get your brain ticking. You’ve just complained that they’re changing things above – and I’ve pointed out that the world will not stand still.
The EU, more efficient and more effective than Parliament?… I hope I never see the day, but with that lot of bodgers and boffins you have running the show, I’m afraid the day is nigher than I like.

Guest

It won’t be easy for the Brits – especially those living abroad in the EU (and of course for the around 3 million (!) EU citizens living in Britain. There’s an interesting piece on the logistics problems of all this (health care and its costs eg) in one of my favourite British IT site:
http://www.theregister.co.uk/2016/08/22/brexit_feature/

Guest

Charlie, come on!

What do you (or rather Britain, or the UK or little England …) want from the EU?

The only thing that seems to be clear:
You don’t want to pay anything for the poor countries in Eastern Europe, you don’t want immigrants, free travel etc.

What does Britain expect from the 900 000 Polish workers – has there been any word on that yet? Do you have any idea? Will they be sent back? A lot of questions without answers …

But you want free trade – without accepting the rules of the EU?

That won’t work – just look at Switzerland …

And Hungary and the Visegrad Four are even worse – sometimes I wish that Germany (and Austria and Benelux) would just say:
No, we’re no longer giving anything away – we’ve done enough!

Anything you want in the future- you have to pay for it.

PS:

Hungary wants to profit from the “new silk road” – well that won’t be needed if Western Europe doesn’t import more stuff from China via Hungary …
The biggest container shipping company in the world (Chinese) just went bankrupt …

webber
Guest

Wolfi, the day Germany says “We’re not putting up with it any more” to Hungary, I will break out a bottle of champagne. Hell, I’ll ask you for your address and send you one.

Jean P.
Guest

“Lázár also stated that the European Commission cannot pursue an independent policy of its own that is contrary to the interests of the Member States”

What can the EU do that is not against the proclaimed interests of a single member state? Nothing worthwhile. If the interests of the member states have unconditional priority over the interests of Europe, the EU will be of no consequence and fall apart.

It took a civil war to solve that problem in the Unites States. There will be no civil war for unity in Europe. Armed skirmishes for other reasons are not unthinkable when the EU is gone.

Istvan
Guest

The EU is clearly weakened. The upside of this could be progressive Hungarians and even rational conservatives may stop looking to the EU for the Magic Bullet that will contain the ever expanding Mafia state in Hungary.

webber
Guest

That would be an excellent result. I fear, however, that the habit of looking to big brother for help or, in Hun. prison slang to the “góré”, is so deeply ingrained that not a lot of so-called progressives and alleged conservatives will understand (I’ve never met a real conservative in Hungary, and I’ve met some from academia who pose as conservatives – but its just a slogan for them: an identity without content)

pappp
Guest

This is also because they themselves (these progressives) accepted without any criticism the slogans that the EU is a such a big political issue. It’s not. It is a free trade zone, formerly known as the common market. That’s all it is, everything else is bullshit.

Guest

Trolling again?

Of course the long term aim of the EU are the USE! That has been discussed here already.

However long term may mean a hundred years after what happened lately …

PALIKA
Guest
Sadly, the English have no idea. Money can be made in almost any way, if you are determined enough. When the arrogant and ignorant British politicians turned their noses up at joining the Common Market in 1956. Their reasons were xenophobic and arrogant. When they realised they had made a mistake, they came cap in hand to be allowed to join. De Gaulle, who knew about the English thanks to his years in London, told them to take a jump. He was right. They were persuaded by Heath to forget all that. Before that, UK exported crap to poor countries and bought cheap and poor quality agricultural produce from rubbish countries. When I first visited France pre 1972 I could not believe the difference in the quality of what you would buy in a small town in backward France. The produce magnificent, the shops a dream, liberal opening hours. It all changed gradually in the UK after joining the EEC. The lifestyle improvements were immeasurable. Thanks to the jurisdiction of the ECJ we were able to escape the laws the ruling order for its own purposes imposed on us by deciding them with reference to Judges who are not appointed… Read more »
Reality Check
Guest

OT – Migszol has a report out on the refugee crisis.

HUNGARY’S LONG SUMMER OF MIGRATION – irresponsible governance fails people seeking international protection.

http://www.migszol.com/files/theme/Report/migszol_report_eng.pdf

tappanch
Guest

“Standard and Poor’s raised its rating on Hungary to ‘BBB-/A-3’ from ‘BB+/B’, citing improving fiscal, external, and growth expectations.”

http://www.reuters.com/article/hungary-ratings-sp-idUSL3N1BS2D4

The forint gained 0.6% against the euro after the news.

tappanch
Guest
tappanch
Guest

The left scale is not correct on the chart above.

http://hu.tradingeconomics.com/hungary/rating

tappanch
Guest

The financial balance of the last six years, official MNB numbers.
June 30, 2016 vs June 30, 2010,

net debt of the central+local governments+soc sec : up 44.8%
gross debt of the central+local governments+soc sec: up 43.1%

net debt of the central government : up 55.1%
gross debt of the central government: up 52.2%

MNB international reserves: down 22.2% in HUF.
GDP at current prices, 1st quarter of 2016 vs 2010: up by 27.9% [KSH]

Remark:
Hungary reports a different, “Maastricht” debt to the EU statistical office, which excludes the nationalized private retirement funds, among many other excluded items.

gross “Maastricht” debt of the central government: up by only 17.0%
June 30, 2016 vs June 30, 2010,

tappanch
Guest

Another series published by the Treasury [AKK]:

gross (not Maastricht) debt of the central government.:
up by 23.5% .

The ratings agencies can pick their favorite number from the scattered data.

Net numbers are more difficult to manipulate. It is also obvious, that the steeply decreasing international reserves and the less sharply increasing debt are related.

So I advocate for a [net debt – MNB reserves] indicator to gauge the status of the Hungarian debt.

ricsike
Guest

Gabor G Fodor who is a very annoying political scientist, pundit and editor in chief of 888.hu (which in turn is a Fidesz-controlled internet site competing with 444.hu) was beaten up today by currently unknown assailants.

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20160916_Bantalmaztak_a_Szazadvegigazgato_G_Fodor_Gabort

webber
Guest

Could have been random people who just saw their chance to beat a Fidesznik, and took it. They should either travel with bodyguards, or never appear in public if they want to avoid being spat upon and other unpleasantness. That is how much people in Bp. hate Fidesz.

But it also could be that Fodor has offended some heavies in the Hungarian underworld with some of his reporting – something to do with reporting on one of their children, perhaps. Who can tell.

Istvan
Guest
Now I am aware that the UK paper the Telegraph is massively pro-exit but their coverage of Bratislava really puts Orban at the front and center of disarray it can be read at http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2016/09/16/eu-bratislava-summit-donald-tusk-calls-for-sober-and-brutally-ho1/ I know the Telegraph wants to make the EU appear ever more dysfunctional for political purposes but it does appear that Orban was offered no mandatory refugee quotas and he wanted even more. Here are the relevant passages: “… the Hungarian prime minister, condemning the EU’s migration policy as “self-destructive and naïve”. Orban said that without Germany imposing a firm ceiling on the number of immigrants it is willing to take in, a “suction effect” would continue to draw masses to Europe. “Something must happen in that respect,” he said. Orban added that leaders of European nations along the Balkans migration route, including Austria and Germany, would meet in Vienna on Sept 24 to try to find a way forward.” The Telegraph article went on to state: “Mr Orban, the nationalist strongman who this month promised to mount a “counter-revolution” to take power back to the EU capitals, made his attack in direct defiance of warnings from senior EU leaders to stop bashing Brussels, the Daily… Read more »
Guest

That’s how the net sees him:
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