What will Viktor Orbán have in his satchel when he goes to Brussels on October 3?

I don’t even know where to start because there are so many fascinating topics to pick from. Perhaps the most significant comes from Magyar Nemzet. The paper learned from “diplomatic sources” that Germany is ready to come to Hungary’s aid in some of the most serious infringement procedure cases in return for Viktor Orbán’s more moderate stance on the refugee issue and a “more constructive attitude” towards issues concerning the European Union.

Magyar Nemzet got hold of a secret government background study which dealt with the gravity of the situation posed by the 21 infringement procedures leveled against Hungary that are under consideration at the moment. The document that described the “economically or politically significant” cases paints a grim picture of relations between Budapest and Brussels.

Of the 21 cases the two most significant are Paks II and the Budapest-Belgrade railroad project. I don’t think I have to say much here about Paks II. We all know far too much about the shady deal Viktor Orbán negotiated with Vladimir Putin that will put Hungary in debt to Russia for at least 30 years. It is a well-known fact that the European Union has had great misgivings about Paks II because the project was awarded to the Russians without any competitive bids. In addition, the profitability of the project is in doubt; perhaps only hidden state subsidies would keep it afloat. On the other hand, I don’t think I have ever written about the high-speed rail connection between Budapest and Belgrade that was negotiated with China. Magyar Nemzet reported about two weeks ago that an infringement procedure is in place in connection with the construction of the railroad.

In December 2014 Hungary, Serbia, Macedonia, and China signed an agreement on the modernization of the Budapest-Belgrade-Skopje-Athens railroad, “which will allow the fastest transportation of Chinese goods from Greek harbors to Europe.” Under the agreement a consortium led by the China Railway Group was awarded a $1.57 billion contract to build the 160 km Hungarian section. Two Chinese companies will finance 85% of the project; the rest will be paid by Budapest. The European Union has many concerns about the project. Once again, the profitability of the project is in question. The railroad might end up being a white elephant, just like the choo-choo train in Felcsút. 444.hu calculated that the construction of the Hungarian section would cost about 400 billion forints but that only 4,000 people travel on the line daily, which is 1% of all railroad travel in the country.

Now Magyar Nemzet’s sources claim that these two projects will be given the green light by the European Commission thanks to the good offices of Berlin. What Germany, specifically Angela Merkel, would like in exchange is for Viktor Orbán to tone down his anti-refugee rhetoric and to work with the other member states in arriving at a common solution to the problem at hand. Hungarian sources stressed that Viktor Orbán’s policies regarding the refugee crisis “might be dangerous for Angela Merkel” at home. Figyelő learned earlier from a German diplomatic source that “the referendum might be a turning point, after which the Hungarian government might be more constructive. It is possible that Orbán might even offer helpful suggestions.”

Magyar Nemzet claims to have already noticed a less belligerent Viktor Orbán with respect to Germany. The paper also called attention to László Kövér’s statement, in a long interview with Magyar Idők, that a strong Europe cannot be imagined without Germany. I must admit that I haven’t seen any great change in the anti-EU rhetoric of Viktor Orbán and others, but we will see what happens after Sunday. If I were Angela Merkel, I wouldn’t rush into anything. I would first want to see concrete signs of true cooperation, not just words. As we know, Orbán’s words are worth nothing. And even if, in a desperate attempt to salvage his two pet projects, he changes his tune in the next months or so, it is folly to think that three months later he will not continue his uncooperative behavior exactly where he left off. In fact, I would predict that this is exactly what will happen. And by that time work on both projects will have begun and nothing will be able to stop them.

As I said, I find it difficult to believe that a different Viktor Orbán will emerge after the referendum. In fact, in an interview he gave to Magyar Katolikus Rádió he indicated that he will have all the ammunition he could possibly need in his negotiations with the European Union. He talked about the referendum as the beginning of something new. If it is successful, he “will put ‘hamuban sült pogácsa’ into his satchel” and will head toward Brussels.

pogacsa

So, let’s stop for a minute and try to explain what Orbán had in mind. Every dictionary I consulted translated “pogácsa” as cake, which is outright wrong. It is more like a biscuit or a scone. For those who would like to try their hand at making pogácsa there are plenty of recipes available online in English.

But back to Orbán’s reference. According to a Hungarian folktale, the children of a poor man go on a long and dangerous journey. Their mother makes these special biscuits for them, baked in ashes, but only the oldest’s “pogácsa” is made out of white flour. The youngest’s and the stepchild’s biscuits are made out of bran. The youngest child, the hero of the tale, shares his biscuits with a beggar, a fox, a mouse, and ants, with all those who helped him on his way. It seems that Orbán knows only the first part of the story. The part about the generous hero escaped his attention.

September 30, 2016
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Zsepac
Guest

A deal like that does not reflect well on Merkel either.

e-1956
Guest

Let us not overanalyze the regime.
Let us not repeat confusing disinformation.
Let us broadcast the such an unfortunate episode is rare even in the troubled Hungarian history.

dos929
Guest

Whoever believes one word that Orban or any of his gang members say is a fool. If Merkel gives any credit to Orban then she is even a bigger fool…. It is disgusting how the EU leaders are giving in to Orban after the known facts of the past 6 years of history.

tappanch
Guest

Orban will admit many thousands of migrants in return for money and continued recognition of his dictatorship.

Anniversaries:

7 years ago: public television became Fidesz television (yes, BEFORE the election)

3 years ago: Orban’s bodyguard banned any demonstration in and around Orban’s street. This has not been lifted ever since.

Guest

You shouldn’t underestimate Angela Merkel!

She grew up among “Communists” and is used to traitors who sold you to the secret police and she’s also used to her “conservative” partners in the Bavarian CSU like Mr Seehofer. You know the guy who is so Christian that he opposes same sex marriage because a child needs a mother and a father – but he left the woman he made pregnant in Berlin with her child and returned to his wife …
And Seehofer is also the guy who wanted a motorway toll – just for foreigners, which is as obviously against EU rules as many of Orbán’s ideas. Of course he didn’t get it …

So I believe Mrs Merkel can handle little O very well!

Guest

“So I believe Mrs Merkel can handle little O very well!”

Horse trading may not be in her blood but she has a lame horse to sell.

Observer
Guest

Merkel has been practically keeping Organ in power, or at least has been the most significant factor, be it naive or shortsighted or cinic.
The political and social damages are huge, the economies suffer/will suffer too.
The baddies see that they can get away with the thuggery and the money so they go for it, more join the gang, the honest citizens/taxpayers wait for protection in vain, loose faith and in desperation turn to quacks and populists for miraculous solutions. And a grand mess ensuis eventually all he’ll breaks loose.
A stich in time saves nine.

Guest

What could/should Merkel have done? She has to follow the EU rules and she’s not alone …

I don’t agree with her policies generally but you have to be realistic.

webber
Guest

What could Merkel have done?….
Please, Wolfi. The question alone is embarrassing. You know very well what she (and others) could do, BY FOLLOWING EU rules.

She could start by ejecting Fidesz from her EP fraction for violating the values of the EU and of fellow conservatives. A shot across the bow, if you will.

Then she could continue by backing (repeated) attempts to cut funding for Hungary until and unless the government of Hungary is in compliance with not just the letter but the spirit of EU regulations.

Instead what has she done? She has protected Fidesz repeatedly and is about to do it again, behind the scenes, in a quid-pro-quo.

Don’t embarrass yourself by suggesting there is nothing Merkel could do. I have criticized people who said nasty things about Germans here. I have criticized people who have been blinded by their own patriotism. I am criticizing you now for the same.

Observer
Guest

Webber is quite right, corruption alone could have been enough to freeze most cohesion funding, a leak to the press about the fate of German taxpayer’s money in Hungary (as in Greece) initiating a discussion and eventually introducing sanctions, majority voting, etc reforms in the EU which is increasingly seen as inefficient, bureaucratic, down to corrupt, superfluous or even detrimental.

Guest

You expect too much from Mrs Merkel – she has enough problems at home!

And in any case – Hungarians have to “dethrone O”, it can’t come from the outside.

Guest

You know I could expect a bit of ragging on Merkel. She is in a tough position. But if she goes in ’17 I hope Germany can weather the challenges in its political environment. Europe’s been in flux for awhile and will continue to be when it comes to those far right fellows.Just chomping on the bit to get the edge. Point to ponder. If she goes what kind of government will Germany put together? Fighting seems to be getting tougher in the sandbox now. And VO usually keeps throwing the sand around every which way all over the place.

tappanch
Guest

Eligible voters in the October 2 referendum.

with Hungarian address on file
(regular voters, including those registered to vote abroad)
September 1: 8 007 353
October 1: 7 997 998, a decrease of 9355

without Hungarian address but with accepted registration
(mail-in voters)
September 1: 265 048
October 1: 274 627, an increase of 9579

tappanch
Guest

The referendum is valid if the number of valid votes (does not matter whether yes or no !) >= 4 136 313

tappanch
Guest

April 6, 2014:

Eligible voters

with Hungarian address on file: 8 019 564

without Hungarian address but with accepted registration: 193 793

Decline of the eligible regular voters between
April 6, 2014 and September 1, 2016: 12 211

Natural decline of the population of Hungary (deaths – births) between
April 1, 2014 and August 1, 2016: 83 722

Does this mean that we have obtained roughly 70,000 GHOST [or guest] regular voters in Hungary in the last 2 1/2 years?

tappanch
Guest

As of September 30, there were 88 591 mail-in votes.
The Bureau checked 73 304 of them, and found 83.58% valid votes.

Therefore, at this point, the ratio “valid votes/ eligible votes” of the Transylvanian-Serbian-e-Landian ballots stands at 27%, but midnight October 1 is deadline.

tappanch
Guest

Oops, but the head of the Bureau just mentioned a number of 121,000 to journalists at noon.

This means that 33,000 votes were dropped off at the door of the Bureau only this morning.

Anything can happen until midnight …..

http://nol.hu/belfold/nepszavazas-kvota-bevandorlas-menekultek-hataron-tuliak-1634301

tappanch
Guest

In addition, bulk “mail-in” ballots are accepted at the consulates in Romania, Ukraine and Serbia or even in Hungary !

Beregszász, Ungvár until 17:30
Szabadka until 18:00
Kolozsvár until 19:00
Hungary until 19:00
Csíkszereda until 22:00, i.e. 10 PM [!! ??]

Source:
http://valasztas.hu/hu/ref2016/1134/1134_0.html#_Toc455496849

tappanch
Guest

Tomorrow ! at the consulates of Hungary.

tappanch
Guest

The three ways the government can easily cheat in the referendum:

A. sending mail-in votes even for dead people
B. counting invalid votes as valid
C. filling out empty ballots for people who did not show up to vote

A is possible by the design of the Fidesz electoral law,

B. and C. are possible because there will not be any opposition observers or vote counters in almost 2/3 of the precincts.

http://444.hu/2016/10/01/harom-modszer-amivel-a-kvotanepszavazason-elmeletileg-lehetne-csalni

Observer
Guest

Orban will cheat all three ways and more, cheating is one of his three main character features together with lying and stealing. There have been already several illegal actions in this hate campaign already, latest the illegal use of voters’ database.

PALIKA
Guest

Pogacsa is a scone and I believe it is not a biscuit. It’s flavouring and consistency is hugely varied. Freshly baked to welcome guests is always a great treat.
OV is not out on limb in making an issue of migrants flooding into Europe. The compulsory quotas are often ignored. Potentially, migration on the scale we have seen recently is as destructive of civilised Europe as Brexit. Fascinating months, maybe years ahead. I nearly wrote “to look forward to” but I do not think so.

webber
Guest

It’s a biscuit in American English. If you type “biscuit” in google and look at the images, you will see that clearly.
What Brits call a biscuit is generally what Americans call a (dry) cookie.
It’s not a scone in my view, but if Brits want to call it a scone, who am I to complain? In American English a scone is a scone, and there is only one sort, the only variation being whether it has raisins or currants or whatever in it.

webber
Guest

P.S. The variation in what Americans call biscuits is even greater than that between varieties of pogácsa (you’ll have to trust me on that – I have plenty of experience in both countries).

webber
Guest

Some people in rural America still cook on ashes, especially on hot summer days when cooking inside just heats up the house. Some Hungarians do, too.

webber
Guest

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGFmcm7d18

Can’t stand it, but this is something Orban would have heard in his youth I suppose.

Observer
Guest

Can’t stand such too. This is where the rustic “wisdoms” (sic) of this half baked figure come from. As Eva suggested, he doesn’t know the whole tale , let alone see the wisdom of it.

Guest

Wow … never knew there was a ditty to pogacsa! What a tune. Guess Viktor’s more of a pogacsa man than say maybe retes…;-)… Which by the way personallyfind a tastier treat.

It’s evident that the definition here of pogacsa revolves around differing terms. But I think we’d all agree we know a pogacsa if we see one! I dont think any of us can be fooled!

And on the tale it looks Viktor sure isn’t sensitive to the theme. The only thing I can think of is by the time he gets to Brussels that pogacsa since it wasnt baked so well will just be enough for crumbs as his offering from his ‘satchel’. It can get ‘crumbly’ you know.

webber
Guest

Damn Merkel!

Sorry Wolfi – but I do not like your “Kauffrau.” She apparently knows the price of everything in the EU, and doesn’t even care about values.

Guest
London Calling! Completely O/T but utterly fascinating….. This morning in England the World Service of the BBC based its ‘magazine’ program ‘Weekend’ on the Hungarian Threatenerendum – almost entirely devoted to the referendum. Paul Henley is the anchor and he interviewed many Hungarians – from Agnes Heller to Ivan Fischer. Ferenc Gy is there and ‘Reka’ – a first time voter. His guests are Andras Stumpf (grrrr!), Kester Eddy (long time resident of BP – and correspondent for many organisations including the FT) , and Edit xxx a female business correspondent. Paul Henley and guests are based in the Széchenyi Thermal Baths. You could say it’s biased and too BP centred – and yes Chief Lying Toad Zoltan Kovács gets a look in – but Paul Henley is surprisingly knowledgeable about Hungarian affairs and gives a good account himself. Yes Nick Thorpe makes an appearance too with other BBC journalists of the region, like Bethany Bell. Nick does hit the nail on the head though by saying Orban’s carving out a power role above the Brussels beaurocrats. Fascinating: (It’s in three chunks – the first introduced everyone in Hungary then covers the University rape case in the US – but… Read more »
Guest

London Calling!

Here in the England we have a story with very similar characteristics! Dick Whittington left home with his ‘batyu’ and cat – and heard Bow Bells tell him ‘turn again, Whittington, Lord Mayor of London’.

Yes, Pogácsa is a scone in England. I’ve made them and they are delicious warmed with butter – the interesting ingredient is the mashed potato mixed with flour.

My partner insists we eat them with thick bean soup – ‘Babfözelék’.

I’m disgusted with the way Merkel allows her ‘values’ to be bought as if cash can buy anything.

These Brussels bureaucrats are getting worse and worse allowing the erosion of European integrity and cohesion.

Disgusted of London.

Bring it on – Brexit – the fight gets dirty by the day and we haven’t even started yet.

webber
Guest

American biscuits – one sort of many:
comment image

Guest

They look surprisingly like the Pogácsa scones I cooked! I would guess that there’s not a iota of spud in them!

Guest

My wife makes the Pogácsa with some tepertö and pork fat of course – too many calories, but very tasty, especially fresh from the oven!

webber
Guest

Because charlie sometimes seems to like dialects as much as I do – in parts of the West (E. Wash., Or. and Idaho – maybe other places too) biscuits like those above are called hush puppies, but in the old South a hush puppy is a deep-fried ball of cornbread (American corn is maize for Brits. What Brits call corn Americans just call grain.)
How and why some Westerners started using the word for biscuits I don’t know, but do know that if you have ever seen a dog after it eats stale ones you’ll think the name is logical.

webber
Guest

You’re right about the lack of spuds, and that is what we called them where I grew up. It’s nice to see that word again.

Jean P.
Guest

Pogacsa, scone or cookie?

What is it called in Hugarian when it is in a computer?

webber
Guest

In a computer “pogácsa.” If you leave off the mark above the a google translator won’t recognize it.

Guest

In a computer?

A byte to eat?

webber
Guest

For all those who read Hungarian – this is an interesting interview with a fellow who used to make propaganda films for Fidesz:
http://nol.hu/belfold/fidesz-part-kampany-interju-1633973

webber
Guest

If it rains tomorrow, as they say it will, very few people are likely to want to leave home and vote.
If it is just cloudy, people will be very likely to vote.
If the weather is “too nice” (sunny and warm, like today), many people will do other things than vote.

So, a lot may depend on the weather. A little cloudy but warm is best for Fidesz.
I suppose cold and rainy is worst.

Guest

You know considering that it was said from on high the people ‘desired’ the referendum you’ll certainly see how many will want to get their feet wet tomorrow…;-)…

Bowen
Guest

If Merkel has done a ‘deal’ with Orban, then she has made a mistake. The damage is already done. Especially to children, who have now been bombarded with information for over a year that ‘migrants’ should be banned from Hungary.

See this video of a six year old girl.
https://www.facebook.com/ebnr2013/videos/1412959468718521/

Guest

A scathing report on the awful hate propaganda of O in the German magazine SPIEGEL:
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/ungarn-jetzt-will-es-viktor-orban-der-eu-mal-so-richtig-zeigen-a-1114505.html
O wants to deflect from the corruption in Hungary and at the same time steer the EU in a new direction, actually turn back in time.

The article uses words like atrocious, horrendous, apocalyptic mafia, awful etc to describe the Fidesz propaganda and machinations …

Thank you, Keno Verseck!

Member

It seems that corruption is not only rampant in Hungary, but the German Government (and other Governments of EU countries) are willing to participate when their interest dictates it.
This would have been a good time to destroy the viktor, by denying Paks II and the railroad project. Those two jobs will sustain the Fidesz for another 20 years. Is this really what the Germans and Brussel wants????