Viktor Orbán before the European Parliament

I watched the full debate on Hungary in the European Parliament and took copious notes throughout, but here I will offer only some overall impressions. I found Frans Timmermans, first vice president of the European Commission, most impressive, especially since he kept his message to Viktor Orbán brief but to the point. He emphasized the difference between “opinions” and “facts,” intimating that while the Commission’s objections to the Hungarian government’s actions and policies are based on facts, Hungarian answers to their objections are not.

I can’t stress enough the duplicity of members of the Orbán government and its servile media. Every sentence they utter must be scrutinized because it usually turns out that the claims they make to bolster their arguments are unfounded. The EU commissioners have been lied to for at least seven years, if not longer. But it seems that not until this latest “national consultation” did they realize the extent of the lies. Six statements, six falsehoods. Although Frans Timmermans talked about several problems, he spent most of his time on those six statements, refuting them one by one. The false claims, along with the refutations, can be read on the European Commission’s website as well as in the Budapest Business Journal.

The European Commission naturally had several other major objections to the Orbán government’s policies–among them, discrimination against women, treatment of the Roma, the criminal code, the attack on NGOs, and of course the crude attempt at shuttering Central European University.

The answer Timmermans received from Orbán was, as usual, full of inaccurate statements. Orbán proudly pointed out how unsuccessful the European Commission and Parliament have been in enforcing their will on Hungary, starting with the Tavares Report, which he described as “an embarrassing failure.” (For those of you who no longer remember what the Tavares Report was all about, I recommend reading my post on the acceptance of the report by the European Parliament and Professor Kim Scheppele’s “In praise of the Tavares Report,” which also appeared in Hungarian Spectrum.) And if that weren’t enough, Orbán decided to make clear what he thinks of those who “warmly receive a ruthless speculator who ruined many lives and who is an open enemy of the European Union.” Otherwise, he didn’t accept any of the objections to the “Stop Brussels!” campaign or to his country’s treatment of the NGOs. He accused the EU leaders of anti-Hungarian prejudice. In brief, since he couldn’t really counter the objections, he had to rely on ad hominem attacks.

Orbán’s so-called rebuttal was followed by short speeches from the leaders of the EP parties, all of whom, with the exception of the far-right groups, were critical of Viktor Orbán and the Hungarian government. If you visit the website of Hungarian Free Press, you will find a good summary of some of these speeches. HFP’s review of the events spends some time on the comments of Esther de Lange, a Dutch Christian Democratic politician and member of the European People’s Party, who said: “I feel pain in my heart because I recall the other Fidesz, which wanted to be part of a united Europe. It is not the first time that it appears that developments in Hungary are going against European values…. Are you really the type of man who must paint an inaccurate and exaggerated picture of ‘Brussels’ as an enemy, in order to appear stronger at home?” To this I would add a comment made in a similar vein by the Austrian Ulrike Lunacek (Green Party) who recalled that this is the third time that Orbán appears before the European Parliament. Unlike before, he no longer wants any dialogue. “You must be weak because you want to scrap CEU. You must be scared of freedom and criticism. You are scared of democracy.” Finally, she noted that not even EPP members encouraged him with their applause. Only far-right groups are behind him.

Source: Politico / Photo: Emmanuel Dunnand / AFP

Orbán’s final speech was a great deal less bellicose then his introductory remarks. In fact, I would describe it as subdued. He assured his audience that his government is ready to engage with the EU on all the issues, some of which will be settled easily. It looked as if he was truly worried about Fidesz’s possible expulsion from EPP which, given the present mood of the majority, is unlikely. He was also upset by references to his opposition to Brussels , all the while eagerly accepting EU funds. “What we receive is not a gift,” he said. Statements about his lack of democratic convictions also bothered him. Judging from his facial expression, the accusation that he is “a copy of Putin and Erdoğan” especially pained him. But it wasn’t enough to prevent him from uttering yet another lie. He tried to explain away the “illiberal” label he himself attached to his political system. His new take is that Hungary’s “illiberal democracy” is simply “a democracy led by non-liberals.” I can’t imagine anyone in the European Parliament believing that linguistic invention.

Finally, here is a tidbit that no one has yet called attention to. Zoltán Balczó of Jobbik also delivered a short speech. Although he declared his party’s opposition to Soros’s Open Society, he added that “Jobbik doesn’t accept the government’s attack on Central European University. We are waiting for the final word from the Constitutional Court.” What surprised me most was the way he closed his speech: “We are against this corrupt regime.” I never thought I would hear a Jobbik MEP utter those words.

I’m sure that in the next days and weeks the Hungarian media will be full of predictions about the outcome of this latest “war” between Orbán and the European Commission. In fact, the debate has already begun. But I would counsel against hasty calls. Orbán may not be as sure of himself and his success against Brussels as his public posturing would indicate. According to Magyar Nemzet, several Fidesz heavyweights have been cautioning him against using inflammatory rhetoric and assuming a combative attitude. Meanwhile, Népszava got hold of an e-mail sent to all the other members of the European People’s Party by the 12 Fidesz members. Their tone is in stark contrast to Orbán’s bellicosity. “We are not perfect, not all of our experiments are successful, but we are flexible and we are ready for serious discussions about the future of our country and of Europe.” They said they stand “very far from those who work for the destruction of Europe.” Finally, they wrote that they “are members of the club and accept both the benefits and the burdens” that go with membership. Their final words were: “We do make mistakes; we are not perfect; and we are ready to correct them.”

And, of course, as I said the other day, the Hungarian constitutional court may step in to lift the uncomfortable burden of the CEU law from the shoulders of the Orbán government.

April 26, 2017
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old1956
Guest

Wake up the few Hungarians, who still back fidesz or jobbik, or the extremists in the Catholic and Protestant churches.

They can reject this failed and corrupt regime.

Let us be once again civilized, enlightened, united and kind.

Talpra mAGYarok!
Guest

‘Civilized’ on the globalized way of neocons, neomarxists? You are kidding, arem’t you ?

Old-1956
Guest

Most can try it and many will succeed in civility.

See the Western Enlightened nations.

Ask all the Hungarians who live in those paradises called UK, Ireland, Benelux, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Germany, France etc.

It can be very relaxing and pleasant.

Member

1956er: “It can be very relaxing and pleasant”

Yes, Hungary is absolutely unrelaxed. Since many years we permanently have hate campaigns and war against everybody.

I think,more and more hungarians now would like to relax again, which is not possible with a warlord by nature leading this country.

Observer
Guest

I use an instant test to gauge the tensions, frustration and aggression in society – driving, try to changing lanes in H.

Member

Do not test it that way in Germany!
You might get the picture of the most aggressive and frustrated nation (they actually are, when driving).

The Hungarians in part drive calmly, mostly because they fear the police, which is present everywhere.

Guest

Where are you living to make that observation?

here in the west of Hungary the driving style is abominable – at least of the big new Audis, Mercedes etc.
I tell my friends to be careful when seeing one of these on the road, because the driver might be a Fidesz politician, a businessman without scruples or a mafioso – probably all in one.
Especially on the main roads to Austria or to Budapest some people drive without limits!

PS:
The average speed in Germany is higher because on some motorways we have no limits – so for some people (like my former boss who always was in a hurry) it feels natural to go at 200 km/h ….

Member

Probably You are right. My wife also tells me each time she was away about some live threatening drivers.
I was judging from the last 8 kilometers to Keszthely, which go entirely through vilages.
The hungarians use to drive consepuently below 50.
It’s mostly At and De that drive fast.

Guest

Keszthely is our “main city” – so are we kind of neighbours, Winston? You could ask Eva for my email, I don’t want to post it here openly …

Member

Hello Wolfi,
I already thought, that You must be somewhere near here.
Our “main city” is Tapolca.
But my wife is going to open a book shop in Keszthely soon.
We live and I work in Szigliget since almost 2 years now.
I will ask Eva for Your mail.

Observer
Guest

Winston

I used to drive fast (with radar detector), not so much now with the lasers, etc. Happened many times: after 2000 km driving around approach Hun borders and caught myself cursing, for the first time in week

Doggo
Guest

“And, of course, as I said the other day, the Hungarian constitutional court may step in”

This is because a Jobbik-LMP-MSZP coalition sent the Lex-CEU to the constitutional court. There were only two members of Jobbik who refused to sign papers to save the Soros University this way.

If a few years ago someone tells me that Jobbik will be an ally of Soros and help him out almost with the full parliamentary group I would have thought the person was mad.

But now Jobbik stands clearly with Soros almost to a man and they never really explained why.

Reality Check
Guest

Doggy, there are anti-anxiety medications that might help with your serious case of SDS (Soros Derangement Syndrome).

M B
Guest

My suspicion is that this is part of Jobbik’s attempt to reinvent themselves as a more moderate right-wing party in an attempt to present themselves as a viable alternative to Fidesz. What will come of that, I don’t dare speculate, but they aren’t an ally I would trust. It’s surreal, at any rate.

Alex
Guest
Doggo, CEU is not “Soros University.” It is a fully independent university with an independent board, and independent faculty with as broad a range of research agendas as you would find among faculty anywhere in the world. George Soros endowed the university precisely to ensure its independence from him, and he is not a voting member of the board. In my 17 years on the CEU faculty not once have I been given my Soros marching orders. The notion that Soros influences the intellectual work of professors is just laughable. Moreover, under Fidesz more and more other Hungarian universities have come under political pressure and from what I hear from colleagues at other institutions is there is a degree of governmental interference as well as self censorship in some departments. People, especially in the social sciences, feel a significant degree of threat, either immediate or long term. This is the kind of interference with academic freedom that CEU is immune from-from the Hungarian government, George Soros, and anyone else. CEU certainly acknowledges the debt it owes to him and understands that Soros’ vision of an open society includes independent universities like itself, but to conflate Soros and CEU is profoundly… Read more »
Doggo
Guest

“Doggo, CEU is not “Soros University.””

It is absolutely the Soros University, saying otherwise is simply untrue. The proof is simple. Soros is going to Brussels to meet with Juncker personally and Juncker accepted the meeting.

If it was not a Soros University there would be no such meeting. It is highly irregular and incredible that the president of the EU commission meets with Soros an oligarch who wanted to destroy the pound and damage an European country in the process. A European country Juncker is supposed to represent.

So what other reason would be for the meeting other than the Soros University? There is no other reason for the Juncker-Soros meeting with this timing.

You can’t claim with a straight face that this meeting at this time is a simple coincidence. Soros feels he owns this University a hundred percent and him requesting a meeting from Juncker at this exact time shows it completely.

Guest

“It is absolutely the Soros University, saying otherwise is simply untrue.”

The CEU is not a Soros university. The proof is simple. The CEU doesn’t have a Soros commissar who is there to ensure that everybody toes the Soros line. In the CEU there is academic freedom.

All other Hungarian unversities and even educational institutions of lower rank have a well paid and self-important Orban commissar whose job it is to make life difficult for anybody from the rector to the cleaning lady who is critical of the Orban regime. The Hungarian universities are truly Orban universities. The academic freedom is a mirage.

Member

Doggie’s comment suggest that his mind has been shaped by Orbanism, which means communism. This worldview cannot abide the idea that someone who makes a major donation to a cause they support — in this case, enlightened education — will later want to protect the fruits of their philanthropy from unprincipled attacks.

In the world of Fidesz-MSZMP, there is no such thing as financial generosity without a quid pro quo. That is why Orbanites assume that Soros has nefarious ulterior motives vis-a-vis CEU.

It is a question of upbringing and education. Hopefully, Hungary will turn its back on this kind of thing someday.

wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘Soros University’

With the way Orban picks at it like an open scab it would look to be named not C.E.U. but V.O.U … Viktor Orban University. To be commonly known as … V.ee O.wn U.

Member

Or, “Vee Owe You” a big apology. (Not likely.)

Member

Yes, it’s a bit like CCCP days.

Gabor Toka
Guest

The truth about the pound is that that the British government delayed an overdue devaluation of the currency. If they did not, the British public may have had a net gain of over 2 bn pounds. Because of the mistake made by the government, they lost over 3 bn, about a third of which went to George Soros, the rest to others who joined the speculative bets placed on devaluation forthcoming in spite of the delay. (See some sources e.g. at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Wednesday) Hence your talk of Soros having destroyed the pound (which has remained the legal tender in the UK ever since) is really silly. BTW he was not banned from the UK (as you may keep reading it in even sillier comments) but received a honorary reception by the dons in the most festive hall of Oxford University just a few months after Black Wednesday. And be assured that I did lose money because of the devaluation of the pound at the time (I was a poor incoming student who just had to convert his savings into GBP before the damned thing happened to pay for expenses that occurred afterwards).

Doggo
Guest

“Hence your talk of Soros having destroyed the pound.. is really silly. BTW he was not banned from the UK ”

Gabor Toka you are a dishonest man. I did not write such a thing, I wrote that he wanted to, which is factually true. He caused enormous damage the the UK and more to the citizens of the UK. He is not a positive figure but one who damages and causes financial pain to others on a massive scale.

I never mentioned that “he was banned from the UK”, it is interesting for you to bring this up. Why do you feel the need to point this out? Maybe deep down you know Soros did something wrong in causing massive damage to so many people and want to defend him regardless.

Member

He didn’t do no unlawful.

Gabor Toka
Guest

I can’t see why you think you can call me dishonest but let’s see what is your point about him, maybe that will help. You say you know for a fact what George Soros actually wanted to achieve in 1992 re the pound but somehow could not. Tell us about your evidence and what exactly you meant by “he wanted to destroy the pound” if it was not what I attributed to you.

I am glad you agree that the allegations about banning Soros from the UK are nonsense.

petofi
Guest

@ Doggo

So, “Soros feels…”

Really? You know how Soros ‘feels’?
Is that in a letter from Moscow Central?

Schmoros
Guest

Sauros does not feel – it was a trick question. He is a egotistical megalomaniac. But this whole thing is a game. If Orban really believed that Soros were such a threat then he should have acted on it to save Hungary and the world. Instead, he plays this game. What will he do when Soros finally croaks?

Member

He still has Gyurcsány.

Member

They are ole buddies.

Member
OK, lets add some logic to this discussion: 1. Influential business people meet politicians, look at who Orban meets! 2.CEU is setup in a way that it can only be independent, the aim was this from the beginning. Sure, they are grateful to have the endowment from Soros, who would not be, but to imagine that it is subversive is just being gullible and not questioning the propaganda from Fidesz, add naive to that. Many universities around the world have endowments from wealthy people, do they influence the university, of course not, are they invited to dinners and events , of course, how else do you say thank you. 3. Destroy the pound….. yawn… as a Brit, I have no issue with what happened, it was part of the process of finance and Soros’ investment fund was cleverer than the BOE. Happens all the time, sometimes the funds win, sometimes they lose. As long as they keep paying our pension investments, that’s how it is. Fidesz have just made sure that EU funds pay theirs, but that’s corruption not investing, and there won’t be any left over for average Hungarians,oh, i forgot, they have already stolen the Hungarian pension pot!!!!… Read more »
Guest

Totally agree!
Btw, have you seen my comment on the Charles Gati thread re the CEU in the Times University rankings?
https://www.timeshighereducation.com/news/ceu-president-says-educating-refugees-riled-orban-regime

Ferenc
Guest

Hey Doggy, what about if you quote Iggy:

“I Just Wanna Be OV’s DOG”

Anyway You’re a Stooge Already!!

Talpra mAGYarok!
Guest
Member

Don’t waste Your time, reading stupid literature.
You know, there is a lot of junk in the internet.
Better listen to Eva!

Ferenc
Guest

One of Contra-Magazin’s partners is………… R(ussia) T(oday) Deutsch (no not that fool from fidesz….)

Doggo
Guest

Soros is meeting Juncker tomorrow. Does anyone know if that meeting will be open to the press or be held in secret?

Istvan
Guest

If Juncker’s nerves are to hold up he will need four or five glasses of champagne assuming it is a luncheon meeting or afternoon meeting. Juncker seems not to need his usual dose of liquor in the mornings and performs ok then.

Possibly Juncker can makes some new jokes about Orban being a dictator for the media and stumble about for their amusement. Infringement proceedings are a long dragged out process, here is the EU’s explaination of the process http://ec.europa.eu/atwork/applying-eu-law/docs/annual_report_33/infograph_2015_en.pdf

There are numerous academic articles on the general weakness of the EU infringement process. If Orban really wants to he will be able to force CEU out of Hungary by drawing out the legal aspects of this in the Court of Justice, the legal process is painfully slow from what I have read. All of the speeches won’t mean much for the situation CEU finds itself in if Orban pushes ahead.

Schmoros
Guest

Orban could shut the university very simply: cordon it off and shoot everyone inside. Then raze the building. And for good measure put a parking lot on top. He will never do that. That’s because he and Soros are on the same team with the goal of destroying the EU.

Member

Träskalle.

Schmoros
Guest

yes, yes you are.

Observer
Guest

Long Live Soros!

(who, btw, has given a thousand times more money to Hungarian institutions than all rich Hungarians together, and who supported the democratic opposition in the communist era).

petofi
Guest

A meeting ‘open to the press’? What nonsense, Doggo. Sometimes you ought to question the directives from the Moscow basement brigade…

Member

As I said, they are old friends.

wrfree
Guest

Re: Viktor in the ‘dock’

Wonder how he felt inside getting all that attention. He sure is one ‘democratic’ horse of another color. With him at the helm, it will be Magyarorszag continuing to provide a handy ‘freedom’ through autocracy home. VO will protect the country from disaster due to the interminable crushing presence of the modern world impinging upon it. A veritable Samson defending and holding up the Magyar temple.

He is a man on a mission in the next two years. Can’t see this ‘tigger’ changing his red suspenders and stripes before the election. Too much to lose against the craven internationalists. The Fidesz email is perhaps logical but it just can’t have legs in future policy. It’s almost too kind.
It just doesn’t have that pugilistic beat in a bout.

And if that works to smooth things out later on the ‘fellas just might have a bridge to sell coming up in their portmanteau of slinky political shenanigans. I’d think right now the EU has a tigger by the tail. It’ll be all gung-ho now with feinting a little here a little there. Whats that dance again?

Member

Mr Orban did receive great encouragement and support from Nigel Farage from the xenophobic, far-rught UKIP:

“Now you were bold enough to call a referendum on the migrant quotas and 88 percent of those who voted agreed with you, surely logic says its time you gave the Hungarian people a referendum on whether they stay part of the European Union or not.”

Ah, no. The Orban “logic” is to condemn the very concept of the EU on one hand whilst keeping the begging bowl shaking in the other. No EU funds then the Fidesz Maffia State crumbles. The last thing he wants is a referendum.

wrfree
Guest

Also saw Nigel putting some pop in his speech defending VO. Very fervent in his defense of the latter’s new type of democracy. I don’t know how some those Brit fellows manage to get ‘turned’. From a particular Cambridge fraternity perhaps?

aida
Guest

Do not worry about Farage. He is an English xenophobe. Fascist light like Orban at present but don’t hold your breath

petofi
Guest

@ wrfree
“turned”

Are you suggesting the gay university clubs of the 30’s?

But simply, the well placed packet of cash from Pyuti’s limitless funds does the job. That, and the already advertised ‘Litvinenko solution’.

wrfree
Guest

Yes, Philby and friends for Russia during the War. …oh they were workin’ all the live long day…for the Reds not Cincinnati..

Putin in these days arguably as you say gets that kind of job done. Quite evident. He still gets willing executioners of the ‘democratic’ tradition.

Guest
Guest

The MEPs are worried about CEU, illiberalism, NGOs etc. They are like moths attracted to a topic by all the lights. Meanwhile they virtually ignore the real issue: it’s about the money and the stealing. Every day, day in day out, the stealing goes on. Hungary is run by crooks and thieves and they are milking it. This isn’t just “corrupt” like a place where there are some backhanders. It is a systematic factory-complex-scale kleptocracy. CEU and stuff are smoke and mirrors.

As long as MEPs bleat about the CEU, Orban is delighted.

Here’s another one:

https://444.hu/2017/04/27/a-444-szeretettel-es-tisztelettel-koszonti-magyarorszag-legujabb-milliardosat-balog-adamot

pappp
Guest

No, it is not smoke and mirrors. This is not a show. Anti-liberalism is real and it is the official ideology of Orban. Whether in elementary education or arts or media, it’s there everywhere.

Corruption is a separate issue, today the topic wasn’t corruption. I agree that the EU could do much more against corruption.

Orban wants to drive Hungary away from the West and bind Hungary to Russia.

Orban does want to steal and he is doing it on an unprecedented scale (at least in Hungary) but Orban’s unrelenting, sick insistence on eliminating anything deemed “liberal” is very real and it differentiates Hungary from say southern Italy where corruption is similar. This anti-Western state ideology what makes Hungary similar to Putin’s Russia or Erdgan’s Turkey.

Observer
Guest

Yes.

Orban wants Hungary for himself, an exclusive domain to rob and rape unfettered. See the Enver Hoxha, the Kim’s, Castro examples?
It’s a long way, but this is the same road.

Józsi
Guest

Zsuzsa Ferge has just said that no government in the last three decades has had such a well-thought out social policy as Fidesz.

Which is in line with what others say that is that the leftist governments were really clueless, didn’t know what they wanted. And of course still don’t know.

Unfortunately for Hungarians the fidesznik social policy is suicidal, it is thoroughly anti-modernist, anti-development, anti-poor, anti-education.

Don’t underestimate the anti-liberalism of Fidesz. It is a huge issue and it permeates everything.

Observer
Guest

Jozsi

Any link to this Ferge bit for which I have some doubts?

What’s happening may be called social engineering, but the real q. is – does it benefit the 90% of the Hungarians, who are designated to be servants and serfs paying/working the the orban mafia who practically occupied Hungary.

Pls drop this “clueless” nonsense – before there was democracy and the solutions were co-ordinated and debated and, no surprise, the economic and social results/conditions were much better, as we can see. Shouting orders doesn’t guarantee good results.

Observer
Guest

And

Orban/Mèszaros has become the 5 th richest Hungarian, from 31 st last year. He hoarded another HUF 100 billion in a single year which is an all time record by far even if adjusted for ppp.

Wasn’t Orwell right, even now many still love him in that sect.

Ferenc
Guest

If those Fidesz MP are honestly meaning: “We do make mistakes; we are not perfect; and we are ready to correct them.”
I suggest they demand a STOP of the current National Consultation.
All have to await the outcome of the discussions between the Hungarian government and the EU Commission and Parliament (aka.”Brussels”)!!

bimbi
Guest
Having witnessed live the verbal drubbing given to Viktor Orbán in the European parliament yesterday, I was left shaking my head that any head of government should have been put through such an experience – or that it was necessary to do so, for it was. The gulf between the communal concerns of most of the MEPs who spoke and the target of their sadness, anger and dismay was, and remained enormous. Orbán looked like a cornered dog most of the time but some deemed him “brave” even to have turned up at the parliament, again. The sad fact is that once again this “severe finger wagging” session remains only that. Nothing will change. As Orbán himself says, “What [money from the EU] we receive is not a gift.” No, but he and his friends treat it as such, grossly enriching themselves at the expense of the Hungarian people. Where does “Pénztáros” stand now on the list of richest Hungarians? And then there is Szijjarto and Orbán and their “Eastern Opening” policy. As reported in Budapest Beacon (Bravo!) on 26 April 2017: http://budapestbeacon.com/news-in-brief/szijjarto-history-gives-hungarians-no-reason-feel-threatened-russia/46370 “Hungary’s foreign minister doesn’t consider 45 years of military occupation and the crushing of two revolutions to… Read more »
Guest

“…some might feel to be bordering on that of the traitor….”

The feeling of bordering is long gone.

Observer
Guest

Jean P

Orban and his “government” are in reality public enemy No.1.

wrfree
Guest

Re: Mr. Szijjarto’s comment about ‘no concern’

I’d think youth here is wasted on the young. And to think this resides in a foreign minister who represents a country’s orientation to the world. Either he suffers from a lack of knowledge or he too has gone into some sort of amnesia when it comes to recollecting a difficult past.

In any case memory of previous time still exists in the electorate and of course in those who left the country during those most miserable upheavals.
The country could be looking for trouble with a foreign minister looking at the world like Peter Pan. ‘Never land’ one of these days just could rise up and bite him you know where. The world moves on unbeholden to the wishes of those who seek to corral it.
.

Observer
Guest

Wrfree

Szijjàrto is such a foreign minister as Caligula’s horse wa a Roman senator, if u’d excuse my grand example.

wrfree
Guest

You know he’s a young’un in diplomatic terms. It will be interesting to see whether his focus will stay the same or move on and get revamped from this episode in his ‘consular’ career. It remains to be seen if the corrupt Principiate he is now serving manages to survive in its current form down the line.

Gabor Toka
Guest
Very interesting observations, Eva, they almost make me feel that it may have been worth watching the debate in the EP. I decided that since it is only a PR circus and nothing else (Orban and the MEPs both see it solely as an opportunity to court their domestic audiences back home while they can safely assume that Orban does whatever he wants with CEU, the EU simply can’t or won’t do all that much about it), I should just read the press coverage afterwards as that is all what matters anyway. But your article suggests that (1) Orban’s speech offered a genuine insight into his thinking, and showed that (2) he really identifies himself as a democrat and it hurts him if he is not seen like one. I would be surprised if either of those two were true but I am open-minded about the evidence. The prior belief that makes me skeptical about the evidence that can be provided by anything that he says is that he is a persuasive and highly successful orator because he, I think, can genuinely believe (for the moment) whatever he finds practically useful to say. He surely is a driven man, and… Read more »
aida
Guest

I do not think that your otherwise interesting analysis of Orban serves any useful purpose in the context of the discussions about his politics and those of his party. As an adult and an experienced politician he must be assumed to know right from wrong and that he intends the natural consequences of his actions. Macbeth may have been a troubled man both before and after he murdered Duncan, his king. He knew that it was wrong and also what consequences would follow. He knew and he willed them, but he hoped he would get away with it but at least he would be forgiven. An insight into the mind of a troubled mind may be interesting but we do not want to treat the man, even if he is deranged and or troubled in his soul. We want him either to change his ways or just go, but preferably both.

Gabor Toka
Guest

Sure, I agree and I guess I was just saying that one should probably not try to find out about his ego because he does not really have one. However, I think it would be policy-relevant to find the opposite, which the article suggested in passing, I think.

Member

Gabor Toka: “I was just saying that one should probably not try to find out about his ego because he does not really have one.”

I think Orbán is EGO and nothing else.

Gabor Toka
Guest

Yes, you can put it that way, but then what do you see in that ego? An overambitious football player with a low opinion about women, yes, but what else? I do not think you get far in explaining his politics from the ego as a starting point. That is why I put the point differently (though it is in a way much the same point).

Member

Gabor Toka,
I apologize, I didn’t mean to critisize anything You said. It was just a quick click, when I read something about Orbán and Ego.

What I had in mind:
1. Orbán is EGO-centric, i.e.
– he is the center of the universe
– only his opinion counts
– he is the opinion, he is the hungarian people
– the world spins around him
2. Orbán is EGO-istic
– has no empathy
– does not care about others
– is vicious

To analyse this ill personality more exactly, I’m sure we will have more opportunities here later.

In opposite to the opinion of Verhofstad and Paul Lendvai, who believe, that Orbán once was liberal in 1989, I must say:
Orbán was never liberal. He can´t have been liberal, due to his personality.

Observer
Guest

Gábor T

Sorry, methodology says the psychology/personality of the decision maker/s always counts (from Sun Tsu to Kahneman et al) and must be studied and taken into account.
In a dictatorship (commander, etc) it’s paramount.
Nothing special about Orban either.

Józsi
Guest

I generally agree with your observations. What is important not to forget is that people are not logically consistent as regard their personality, as regards their opinions, views.

For example it is totally normal to be a crazy Putin-supporter, to be someone who is also being blackmailed by Putin and at the very same time being genuinely livid at the suggestion of being a Putin-stooge.

I tell you Orban would be deeply, seriously hurt at the suggestion of him being a corrupt autocrat. But that doesn’t change the fact that he is what he is.

People are inherently contradictory and so is Orban. When analyzing people the logic of liberal academia must be set aside or at least it must be clear that nobody is, and neither can be logically consistent like a mathematical formula.

I am convinced that if Orban was mentally analyzed as part of a criminal law procedure (and I hope we will live to see that) the conclusion would be that he is indeed mentally ill, mentally unstable – although not to a degree as to be unable to see the consequences of his actions. But being insane doesn’t mean inability to operate in society.

aida
Guest

A person may be ill, in particular he may suffer from a disease of the mind, without being “insane”, which simply means a defect of reason or disease of the mind as not to know the nature and quality of his actions of if he does know it does not know that what he is doing is wrong. There are many forms of mental illness that are serious but do not qualify as insanity. In my view approaching Orban’s actions from the point of view of a potential subject of treatment for mental illness is unhelpful and unnecessary. From a clinical point of view he appears to function perfectly well.

Ferenc
Guest

OT – index and Simicska
Long article on !444!: starting with explaining that Orban and Frau Schmidt were hunting for index, to get it in their hands from the ‘former strawman’ Speder. Happily in 2014 Simicska had taken an option on index, lifted that, bought index and then directly put through into the hands of a foundation.
So basically Simicska saved index from becoming a future OV&Fidesz mouthpiece, how far index will be able to stay a real independent medium only future will tell…….
The rest of the article gives a good overview of happenings in the Hungarian media in recent years (basically since the infamous media law package of 2010).
https://tldr.444.hu/2017/04/27/orban-es-schmidt-maria-benyelte-volna-az-indexet-simicskanak-lepnie-kellett
PS: a good translation (beacon/sentinel?) of the article would be nice…

józsi
Guest

OT:

Tyrants learn from each other. Apparently the Polish government concluded that Orban succeeded in pacifying and silencing liberals so it will try the same in Poland.

https://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2017-04-26/soros-backed-ngo-braced-for-polish-crackdown-over-norwegian-aid

Ferenc
Guest

The Polish government copy-pastes a lot from OV’s Hungary:
-media laws
-constitutional court
-system of checks and balances
-pension funds, here’s the proof (source: http://www.theglobaleconomy.com/compare-countries/ )comment image
…….and now coming anti-NGO/Soros laws……

Schmoros
Guest

On what basis does the government of Norway think it should be entitled to influence social policy in Eastern Europe? The Poles would do well to find out who these people are and take them out – in Norway for effect. Some Norwegians might be happy about that. BTW when is he getting out of prison?

Ferenc
Guest

OT – emigration data
In 2016 year 29.400 people left Hungary (10% less than in 2015); in same time 17.000 returned from abroad. Figures based on data from health insurance; population steady going down, last year was 9.8million people.
Article: http://www.atv.hu/belfold/20170427-tavaly-is-tobb-tizezer-magyar-koltozott-kulfoldre
Graph (2010-16): comment image

PS: been interested in good data about emigration, but couldn’t find it before

Observer
Guest

Tnx. All said at a glance.
Btw how do you embed graph as a guest ?

Ferenc
Guest

the graph, I posted, is just an image

Member

Very interesting interview in ‘Die Zeit’ with EPP member Frank Engel (the one, who already told Fidesz to leave EU and EPP):

http://www.zeit.de/politik/2017-04/verfahren-ungarn-eu-frank-engel-interview

Very good infos of what is going on in the EP and EPP concerning Hungary:

For non German understanders:
– there is no more backing and support for Orbán in EPP
– that only one third of Manfred Webers speech was critical, he interprets as a sign against Orbán, because before he has never critiszed Orbán at all
– since Orbán talked about the death penalty the mood got bad in EPP, now the mood is getting critical
– he is fighting in the EP for a two thirds majority to start ARTICEL 7 and is confident to get it by end of May
– the EP is angry, that the comission didn’t start ARTICEL 7, yet
– also he is talking a bit about Orbán and his peacock dance, i.e. double talk, You can talk with Orbán and the he goes home and keeps on fighting the EU

Guest

Thanks, Winston!
just one small correction re that only one third of Manfred Webers speech was critical, he interprets as a sign against Orbán, because before he has never critiszed Orbán at all
The Zeit-article says zwei Drittel des Statements von Manfred Weber waren Kritik, das ist neu.
Two thirds of what Weber said was critical – that’s totally new for this CSU-guy!

pappp
Guest

Good news, but Orban will not give up, he will bargain, fight back, struggle so that the eventual “compromise” would be what he wanted originally.

And then he will sabotage that “compromise” like with the Norwegian funds case. Orban either very quickly revoked the lex-CEU or he will start his anti-CEU efforts the very next day he had his compromise with the EU (in fact domestically the bad cop Lazar will keep up the pressure all along).

Nerves of steel, nerves of steel when dealing with Orban. He is not to be trusted no matter how solemnly he promises to behave this time, this time really.

Guest

Well, I’m not so sure. Let’s take a few examples:

The Sunday closing – had to be revoked after some time becausepeople complained. Now of course Fidesz is trying to hurt the international companies – but in reality they hurt Hungarians when prices rise because of extra costs. The companies can manage that – they are still cheaper than the crappy Hungarian shops like CBAs …

The tobacco shops – yes, eveybody who used to sell ciagrettes was hurt – mostly againthe small Hungarian shops whose owners are not connected to Fidesz and couldn’t get a licence, tough for them …
And of course the Fidesz owners now have a kind of licence to print their own money – so again:
The new Hungarian class society, it’s good for the Fidesz mafiosi, but:
If you have nothing, then you are nothing!
And again, most (?) Hungarians are happy with this – just as they were happy with their lives under Horthy?
Jedes Volk bekommt die Regierung die es verdient …

Observer
Guest

Pappp

In short, the proverbial gypsy horse trader, just drunk with power and with a pocket knife (bicska) now.

áhik
Guest

Orban is defiant as always. He set out to shut CEU down and he is doing it. He just received news that the Germans don’t care so he’s moving ahead. CEU will be liquidated. Who gives a shit about European airheads? Winners don’t.

Guest
No, CEU might move to another country – that’s something completely different! And from there they will have a good laugh at O and the stupid Hungarians who again lose a lot of money (besides all the other negative effects …). Totally OT – or not? We just had the yearly lomtalanitás and before that some changes in garbage collection – and the way people do this shows again that Hungary is at least 50 years behind the civilised world! Ecological aspects and a regard for nature/the environment – totally absent! My wife (as a Hungarian who spent more than half her life under the Communists) got so angry again at her compatriots … The high (or rather low …) point was when she asked a neighbour about his sick dog and he just answered: Megdöglött … No point in going do a vet and asking what’s wrong, it was just an animal, not a companion for more than 10 years, no empathy at all … And he probably threw the body into his garbage can – another neighbour did the same last summer and then bittrerly complained about the smell and the many worms crawling around the can, cost… Read more »
Doggo
Guest

“A pártválasztók között Fidesz 47, MSZP-Jobbik 19-19, DK-LMP 5-5, Momentum 2, Együtt-Liberálisok 1-1 az állás.”

http://444.hu/2017/04/27/fidesz-29-mszp-12-jobbik-12-az-allas

Guest

We have a saying in Germany (B Brecht is maybe the author):
Nur die allerdümmsten Kälber wählen ihren Schlächter selber.
Is that a statement on Hungrians and their intelligence/thinking?

Schmoros
Guest

Have you picked a country to emigrate to yet? Estimated time b/t Alternative taking over Germany to building of new reeducational camps = 1 month.

Observer
Guest

Not there yet – the communists used to win 98%, but Orban will not get there, unless he invites Russian troops for friendly temporary stationing.
Hajra, down the slope! You’re paying for the ride too.

Guest

It’s funny in a way – whenever this blog reports on and discusses something that is bad for the reigning mafia in Hungary, the following happens:

The trolls come out of the woodwork and they really show their fascism and killer “instincts”, like the Hungarian Nazi collaborators of WW2 …
So it’s still a valid observation:
“Der Schoß ist fruchtbar noch aus dem das kroch”!

wrfree
Guest

That’s a good one…😎

Member

Plenty criticising the Hungarian dictator but I havent heard of any EPP MEPs defending the fascist regime during the debate?

The Fidesz MEPs pathetic whinging and begging little email obviously had no effect- the fat dictator is universally hated in Brussels except by his natural colleagues in the neo-nazi far-right parties.

Member
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