Patience is running out in the European People’s Party when it comes to Viktor Orbán

Tomorrow the leadership of the European People’s Party will meet with Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to discuss the increasingly rocky relations between EPP and Fidesz-KDNP. The Hungarian delegation, especially considering the size of the country, is rather large. Although the 216-member EPP could easily remain the dominant political group in the European Parliament without its 12 Fidesz-KDNP members, the EPP leadership is loath to lose them. Lately, however, a growing number of EPP delegates consider the presence of Fidesz in their group an embarrassment.

Although Fidesz claims to be a Christian democratic party, over the years Viktor Orbán’s party has become a full-fledged far-right party which has more to do with Austria’s Freedom Party, France’s National Front, the UK Independence Party, or Alternative for Germany than with, for instance, Angela Merkel’s CDU. It was no coincidence that only far-right party politicians spoke in support of Viktor Orbán’s position at the plenary session of the European Parliament on April 26. Even Manfred Weber, EPP’s leader, was critical of Viktor Orbán’s latest attack against Central European University and the NGOs.

A fair number of EPP members have had enough of the Hungarian prime minister’s peacock dance and the Fidesz members’ arrogance when it comes to differences of opinion within the caucus. It was widely reported in the international press that the Fidesz delegation didn’t exactly handle criticism of the anti-CEU legislation diplomatically when they sent an e-mail to their EPP colleagues accusing them of being “gravely mislead (sic) by the propaganda and private agenda of the American billionaire Soros” and saying they are fighting with a “virtual reality.” The e-mail added that “as in the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, there are the equals and there are some more equals (sic) than others.” It was this e-mail that prompted Frank Engel, an EPP member from Luxembourg, to write: “Forget the crap. We know what is happening and why. Why don’t you leave both the EPP and the EU on your own terms? … So go. Please go.”

Viktor Orbán likes to remind people that foreigners simply cannot understand Hungary and the mentality of its people. They also misunderstand his own intentions. We, the critics of Orbán and his political system, are also apt to assume that naïve westerners can’t comprehend the depth of Orbán’s corruption and duplicity. That assumption isn’t always borne out. For instance, yesterday Frank Engel gave an interview to Die Zeit in which he said that he fully realizes that Orbán’s modus operandi is constantly trying to test how far he can go. One can rely on his creating a scandal of some sort at least twice a year. Engel suspects that this warlike attitude is not just a personal trait; it is the very essence of Orbán’s government, without which it wouldn’t survive. These repeated attacks on the EU will not stop until “his regime collapses,” says Engel. Within EPP Engel is the most outspoken critic of Viktor Orbán and therefore he may be exaggerating EPP’s dissatisfaction with the prime minister, but Engel claims that “with the exception of his own people, he has no more support in EPP.”

Frank Engel, no friend of Viktor Orbán

Engel may not be the voice of EPP, but he is certainly not alone. His colleague from the Netherlands, Lambert van Nistelrooij, who is a great promoter of civic organizations, wrote an opinion piece in euractiv.com a couple of days ago. He called attention to legislation, in addition to the current law on higher education and the NGO bill, adopted by the Hungarian government which is incompatible with EU laws and which affect the very principle of a single market. van Nistelrooij wrote: “Orbán has become the Attila of European integration and values, leaving nothing behind him and his horde but missed opportunities for socioeconomic prosperity.” He pointed out that 66 infringement procedures against Hungary are currently pending. If the European Commission initiates another infringement procedure against Hungary in response to the CEU law, that will be the sixty-seventh. It’s no wonder that Fidesz’s reaction to the threat was a simple one-liner: “parturient montes, nasciture ridiculus mus” (Mountains labored: what’s born? A ridiculous mouse!).

Euobserver.com learned that at an EPP group meeting before the plenary debate regarding the situation in Hungary there was “merciless criticism” of Viktor Orbán’s policies. Apparently, an unprecedented number of MEPs spoke up in a “heated atmosphere.” EPP politicians accused Fidesz members of misleading the EPP group, of being disloyal, of ruining its reputation. Not surprisingly, the Polish Civic Platform deputies were particularly incensed because, after all, Jarosław Kaczyński, head of the right-wing Law and Justice Party (PiS), is busily working to dismantle democracy in Poland, taking his cues largely from Viktor Orbán. Engel, as usual, was blunt. The Fidesz members “have to understand that this circus—where every other month or twice a year at least, the whole EPP does nothing but defend Fidesz—is over. We will not do it anymore.”

Some people argue that if Fidesz is forced to leave the EPP, the Christian Democrats will have even less opportunity to influence the course of events in Hungary than they do now. Moreover, expelling Fidesz from the party “will have zero impact on the situation in Hungary.” They point to the fact that the PiS EP contingent, part of ACRE (Alliance of Conservatives and Reformists in Europe), is outside the mainstream, and therefore EPP is unable to have a dialogue with the current ruling party of Poland. (At the moment British conservatives (20) and Polish PiS delegates (18) are the mainstay of ACRE. When U.K. members finally leave the European Parliament, PiS will have only a few Bulgarians, Finns, and Italians as caucus colleagues. Unless, of course, Fidesz joins its Polish friends in ACRE, an unlikely event.)

Critics are not convinced by this argument. They look upon it as a moral issue. As Engel put it, “I wonder how easy it’s going to be, for instance, for Angela Merkel to run a general election campaign against the AfD when in your own European political party you have something that is very comparable to the AfD.”

The Fidesz members of the EPP are well aware of the delegation’s growing impatience with them and Viktor Orbán. Refraining from their usual arrogance and hectoring, they sent a letter to their colleagues in the EPP caucus in which they promised to “correct” their mistakes. I am appending the letter to this post.

Bruxinfo.hu, a Hungarian-language site dealing with European affairs, was told by Siegfried Mureşan, a Romanian member of EPP and its spokesman, that tomorrow morning the EPP leadership will ask Viktor Orbán to change the law on higher education in accordance with the opinion of EPP’s legal team within 30 days. Apparently, the legal scholars found the Hungarian law to be incompatible with four separate Union and/or international laws. Their findings would mandate fundamental changes in the law. A few cosmetic touch-ups won’t do. The last time Viktor Orbán said anything on the subject he didn’t sound as if he were ready for substantive changes in the legislation. So, we will see what happens tomorrow.

♦ ♦ ♦

Honorable Members,

Please find below a letter from the Members of the Hungarian EPP Delegation.

Dear Colleague,

In recent days we have all experienced an increasing pressure on the European People’s Party on behalf of the European public media, the liberal and left wings of the political spectrum, universities, etc… This is not the first time that this is happening. We also understand, that many of your constituents are also asking you about what is going on in Hungary, or asking you to exercise pressure on your Hungarian colleagues.

We are writing this letter to give you first-hand background information and explanation to help you to answer these inquiries, and to understand the situation without the disturbance of the firm and steady political bias the European mainstream press has exercised constantly against Hungary and our prime minister.

Viktor Orbán, our prime minister, we in Fidesz, in your sister party, and Hungary have been always in the vanguard of political innovation since 1988. Since then, Fidesz was one of the major forces which transformed our country into a European democracy. Maybe the fact that we won two consecutive elections and presently we are way ahead in the opinion polls for the next year’s elections, is due to the fact that several times we tried uncharted waters and found bold new ways, and we were in constant consultation with the people, not only at the general elections in every four years.

In 2007 Hungary has started from a position worse than Greece. She was the first country, under the socialist government then that asked the IMF for help. Since 2010 with Orbán in government our country changed completely. At the moment we have zero inflation, our unemployment rate – including the youth unemployment ranks among the five lowest in the union. Our deficit has been within the limits of Maastricht in the last six years. We have had a steady growth rate between 2 and 4 percent in recent years. We created a work-based economy, with our next goal at close to reach full employment, namely everybody who wants to work will be able to. We also changed our social system considerably: instead of subsidies we provide work opportunities for people. We solved the huge Swiss franc-based mortgage crisis, and the disastrous semiprivate pension fund crisis, all which are now serving examples for other countries. We replaced our 1949 (communist) constitution with the first Hungarian democratic Charta ever. Not to speak about the successful protection of our external Schengen borders, which task some other member states failed?

We also admit that in all these activities and achievements we and particularly Viktor Orbán were under constant attacks for our bold and sometimes unorthodox solutions.

We are not perfect, not every experiment succeeded, but we are also flexible and ready to engage to substantial discussions about the future of our country and our common Europe. This is why PM Viktor Orbán decided to join us tomorrow again in the European Parliament to discuss questions of major importance for us. We always thought that discussions are much better ways of handling conflicts than unilateral declarations or double standard labelling, or spreading rumours without real foundations, or accepting the opposition criticism of our government at face value without further verification. We would also like to confirm that our party, Fidesz and our prime minister are committed Europeans. When we criticize certain measures of the Institutions, we do it for the sake of making it better, to help it to survive the blows. We are far away from the camp of those, nowadays emerging parties in Europe who fight Europe with the aim of destroying it. We are convinced, that the Union should change, considerably to conquer the challenges which lay ahead. And in the spirit of the Rome Declaration, we are keen to participate in the lively debate and in the action to re-launch Europe, as candidate Macron proposes as well from one of the great founding member states of the Union. We have ideas; we have experiences of renewal and innovation to contribute to this historic task.

We would like to remind you also, that in the recent debates around our country our government always played according to the rules. We are members of the club; we accepted not only the benefits but the burdens of membership. This is how we solved and closed the debates of the past on our press-law, on our new constitution, on our legislation on the judiciary with mutual satisfaction and declarations of acceptance with the European Commission. (According to the newest Judicial scoreboard, Hungary ranks among the best in terms of judicial independence.) We changed the adopted rules if it was necessary, we reversed regulations which did not meet the common standards. This attitude of our government has not changed. We fight for what we presume important for ourselves and for the common goals, even if the majority thinks otherwise, but we have always believed that in politics arguments and determination in fair debate can change majorities, minorities can become mainstream, and we are always ready to debate.

Many of you expressed to us, that you have found the tone and the language of our recent national consultation on state fixed utility prices, taxation, stopping migration and on NGO’s too offensive. What is true that in the lively pluralistic national political debate we use a straight political language in Hungary? Our opposition in Hungary does the same. Just read their recent mails directed to you by them in the last few weeks to verify. It is a Hungarian way of politics. Hungarian citizens are among the most pro-Europeans in the EU, largely due to the honest and open debates on key European issues we have carried out through national consultations in recent years.

We, on the other hand, find the Western straightjacketed, dull political language sometimes appalling and meaningless, unable to express the existing differences. Listening to that we understand why is the gap widening between the political class and the people. But we accept that, it is your country, you know it better. But please do not try to make us speak to the public in the bureaucratic, scientific language like bankers or technocrats do, because we will lose our political support. Take it as a style question, if you don’t like it and cut through please to the essence. But please do not compare us to the anti-European parties whose goal is to destroy our common Union, everything which was built in the last 70 years.

The national consultation raises the issues of present political debates; it tries to increase our public backing when we debate these issues in the EU Institutions. We presume that it is a normal way of involving the public to the debates which direction the Union should go. We do not want massive immigration; we want to keep the setting – in the name of subsidiarity – of the utility prices and taxation in national hands. We also want that if NGO’s take part in the political life, they should declare who is financing them, these rules are already applied in other participants: parties, politicians and the press in several countries. It is a matter of transparency. This is the same what we are trying to do here in the European Parliament with the Pieper-report, for instance.

In a previous mail we explained you already the situation around the university of George Soros in Budapest, so we can be short. From the new law on this it is crystal clear that no one wants to close down the CEU. In a calmer moment the rector of the university, the Canadian liberal professor Michael Ignatieff also admitted this, as he had done in the letter addressed recently to its staff and students, in which he states: nothing is threatening our university. The new regulation applies to 28 universities in Hungary and it only requires common standards to be fulfilled, and stop the situation that some non-EU universities enjoy greater business advantages than the European ones. The claim that Orbán closed the CEU is absurd. Even more absurd that this allegedly closed university is accusing the government that it was closed. We have been through of such evident false claims of the past. Some of you still may recall that the Hungarian opposition and the European press shouted in choir, together with Nellie Kroes, that the „only remaining voice of opposition” the Klub Rádió was shut down. In reality the radio never stopped even for a minute broadcasting, it is still on for the benefit of a lively, competitive media life in Hungary.

Dear Friend, much is on the table. Hungary, Fidesz and the EPP is attacked and put under pressure by several directions nowadays. We shared these thoughts and explanations with you by asking to be critical about the accusations. Again, we make mistakes, we are not perfect, but we are also ready to correct them. For that we need sincere and straight further conversations, in which we have been always ready to engage.

Yours sincerely,

András GYÜRK
József SZÁJER
Kinga GÁL
Andrea BOCSKOR
Andor DELI
Tamás DEUTSCH
Norbert ERDŐS
György ÖLVÉNYI
Ádám KÓSA
György SCHÖPFLIN
László TŐKÉS

April 28, 2017
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Doggo
Guest
“they sent an e-mail to their EPP colleagues accusing them of being “gravely mislead (sic) by the propaganda and private agenda of the American billionaire Soros” and saying they are fighting with a “virtual reality.” The e-mail added that “as in the world of George Orwell’s Animal Farm, there are the equals and there are some more equals (sic) than others.” George Soros personally met with Juncker a few days ago in complete secret. Do you think a European business leader gets to have a meeting at the highest levels of Brussels leadership if he wants to? That Juncker has time to meet every European who has some problem that needs discussion? Of course not. On paper everyone is equal, but Soros gets special access and special meetings when his interests require that access. Is Soros not more equal than others? Juncker did not even go to the debate he sent Timmermans so even elected EU Parliament members could not talk with Juncker. But Soros could have a meeting with Juncker with complete secrecy. Juncker greeted Soros with a hug and kisses according to the video recording. Is Soros not more equal than others? Does he not get more access… Read more »
aida
Guest

Your post Doggo is complete bollocks. It is not worthy of any serious response other than to say that you are clearly off your head. My hope is that the other bloggers will not be tempted to spend their time in responding to this crap

Doggo
Guest

“My hope is that the other bloggers”

I only know one blogger here, the one who owns and hosts this blog. The others are just commenters here.

That’s what I tried to do to reflect on the posting above. For example I would be interested to learn the blogger’s view: will the EPP try to expel Fidesz or not?

One interesting factoid I noticed is that in the posting 12 EP members are mentioned as the number that EPP might lose.

In case EPP wants to dislodge the views that are against mass migration for example.

But what if there are others in the EPP faction who think exactly the same way? Out of 200 some members do you suppose there are none of them who hold the same views against migration?

FreeWheeling
Guest
Ah yes, you’ve had many Hell energy drinks today have you Doggo(at)? So many that you’re repeating your posts from the previous day. Tell us how much Soros’ meeting with the drunken Junker has to do with Orban managing his position within the EPP? Please elaborate in detail. Like an ADULT might do. Let me save you from spouting your own blather that you were instructed to spew. I think you are only and your lot are only viewing things from your collective psychological matrix where there’s always strong men who have overwhelming power that leave little old sanctimonious little boys like you helpless just because they do not like you for being “Hungarian”. The real news is that Soros, as benefactor of the university and the NGOs have had almost no impact on stopping Fidesz’s emergence into power within Hungary. Furthermore Soros will have not impact or removing Orban and Fidesz from power. However Orban has been overplaying his hand domestically to overwhelm the Jobbik black and white billboard messages about the obvious and cynical kleptocracy going on nowadays in Orban’s Hungary. If the EPP decides to put European principles ahead of politics you just might fail despite the… Read more »
Doggo
Guest

Did you actually read the original post? The one under which you are commenting? The post above mentions Soros many times. It even quotes a saying from animal farm. “some are more equal than others”

One perfect example in how Soros is more equal than others is exactly this meeting. Soros requests a meeting from Juncker and he gets it almost immediately. Juncker is supposed to represent the interests of Europe and yet he is meeting with Soros instead of German or French or Italian business leaders.

FreeWheeling
Guest

Of course, but you are not answering any questions. You are in your own energy drink haze with your own assumptions tilting at windmills. For example, how do you know that Soros requested the meeting from Junker and “gets it almost immediately”? Please do not post some Russian funded alt-right bull crud, something from an honest source.

Now let’s get down to brass tacks. Why is Orban going after CEU after 20+ years of being established as a real university? What has CEU done specifically that has thwarted any government policy that Fidesz has implemented in the past 7 years? What has Soros done that has stopped Hungary from putting up their double fence or border militias?

You don’t have to answer because Soros and his NGO haven’t done anything effective against this. Your Fidesz-led Soros bashing is just a cynical exercise to get the Hungarian domestic audience to not pay attention to the kleptocracy going on that Jobbik has been notably highlighting in their advertising campaign which, coincidentally, started about the same time as the Lex CEU operation.

Doggo
Guest

“for example, how do you know that Soros requested the meeting from Junker and “gets it almost immediately”? ”

Simple. From press reports. Since Juncker maintains a press office and spokes people sometimes journalists are allowed to ask questions. When the Soros Juncker meeting was first announced journalists asked about that meeting. And the office of Juncker responded that it was Soros who requested the meeting, not Juncker, simple as that. And not long after this announcement the meeting happened.

In other words I know because I had this information in my memory. I hope you consider the office of Juncker an honest source because that’s who said it was Soros’s request to meet.

Did you consider that CEU will not be closed down? Everyone talks about how it is getting closed down even CEU, meanwhile they are open for business.

by the way, do you think the pro-Soros forces are dominant within the EPP? Compared to those who dislike Soros?

Wondercat
Guest

Yes. Soros is more equal than others. Just as Orbán is more equal than others. Money confers access / influence. Position ditto.

But, Doggo, the born-yesterday tone of your post is cause for wonder. I can imagine it, aloud, in the voices of my children, as they wail about some situationally driven decision that a parent has to make (who gets the extra doughnut?), ending in, “It’s not faaaaiiiiiir!”

No. It’s not.

My children don’t care about fairness. They care about which of them will gobble that doughnut. Returning to the EU political scene from the metaphor of my kitchen, then: Of real interest here is how money, position, access, and influence are used.

What are your thoughts on how Soros is using these things? On how Orbán is using them?

With these things, according to reports, Soros built a university. Orbán built a stadium, a border wall, and a toy railroad. Time will tell which of their accomplishments have increased the general happiness of Hungary, of Hungarians, of humankind.

Member

It seems some of us live in a fantasy world where the main task of EU leaders is to give impartial consideration to all viewpoints and grant them equal weight in the decision-making process.

Juncker is a politician, not a nursery-school teacher. His role is to defend EU institutions and the profoundly humanitarian ethos that created them (even if this ethos is sometimes reflected imperfectly). When Juncker sees someone trying to undermine these institutions from within, all for the sake of keeping his daughter in designer dresses and his son-in-law in a fancy car, it is his job to slap them down.

Juncker’s meeting with Soros was obviously a show of support for anti-Orban forces. Perhaps somewhat of a comeuppance for one of the two men who opposed Juncker as Commission president. This conduct is absolutely within the scope of Juncker’s legal and ethical rights, just as Orban’s meeting with Putin was within his rights. Just because we don’t like something does not mean that it’s morally wrong.

Time to grow up, people!

Istvan
Guest

Juncker is an old drunk who helped write laws to create a tax haven in Luxembourg. He has been the grave digger of the EU, yet he retains power. Here is a guy who runs about talking about creating a European Army when the most significant military power in the EU, the U.K., is leaving the Union. Have as much faith in Juncker steering the EU in a good direction as rational people have in Trump guiding the USA to greatness.

Member

Viktor Orban met with EPP President Joseph Daul this morning. Oh, the unfairness of it all!!! Why, oh why doesn’t Daul have this kind of time for global philanthropists? Daul is so biased!

http://www.epp.eu/press-releases/prime-minister-orban-to-comply-with-eu-laws-and-epp-values-following-meeting-with-epp-presidency/#.WQR-Co4hnJk.facebook

Observer
Guest

This Fid letter to the EEP is just another parrot commando BS. Note the constant reference/defense of the Orban presona and the poor English.

Observer
Guest

Hear, hear!

Doggo
Guest

“Yes. Soros is more equal than others.”

If the EU is a democratic institution that should not happen, right? Soros was not elected to any position nobody voted for him, so why should he be “more equal than others” as you say? Why should he get privileged secret meetings with European high officials like Juncker? If Soros wants power he should stand for elections, is that not the way in a Democracy like the EU? Soros should run for Commissioner or a job in the United States if he wants real power. Voters might get tired after a time of a system that allows countries to be run in a way where election results do not effect them.

Because no matter who you vote for in your election you plainly state that “Soros is more equal than others” and he should have special rights and be able to decide things that influence the lives of others.

Guest

Doggy, please tell us where, when by whom and how the Fidesz mafiosi like Mészaros, Vajna, Habony, O’s son in law (Forgot the name), just to name a few – were elected.

You really don’t know much about the workings of a democratic society, do you?

Roderick Beck
Guest

Baloney. It was reported widely by the press that the two would meet. And I don’t see anything wrong besides.

David North
Guest

In case it has escaped your notice, the CEU is Soros’ baby and the EU is extremely concerned about the Orban government’s vendetta against the university. What could be more natural than that Juncker should want to get Soros’ take on the issue.
While I am on the subject, may I thank Spectrum for making available the text of the Fidesz caucus’ letter to the EPP. It is startling in its hypocrisy and the way it bends the truth in toeing the party line. Just one example: it’s statement that Klub Radio is still on the air. It is, but it has faced unrelenting pressure from Fidesz since the party won back power: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klubr%C3%A1di%C3%B3.

Doggo
Guest

If there was a “vendetta” against the CEU, then the CEU would be closed down right now. It is open for business it is even seeking new students right now, there is not a single shred of evidence of the CEU being closed down and shutting their doors or being disestablished. If the CEU closes their doors never to reopen again then I will believe there was a “vendetta” and not a minute before.

Guest

Are you the spokesman now for telling us that O is backpedaling?
Interesting …

Minusio
Guest
It is surprising to see what muck-raking a simple search in Google can produce. Just enter “Soros Juncker”. It makes for ugly, ill-informed “illiberal” reading for the most part. Perhaps this is what “Doggo” did. However, there is more to the EPP and EU “patience” than meets the eye. The chairman of the EPP caucus is Manfred Weber, a MEP from Bavaria, member of the CSU, the “sister” party of Merkel’s CDU. The CSU chairman and Bavarian prime minister is Horst Seehofer. He is the only German politician who received Orbán several times. Why would he do that? Because he tries to unsuccessfully rival Angela Merkel. A case of a tail trying to wag the dog. And Seehofer tends to largely agree with Orbán on emigration, although migration is no menace to Bavaria. I don’t know what interest Merkel herself had to keep Fidesz from being jettisoned. But one should keep in mind that nothing much happens in Brussels without her nod (banking regulations, emission controls, etc.). Small wonder that the Commission became discouraged and increasingly frustrated. There is a chance that the EPP sends Orbán packing if he doesn’t change the Lex CEU. But given his Brinkmanship he may… Read more »
Doggo
Guest
I wish to learn more about the Soros Juncker meeting. I do not understand why Juncker felt compelled that he had to take this meeting on such short notice after Soros requested it. Maybe one day this blog will deem it important enough to cover this meeting between Soros and Juncker. I feel it’s historical importance is not well understood at this point in the main stream media. “And Seehofer tends to largely agree with Orbán on emigration, although migration is no menace to Bavaria. ” Minusio, some migration is no menace to Bavaria, but limitless migration would be different, would you agree to that? Currently there are 50-60 million migrants or refugees in the world who are on the move. How many of them would like to come to Bavaria if given the chance? Is Bavaria not better than a camp in Turkey or Bangladesh? Remember that even under Obama the United States did not give any options for unlimited unrestricted limitless migration. Obama deported more illegal immigrants than any other president in US history. That could not have been an accident. Legal migration using established legal channels can be a great boon, but unlimited illegal migration can raise… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

“I wish to learn more about the Soros Juncker meeting”.
Next time request an invitation for yourself, and if you’re lucky they might have some yummi yammi (dog)food for you, and afterwards you might produce more of your usual (dog)shit.

Wondercat
Guest

If this

parturient montes, nasciture ridiculus mus

was Fidesz’ text, you missed a chance for another “(sic)”; no terminal -e in “nascitur”.

Member

[parturient montes, nasciture ridiculus mus means “The mountains have delivered: They have given brith to a ridiculous mouse.” (Because of the switched senses, in English, of parire (bring forth, deliver) and nasci (be born). “Labored” as in “went into labor and delivered” does not “work” here…]

Ceterum censeo, Dogginem esse delendum. Otherwise HS is allowing itself to be co-opted as a megaphone for the demagogic double-talk and drivel of the above opus by Gyürk et al.

Orban already owns the Hungarian media: is he to be allowed to dictate the discourse in HS too, in the name of freedom of expression? If so then we may as well skip the thoughtful and substantive lead articles by Professor Balogh and go straight to the putinized distractor prattle that follows to scramble it.

Member

Deleting people with whom we don’t agree – or, as the case may be, don’t like – is Orban’s method. Unless a poster threatens or incites hatred against others, I say keep the posts.

Guest

Yes, please – because they are kind of funny and also illustrate the modus operandi of the Fidesz mafiosi and their sympathizers.
Take one “fact” which has nothing to do with what’s going on and use it ad nauseam to divert from the real happenings and problems …
It’s typical that you won’t get an answer or even a comment from creatures like doggy (btw “creature”was the first word in its first comment here so it’s really appropriate to use it on him …) on the activities of the Fidesz mafia, things like the tobacco shops or the sudden riches of Vajna, O’s son in law, Mészáros or …

I’ve said it before and I’m repeating it:
Hungary was 50 years behind the democratic West and now it’s falling more behind – back to the class society of Horthy or even the old Empire of the 19th Century, a really sad sight!
And that implies all the old ideas like misogynia, xenophobia, homophobia, antisemitism …

Member

I agree with Stevan Harnad.

I do not read this spam, but it irritates and the more space it occupies in the comments section, the greater the nuisance to read it.

One or two more of these trolls and it gets unreadable/unusable.
At least there should be a limit, that they can’t take it over here.

And it is not necessarily “Deleting people, with whom we don’ t agree”.
A few comments might remain, but in the end it is the quantity, that could get too high.

But I trust Eva having a good instinct about these ‘deleting decisions’.

Besides building stadiums, stealing, financing hate campaigns and so on, the paying of trolls is another abuse of my taxes, that I pay as resident of Hungary and citizen of the EU.

wrfree
Guest

Dogs, ‘Doggo’, mouse , we can fill in the allusions to animal farm as we like it .😎

But it sure seems evident:
‘Nature teaches beasts to know their friends’
The Bard… Coriolanus…

Ivan
Guest

Pedanticus says: “Parturient montes, nascetur ridiculus mus”. Future tense. Otherwise line doesn’t scan.

Member

Chatter and Matter

[You’re right, of course, Ivan, but it was late at night and I was not checking the quote but vetting the gloss.]

About dumping T297 Doggo: after the first few posts, when this latest agent putinateur started his strolling I voted for leaving it in; but it quickly became clear that it was just the same old scratchy record, flipped on over and over to distract and dilute. I’m afraid I don’t buy the “freedom of speech” rationale for giving him/them access to the mike. Not in the slightest.

Perhaps for some of our regulars the chance to chatter matters more than the matter. Maybe they’re right. But I keep thinking of the Balogh Blog as more serious and potentially far more important than that — and not just Éva’s lead articles…

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Member
I would argue that it is not desirable for the comments section on HS to become a place where people who agree on ultimate goals debate about which tactics we should use to achieve those goals. Hungarian democrats are up against a formidable enemy whose sole goal is self-gratification and whose sole ethos is duplicity. If Fidesz’s policies were rooted some kind of identifiable ideology, we could argue with Fidesz supporters based upon the merits of their arguments, e.g. graduated income tax vs. flat income tax, loyalty to the EU vs. loyalty to Putin. But Fidesz is like an amoeba – you can never tell what shape it is going to take. In the absence of theory and coherent policy, all they have is “attack.” Orbanites’ usual debating method is to identify some technical error in their interlocutors’ argument (it doesn’t have to be related to the topic at hand) and to use that error to try to discredit the argument. When they get boxed into an intellectual corner, they shrug and say, “Well, we have the power, you don’t. Deal with it.” Like it or not (and trust me, I don’t) the RELATIVE MAJORITY of Hungarian voters swallow up… Read more »
petofi
Guest

Troll solution…

Perhaps the right idea might be not to erase entirely but to give only the first two or three sentences of a commenter like Doggo, followed
by three dots to allow a reader to access the remainder if he wishes. In this way, the blog
is not dominated by huge blocks of distracting nonsense.

wrfree
Guest

Re: “Well, we have the power, you don’t. Deal with it’

Pretty evident. The fact that not one enters (to my knowledge) in the spirit of debate here is a tell-tale sign of the above. Too bad HS cannot get a few minutes of air time each and every day in media. There certainly is some critical intelligence here on the state of the country. It’s almost as if Fidesz is a scaredy cat around here.

bimbi
Guest

Dear András GYÜRK, József SZÁJER, Kinga GÁL, Andrea BOCSKOR, Andor DELI, Tamás DEUTSCH, Norbert ERDŐS, György ÖLVÉNYI, Ádám KÓSA, György SCHÖPFLIN and László TŐKÉS,

I have to tell you that each and every one of you is a bare-faced liar and hypocrite as well as a Fidesz robot ready to reproduce unquestioningly the lies, propaganda and nonsense of your master Viktor Orbán. You are the willing supporters of a regime that has opened Hungary and the EU to penetration by Russian agents and which has robbed the Hungarian people of millions of Euros through industrial-scale government corruption.

Shame on each and every one of you. Where is your dignity?

PS. If you wish to write a letter to your EU MEP colleagues, please first get the help of a person competent in the English language.

Sincerely, very.

Observer
Guest

Hear, hear!

The regime has eliminated all but a couple of media outlets.
They are still trying their best, e.g. with Klub Radio, stopping short of outright banning it or denying a frequency) – hence my “fascism light” assessment.
The few remaining outlets should be used predominantly, may I say exclusively for critical material to provide some, if grossly underweight, counterbalance.
Trolls should be ignored, starved of attention, unless used as prompt for appropriate responses.

bimbi
Guest

There is a film entitled “1945” making the rounds in Budapest now which, whether consciously or unconsciously, provides a perfect allegory of today’s Hungarian government.

The film portrays the increasing anxiety, alarm and panic in a small Hungarian village after WW2 when word spreads that “they” are coming back. The dumpy and palinka-drinking Town Clerk sees that “they” are going to demand the return of property, that “they” will disturb his control and dominance in the village and people must be unified against “them”. He demands of local officials that “they” be scrutinized and reported on at every move… …”they” are the Jews.

I give nothing away but maybe the director has things just perfectly right as the film moves towards its last scenes.

A terrific film. Hungarian work. Go and see it!

wrfree
Guest

Thanks for that. I’ll have to check the film out.

As for other films I recollected another film I saw here many years ago. Called ‘Time Stands Still’….’Megall az ido’. Won many awards. Life for two brothers after the ‘results’ of ’56 up to the 60’s.

Brings in the US rock’n’roll craze to show its reverberation of ‘freedom’ in contrast to a school’s riding in line with the Soviet invasion. A brother’s response to a principal extolling the ‘new’ way: playing ‘Let’s Twist Again’ over the school’s PA system.

One would think we’re back again to the future in Magyarirszag. Only difference is it’s just dressed up a bit. Can’t help with the goings on that indeed in a sense ‘time does stand still’ in the country today. Leaders think they’ve moved on but really they’re back in the wood shed once again contrary to almost extraordinary protestations.

Ferenc
Guest
My suggestion: write to the EPP representatives of your country (and copy in representatives of other parties of your choice). In that writing you can refer to/give comments on the letter from Fidesz MEPs to their EPP collegues. I did so the day before yesterday, herewith some of my points: letter: “the national consultation …tries to increase our public backing when we debate these issues in the EU Institutions” my comment: so public backing is more important that providing correct information! “the rector of the university …admitted this, …in the letter addressed recently to its staff and students, in which he states: ‘nothing is threatening our university'” My comment: this a typically FALSE argument [question: did you yourself speak with the rector, or hear/read such a statement from him? (seems opposite is closer to the truth)] letter: “the claim that Orbán closed the CEU is absurd” my comment: TRUE, the CEU is not closed (YET!) in Budapest letter: “we also want that if NGO’s take part in the political life, they should declare who is financing them, …it is a matter of transparency” my comment 1: attacked NGOs provide already full transparency, labeling them as “foreign financed” does not add… Read more »
Ferenc
Guest

OT (or valid for all topics?)
Egy Mese HVG-ben – A Fairytale in HVG
“A következő bolygón egy iszákos lakott. Ez a látogatás nagyon rövid ideig tartott, de nagyon elszomorította a kis herceget.”
“On another planet was living a drunkard. This visit was very short, but it really saddened the little prince.”
http://hvg.hu/velemeny/20170425_Hont_kis_herceg_NER_nepszabadsag_iszakos

Looking forward for a good translation!! Doggy something for you??

Ferenc
Guest

It’s good, it’s funny, it’s sad, it has everything!!

Member

“Patience is running out in the European People’s Party ”

It has NOT run out – EPP did not expel Orban & Fidesz at its meeting today.

I guess the majority of EPP policy makers secretly admire Orban’s experiment transforming a democracy into a kleptocratic fascist state without bloodshed.

Member

“European People’s Party President Joseph Daul said Hungary “will act accordingly” and “take all necessary steps” to comply with the European Commission’s request that Hungary stick to its commitment to academic freedom and respect the rule of law. ”
” Prime Minister Orbán has reassured the EPP that Hungary will act accordingly.”

http://www.politico.eu/article/eu-summit-live-blog/?utm_content=buffer4ce24&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=buffer

Member

The future:
Access to Wikipedia, in every language, was blocked by the Turkish Media Authority today from 8 AM local time.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/wikipedia-blocked-across-turkey.aspx?PageID=238&NID=112556&NewsCatID=341

Ferenc
Guest

“Saturday’s meeting became tense “when Orbán clearly said he will never accept Muslim migrants” in his country…”
Source: http://www.politico.eu/article/orban-appears-to-cave-in-at-epp-presidency-meeting/

I can not imagine that any party in the EPP can ever accept this! I my opinion this should also be clearly in conflict with ‘his own’ fundamental law!

Ferenc
Guest

source: “Translation of the consolidated version of the Fundamental Law as on 1 October 2013”
FREEDOM AND RESPONSIBILITY
Article XV
(1) Everyone shall be equal before the law. Every human being shall have legal capacity.
(2) Hungary shall guarantee the fundamental rights to everyone without discrimination and in particular without discrimination on grounds of race, colour, sex, disability, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or any other status.

Member

Probably not: more like indulging their latent inner Republican: defending the deplorable rather than risking their priorities…

petofi
Guest

@ Tappanch

“I guess the …EPP policy makers..admire…”

No they don’t. But in politics, the game is about Power and you never wish to ‘harakiri’ by reducing your forces.

Similarly, there’s a growing problem for Republicans in the US.
The bozo President is now making noises about the pleasures of his previous life. This must be worrisome to the Repubs power structure because the bewildered Trump may just throw up his hands and recuse himself from service. Who knows what would follow? Would Trump call back Obama to co-lead the country? Would another election be called? All pure disaster because Pence couldn’t beat a rug let alone any democratic candidate (except Hillary, maybe). So the Repubs
are facing the growing fear that 4 years of control maybe challenged at the whim of a disturbed and tiring individual…

(I think that the only thing keeping Trump in power is that the first year as President is probably worth 20-30 billion dollars in accruing wealth to him.)

Doggo
Guest

“This must be worrisome to the Repubs power structure because the bewildered Trump may just throw up his hands and recuse himself from service. Who knows what would follow? Would Trump call back Obama to co-lead the country?”

This seems really ignorant. If Trump resigns Mike Pence becomes the next president because he is the vice-president.

pappp
Guest

Orban did only say he will consider the arguments. In Hungarian this is less than nesze semmi, fogd meg jól.

Basically Orban will do nothing, he won’t revoke anything. He might amend the laws for show, but he will continue to torment CEU because he wants to kill CEU off once and for all.

Orban is enjoying the game and is saying: bring it on.

There is an old saying few non-lawyers know. Threatening a lawyer with litigation is like threatening a prostitute with a penis. That’s how much Orban cares about the Commission’s arguments.

No. Unless Orban totally clearly revokes lex-CEU this war is another victory for him.

petofi
Guest

The usual troll-like nonsense from you, pappp.

Orban fears nothing because Pyutin backs him, period.

pappp
Guest

petofi, it doesn’t matter why he doesn’t compromise, he just doesn’t. I agree that Putin is a huge backer, no question.

But the point is that’s good enough for the EU/EPP which are constantly having other new problems on their hands and want this one to go away.

Orban can afford to wait and is anyway loves these games.

edd
Guest

I don’t agree with this. Orbán fears nothing from the EU, because it protects Hungary, and it has failed to this date enact any sanctions against the regime that likes to steal EU and taxpayers’ money, but has a lot to fear from Putin, with whom he tried to do his ‘unorthodox’ politics, who doesn’t shy away from action against other states, like the hackings and fake-news campaigns the west is talking about these days, and also more direct threats, like the gas prices. Not to mention the other far right party(es) that the russian services have links with.

As long as there are no concrete sanctions from the EU, Orbán is happy playing his games, even in the face of big protests, because, as the earlier post says, he counts on these to go away without repercussions that could threaten his rule.

pappp
Guest

Exactly. Putin is powerful, the EU is weak and clueless. The EU probably doesn’t have a raison d’etre any more. It’s a glorified free trade zone made up of weak and conflict-avoiding members. Putin loves this because even the normally pro-EU constituency will start asking why do we need the EU at all if it’s so irrelevant? Do we need tens of thousands of bureaucrats in order to trade toilet paper duty free?

Guest

Now you’re talking nonsense, pappp!
Without the free trade and traveling international businesses wouldn’t work. The companies like Mercedes etc rely on there being no borders for their integrated production. All the factories in Hungary would be inefficient or even useless if borders were reintroduced.
I still remember those times 40 years ago, traveling around Europe was really difficult and time consuming.
And if the idea of a United States of Europe were buried – you’d see a quick rise of Xenophobia etc again everywhere (you have it already in large parts of Hungarians btw …).

wrfree
Guest

Re: letter to EPP .’ready to ‘correct’ and ‘engage’

I’d like to suggest an illogical premise. How do avowed Fideszians ‘correct’ their ideas which in fact disengage them from ascribing to European democratic values? They have shown themselves not to be constructive in developing those values but rather ‘in the way’ with their petulance tied up with their sense of being ‘put upon’ by those who apparently do not understand them. Not a good combination by any means to move dialogue forward.

wrfree
Guest

Trump recently just got a ‘report card’ for his 100 days.
If Mr. Engel et al had a report card on Orban as Euro student:

Obeys promptly: D …could be D minus after the CEU bizness

Careful of property: A if for Fidesz ‘ownership’ .. D all other

The big three where the orientation is toward managing relationships among individuals and community:

Listens attentively
Speaks clearly
Respect rights of others

D … to the third power

Following is taken from my report card from my Catholic grammar school. Ironic that the school was conceived in the spirit of St Istvan’s Magyarorszag. Something certainly in it for the adventure the country is on today. I think truly some have been playing ‘hooky’.

‘To the parent:

You have begun the formation of your child’s character. The school will help you to continue to teach good habits. Little will be achieved , however, unless you cooperate in every way that these habits be practiced outside the school , as well as within school. A good, strong character is of far more value to God and country than a brilliant, weak one’

Observer
Guest

Congratulations to the EPP for finally doing something about the orban regime.

But I have to agree with some of pappp’s points
“Prime Minister Orban has reassured the EPP that Hungary will act accordingly.” let alone the title in HFPress “Orban agrees to amend …”
Pls don’t make me bitterly laugh.

When did Orban amend his ways, but with a bit of a”peacock dance” and some cosmetics? I bet any and all that it will be the same this time
– CEU will stay (I don’t believe the plan was to close it anyway) in Budapest, but under mild harassment and pressure;
– the NGO’s will be dealt with harsher, some may be forced to close shop.

That is, unless some pecuniary threats are envisaged by the EU.

Let me suggest some tangible measures like making him:
– launch a just as heavy a positive campaign with regard to the EU, or
– endowing the CEU and the NGOs with funds and publicly recognizing their activities, including awarding a high government medals.

Zsuzsa
Guest

I have been following Orbán’s career with the EU [the Hungarian word “pályafutás” would have been more eloquent] and I was one of those who was thoroughly dismayed this morning at how the EU handled his antics. I expected him to be humbled, because the smear campaign this little despot carried out against the EU in his own country certainly warranted some form of chastisement. Instead he goes home claiming victory and it’s business as usual despite what was put together here earlier: http://europa.eu/rapid/attachment/MEX-17-1116/en/Commission%20answers%20Stop%20Brussels%20Consultation_EN.pdf

Even Canada took notice. So WHY? Why is the EU so ineffectual with him? Do they have bigger fish to fry, bigger and more pressing problems to deal than the little man from Hungary? Or is it that we are observing the escalation of hostilities and the radicalization [and yes the Fashization] of the European continent? I would very much like to hear Éva’s opinion on this. Thank you.

petofi
Guest

@ Zsuzsa

Lying

Unfortunately, what the KGB boys have taught the world is the efficaciousness of LYING.

Zsuzsa
Guest

petofi,

Of course he is lying. All politicians lie. All right, he lies more than most, except maybe Trump. It’s not so much about Orban as it is about the EU tolerating him. But why? That is my question.

Observer
Guest

Hours after the EEP meeting communique re Orban promissed ..
here is the statement he made at home in this regard: http://hungarianfreepress.com/2017/04/29/european-peoples-party-chaos-viktor-orban-claims-he-made-no-promise-on-ceu-law/#comment-357156
Add the “crispy fresh new stop-Brussels ad launched in the government media”:
https://444.hu/2017/04/29/itt-a-friss-ropogos-vadiuj-allami-gyuloletreklam

The proverbial GYPSY HORSE TRADER would be put to shame by this lowly schemer. And the poor honest Europeans expect some decency from this half-Asian derivative.

Hajra Orbanistan!

Guest

Reading the latest articles in the SPIEGEL one gets the feeling that the EPP is getting more and more frustrated about O’s stubbornness – but they don’t know what to do, they don’t want to throw Fidesz out …
But some of them already said there might be less money in the future for Hungary – is that enough?
Here’s the first one from around noon -O promises to let CEU continue?
http://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/uni/ungarns-hochschulgesetz-viktor-orban-will-auflagen-der-eu-kommission-erfuellen-a-1145448.html

And another one from this afternoon – no more money if you don’t behave!
http://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/uni/viktor-orban-lenkt-ein-im-streit-um-die-central-european-university-a-1145465.html

SPIEGEL itself is pessimistic and shows the two-face-Orbán with clear words:
Unterdessen geht in Ungarn Orbáns als Volksbefragung getarnte Propaganda-Kampagne “Stoppt Brüssel” unvermindert weiter.
Losely translated:
The continuing national consultation is nothing but anti EU propaganda!

pappp
Guest

Nobody can take away money from a member state, we know that.

Orban can do whatever the f*** he wants and he’s doing it. With the new state propaganda commercials about Brussels-Soros- ‘zombie’ migrants I think even the editors of Völkischer Beobachter and der Stürmer would be satisfied.

It’s the nuclear option which doesn’t exist. The EU must pretend it does but Orban is calling their bluff. It’s legally and politically way too cumbersome to be an effective deterrent. It’s meaningless and people like Orban, Kaczynsky etc. know it well. Everybody knows it.

If there’s one iron rule is that money will keep flowing no matter what. It cannot not flow. The entire EU is based on one premise that is that member states open their markets, and in return the poorer, less competitive ones get something back in the form of EU subsidies. This is the deal. The EU cannot renege on its part of the deal and everybody knows it won’t.

Observer
Guest

pappp

Wrong. Investigation in corruption and misuse have stopped funding for years. Proven such have resulted claim-backs.
The exit of the U.K. and the Hungarian corruption, together with other such, necessitate revisions and things will change, there is simply less money and less political will.

pappp
Guest

It looks to me Orban is defiant and fooled the EU and the EPP again.

The EPP people probably didn’t even understand what happened to them. They are not lawyers, they are totally clueless.

Orban is – of course – upping the ante with a new series of anti-Soros and anti-EU campaign.

Again the champagne bottles will be open tonight.

http://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20170429_Sikerult_osszezavarnia_Orbannak_az_EUt

pappp
Guest

This is the new TV spot (it’s not a commercial it’s called ‘social purpose advertising’) about Brussels, ‘the Jew’ (Soros), migrants overrunning our beautiful country etc.

This is new, it’s running since after Orban was supposedly criticised on Wednesday by the EPP.

http://zeroz3ro.tumblr.com/post/160120091442/annyira-meg%C3%A9rintette-a-fideszt-a-szerdai-ep-ben

Observer
Guest

Now this is the not so clever pappp with Nazi flavor.

Observer
Guest

See my comment on the

GYPSY HORSE TRADER

webber
Guest
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