The Hungarian government media’s portraits of Macron

Two days ago, when I wrote a post about Emmanuel Macron’s victory in the French presidential election and its reception by the Hungarian government, I had rely on the relatively few analyses that appeared in the government media. They didn’t address most of the reforms Macron proposes but were preoccupied with his ire against the Polish and Hungarian governments and his support for a two-speed Europe, both of which concern Hungary directly. Still, the basic message was (and still is) that with Macron’s victory, everything will remain the same. The decline of Europe will continue. The French voted for the wrong person.

Macron has ambitious plans for revitalizing France, especially in economic terms, and even more ambitious ideas for restructuring the European Union. We don’t know whether any of Macron’s ideas will materialize, but nothing is further from the truth than that Macron is a man who is stuck in the present. Here are a few of Macron’s ideas for the Eurozone, premised on a two-speed Europe, as outlined in the Eurobserver. He would like to see a Eurozone parliament, finance minister, and budget, which we already know Germany’s finance minister, Wolfgang Schäuble, opposes. Jean-Claude Juncker doesn’t seem supportive of Macron’s plans either. He warned that “not all euro member states agree that someone based in Brussels or somewhere else should call the shots on budgets instead of national parliaments.” Macron also wants to have a set of social rights introduced at the European level, setting up standards for job training, health insurance, unemployment benefits, and the minimum wage. At the same time he would like to see closer cooperation on defense, security, and intelligence. In brief, he wants “more Europe” than perhaps even Orbán’s “bureaucrats in Brussels.”

So, when Tamás Ulicza in Magyar Hírlap claims that “Macron’s answers are the same as all the earlier unsuccessful attempts to date except only to a higher degree,” he is misrepresenting Macron’s position. In Ulicza’s view, the European Union is still heading toward the abyss. Macron’s election is only giving the leaders of the EU a false sense of security. Le Pen, Ulicza writes, almost certainly wouldn’t have led France out of the European Union, but “she wouldn’t have swept the existing problems under the carpet.” Macron lacks a political vision for his own country; “he can think only in terms of Europe,” he insists, although even Híradó, the official news that is distributed to all media outlets, fairly accurately reported on his plans for revitalizing the French economy. Macron proposes cuts to state spending, wants to ease the existing labor laws, and wants to introduce social protection for the self-employed.

Magyar Idők offered no substantive analysis of Macron’s economic or political ideas. The editors were satisfied with a partial reprinting of a conversation with György Nógrádi, the “national security expert,” a former informer during the Kádár period about whose outrageous claims I wrote several times. I especially recommend the post titled “The truth caught up with the ‘national security expert,’ György Nógrádi.” But at least Nógrádi did tell the television audience, accurately in this case, that Macron wants to reduce the size of the French government by letting 120,000 civil servants go.

Perhaps the most intriguing article appeared in the solidly pro-government Origo with the title “We are introducing the French Gyurcsány.” According to the unnamed journalist, “the career of the former banker and minister of economy eerily resembles the life and ideology of Ferenc Gyurcsány.” As we know, there is no greater condemnation in Orbán’s Hungary than comparing anyone to the former prime minister. What follows is a description of the two politicians’ careers, starting with both entering the political arena only after successful careers in business in the case of Gyurcsány and banking in the case of Macron. Both, the article continues, are followers of third-road socialism, following in the footsteps of Bill Clinton, Tony Blair, and Gerhard Schröder.

One thing is certain: both believe in an eventual United States of Europe. They believe there should be a European government with a prime minister and a strong parliament and a second chamber made up of the heads of the member states. “Neither of them stands by the idea of strong nation states.” The article claims that both men belittle the culture, history, and heritage of their own countries. Macron, for example, stands against the view that French culture is superior to all others. Mon dieu! And what did Gyurcsány say? In 2007, when Merkel visited Hungary, he told her that the Holy Crown’s place in not in the parliament. Macron has a disparaging opinion of boeuf bourguignon, a favorite of the French. Gyurcsány is guilty because “to this day he would take away the voting rights of Hungarians living in the neighboring countries.” And what was obviously his greatest sin: in a speech delivered in 2013 he said that “we [the democratic opposition] are the real patriotic heirs of St. Stephen.”

It is true that Ferenc Gyurcsány and his party, the Demokratikus Koalíció, are totally committed to the European Union. Only a few days ago DK organized a conference in which Frank Engel (EPP), Ulrike Lunacek (Greens), and Josef Weidenholzer (Socialists and Democrats) participated. DK’s slogan as a counterpoint to the “Stop Brussels!” campaign is “Let’s catch up with Brussels!” Gyurcsány would like to see a new European constitution, dual citizenship, joint border defense, and common social security. The final goal is a United States of Europe.

As far as Macron’s ideas on the economy are concerned, he seems to me a combination of Ferenc Gyurcsány and Lajos Bokros.

Of course, Viktor Orbán also wants to reform the European Union, but what he would like to achieve cannot be called “reform.” He would like to go backwards, taking away the present prerogatives of the European Commission and Parliament and giving more power to the 27 member states. The EU does need reform, but not the kind that Poland and Hungary are proposing. Macron might not succeed in everything he hopes to do, but he is correct in his belief that the solution lies in more, not less integration.

May 10, 2017
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Guest

There seems to be a very simple criterion now between real democrats (whether they be liberal, left ot conservative) and the “illiberals” (or quasi-fascists):
Ones are for progress – not only a United Stats of Europe but also more rights, more equality …
The Illiberals want a return to the “Good old times” aka the Middle Ages, extreme Nationalism, a “Christian” class society where everybody knows his place – and some people like LGBT or refugees or Jews or … have no place at all!
All the advances of the last 50, 70 years, bringing peace to Europe eg are ignored by these “alt right” lunatics.
Maybe the world really is too complicated for some simple minded people that’s why they vote for the “simple” solutions of Trump, Erdogan. LePen.Orbán etc …
Us vs them!
Build a wall!
Keep everybody out that doesn’t “belong” to “our” group!
Horrible and inhuman …

Member

Wolfi
I never thought of an other way than liberal democracy as the “normal” way of western way of life. It can be a tough route for east europeans to proceed.

Pole
Guest

I think that EU country leaders are doing virtually nothing to stop process of de-democratisation of Eastern Europe. Chancellor Merkel is leading the pack with her tactics of softning the European Commision stance. Her attitude give Kaczynski the impression that he can move his populist authoritarian agenda without major backlash for EU. I hope that Macron can persuade her that this is road leading straight to disaster. In two years Poland’s democracy will be dead if all proposed judical, electoral and media laws will be implemented.

Ferenc
Guest

I think that’s not fair to EU country leaders, they are doing all, together and separately, what is possible for them to do. They can put pressure on other leaders trying to go away from EU rules and norms, but they don’t have power for more than that (the individual countries don’t allow them more power). So de-democratisation anywhere in Europe has to be fought against by all opposing that together, leaders and people in other countries and people in the country concerned. That’s the only way!!

One thing leaders of other countries (and the EU) didn’t dare to do yet (probably for fear of interference) is going and organizing things in the concerned country. For example organize conferences about impact of new, by EU accepted, laws: so in Hungary and Poland about the media laws. Invite all media, and with all I mean really all, even ‘mouthpieces’ and those ‘suspended’, for bringing forward the changes, caused by the new law, they experienced. Have serious discussions between media representatives under the guidance of a foreign independent discussion leader.
The outcome of all this can then in the future be used, when judging in the EU other new laws from individual countries.

Ferenc
Guest

Another thing, can you clarify why Kaczynski is seen as the main man in Polish politics?
OK he is since 2003 leader of his PiS party, but was only very shortly prime-minister (2006-07), and for the rest the time formally just an MP. All the others from his party in higher positions (president, prime-minister, ministers) have to be considered as just puppits doing what he wants them to do?

Member

That’s the point. All power is in one hand. Other positions is not considered.

Member

Here is Macron’s European program on his own website.

https://en-marche.fr/emmanuel-macron/le-programme/europe

Where can I find something like “enforcing the democratic principles of the European Union in the member states” ?

old1956
Guest

I have found some info.
http://www.euronews.com/2017/04/28/france-s-macron-wants-sanctions-on-poland-others-for-violating-eu-principles

“The EU Commission has stopped short of imposing sanctions on its own members for non-compliance. It’s a decision Macron said he is against.

“When the rights and values of the European Union are not respected, I want sanctions to be taken,” Macron said.”

Member

Thank you old1956!

Refreshing statements rarely heard in the EU.

As Merkel is always a bit reluctant and tight-lipped, I hope, together with Macron, they will restart the german-french engine, bring the EU forward and teach some lessons to the would-be fascist states Poland and Hungary.

Member

Just right!

Member

Refugee status claimers in Canada, by country of citizenship, first 3 quarters of 2016.

1. Nigeria
2. Hungary <<—
3. China
4. Iraq
5. Pakistan
6. Syria
7. Turkey
8. Colombia
9. Somalia
10. Afghanistan

Wow.

http://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/rngs/CANADA-IMMIGRATION-POLL/010040700FW/index.html

Ferenc
Guest

Incredible!!
Considering the actual situation in the other countries, the only conclusion about Hungary has to be that there is something seriously wrong going on!
Let’s check the others:
-war: Syria – Iraq
-after war: Afghanistan / Somalia
-terror: Iraq – Nigeria – Pakistan – Turkey – Afghanistan
-political coup: Nigeria – Turkey
-dictatorship: China
-drugwar: Colombia
In which category does Hungary fit best? lines are open for voting…….

Member

You can see everywhere, in the streets, in the metro – Hungary wages war against Brussels !

And non-urbane Orban has won the war – Brussels pays a 6 billion euro tribute a year to the Hungarian ruler.

wrfree
Guest

That’s the killer and it’s ‘jellybeans’. VO and other have taken so much from the the EU candy jar that the sugar has made its tastebuds go all haywire and given them a ‘high’ they can’t seem to come down from. Now they are addicted and have become sick on it. Macron seems to be aware two patients are getting ill from the Euro till. Question is how to handle kiddies taking from the jellybean jar.

Member

Who is listening to these?

jopa
Guest

You should get one dictionary and learn about dictators. Neighter the Polish or Hungarian leader fits into that definition.

Ferenc
Guest

???????

Member

There were four elections in Nazi Germany – naturally, Hitler and his party won all of them.

March 1933
November 1933
March 1936
April 1938

Do you claim that Hitler was not a dictator in 1933, 1936 or 1938 ?

Member

He was a liberal democrat. 😠

Member

He was an illiberal Fuehrercrat.

Foreign Affairs, 1939 April issue.

“Will Hitler save Democracy?” [by uniting the democratic countries]

https://www.foreignaffairs.com/articles/germany/1939-04-01/will-hitler-save-democracy

Ferenc
Guest

Thanks!! Great pre-war article!!
The parts about dictatorship and keeping control can be used as a blueprint for Hungary at this moment…

Guest

This of course reminds me of the famous saying by Marx:
History always repaeats itself – the first time as a tragedy, the second time as a farce …

Member

In East Germany, there were nine MULTI-PARTY elections between 1950 and 1986. Do you claim that East Germany was not a dictatorship before 1990 ?

Election; # of parties in the Volkskammer:

1950-10: 12 parties
1954-10: 10
1958-11: 10
1963-10: 9
1967-07: 9
1971-11: 9
1976-10: 9
1981-06: 9
1986-06: 9

Member

Communist countries with [nominally] multiparty system between 1949 and 1989:

East Germany
Poland
Czechoslovakia
Bulgaria

Member

jopa: “You should get one dictionary and learn about dictators. Neighter the Polish or Hungarian leader fits into that definition.”

Maybe not yet. But they learn fast and get better every day…

Member

Hu hu! 😃

Ron
Guest

Ferenc:”In which category does Hungary fit best?

There is no category. Hungary is unique in this case.

Ever heard about forced labor? Hungary is the only EU countries that does have this. The Canadians Hungarian refugees are Roma. They have no future in Hungary.

Ferenc
Guest

“The Canadians Hungarian refugees are Roma”
That’s what I was my first thought, when I saw the data from Canada, but anyway they are Hungarians registered as to be asking for asylum.

Member

They are hungarians for me. If you separate them from other hungarians, than I am roma. If you don’t like jews I am a jew. As it is for toths, swabs, ratzen, sokatzen and all the others.

Member

I was born as hungarian citizen, but I have always felt me as an alien.

Member

“Die Presse”:

“Orbán reduziert seine Anti-EU-Kampagne
Die „Stoppt-Brüssel“-Plakate auf Ungarns Straßen verschwinden.”

Contrary to the Austrian journalist, I do not see fewer “Stop Brussels” signs in the metro or in the streets.

Don Kichote
Guest

Boris und Superminister Balog sind beste Freunde.

Ferenc
Guest

…ask a dictionary from your colleague jopa…

Don Kichote
Guest

… Mehrdeutigkeit finde ich gut.

Ferenc
Guest

On internet the campaign is also still going on (look e.g.ATV and Nepszava).
ANd Fidesz is ‘touring’ the country with their consultation!
‘Fewer signs’ seems bogus-news trying to influence EU in decisions about Hungary.

pappp
Guest

I agree. This is the usual bullshit.

Orban took down a few “Stop Brussels” billboards (most others in the subway, on buses remained) and at the same time Orban turned up the intensity of the Jew as puppetmaster (George Soros) controlling Laszlo Botka of MSZP billboards.

This is the peacock dance and Die Presse fell for it. The Stop Brussels campaign was anyway partly over and Orban sold this as a compromise.

Member

comment image

Ron
Guest

Wow. Tappanch do you also have the absolute amounts? I assume that the investment amount in Hungary is nowhere near the investment amount of Greece, Portugal or Italy.

Member

The following (different) series of data is from OECD, in $ billions

Foreign direct investment (FDI) inward flows, 2016,
excluding [including] Special purpose entities (SPE)

minus FDI outward flows

Slovakia +0.049 -0.375 = -0.326
Poland +11.354 -5.735 [+11.873-6.953 = +4.92]
Portugal +6.029 -1.401 [+6.062-1.582 = +4.48]
Greece +3.125 + 0.638 = +3.763

Hungary -5.314 +8.823 [-23.695 + 27.464 = + 3.769]
Austria -6.011 +1.757 [-32.033 + 33.159 = + 1.126]

US +395.995 -318.268 = +77.727
UK +253.700 +12.607 = + 266.307
China +170.557 -217.203 = -46.646
Netherlands +67.327 – 173.585 = -106.258
Brazil +58.680 +12.434 = +71.114
India +44.464 -5.096 = +39.368
Russia +37.440 -27.044 = +10.396

Total world: 1749.282 -1476.395 = +272.887

http://www.oecd.org/corporate/FDI-in-Figures-April-2017.pdf

Member

World Bank [vs OECD] data for 2015,
Foreign direct investment, net inflows, billions of current $

Slovakia +1.151 [-0.013]
Poland +14.067 [+9.891]
Portugal +0.633 [+1.249]
Greece +1.141 [-0.987]

Hungary -2.624 [+2.663]
Austria +4.047 [-6.907]

Well, each organization must be using a different definition.

http://data.worldbank.org/indicator/BX.KLT.DINV.CD.WD

Member
OK, I just finished my calculations using data of the European Union Statistical Office (Eurostat). Let us define EU37 := EU28 + Turkey + Switzerland + Norway + West Balkans Gross fixed capital formation by AN_F6 asset type in 2016 [few countries in 2015] = 3.392 trillion euros in EU37. Germany 18.5% France 14.3% UK 11.6% Italy 8.4% Turkey 6.7% Spain 6.5% Switzerland 4.3% Netherlands 4.1% Sweden 3.3% Belgium 2.9% Norway 2.4% Austria 2.4% Ireland 2.3% Poland 2.3% Denmark 1.6% Finland 1.3% Czechia 1.3% (42.8 billion euros) Romania 1.1% (38.4) Portugal 0.8% (27.4) Greece 0.6% (20.1) Hungary 0.6% (20.0) Slovakia 0.5% (16.3)
old1956
Guest

Hungarian journalist should stop re-broadcasting fake news and comments imported from the Russian Active Measures labs.

Zsuzsa
Guest
Ron
Guest

It is not about Hungarians (read: Roma) behaving badly, but about the refugee lawyers who did not represent them properly. That is why these lawyers are suspended and one even barred.

Interesting fact, these three lawyers represent 986 refugees in the period 2008 to 2012. Apparently, not with so much words said the below mentioned article, it is about incompetence.

http://www.canadianromanialliance.com/posts-2/2017/4/25/federal-government-urged-to-help-roma-refugee-clients-of-disciplined-lawyers

Zsuzsa
Guest

Ron, you drew the wrong conclusion and may not be aware of the fact that all the lawyers in the article have Hungarian names. Indeed the Hungarians [the lawyers to be precise] behaved badly. They brought their own or their Hungarian parent’s bigotry into the Canadian justice system. With that they not only violated their client’s rights, they abused Canadian values. To me that’s Hungarians behaving badly in Canada.

Guest

Very interesting background info on the Russian hacking of Macron’s campaign – which obviously however either had no effect on the election or maybe even backfired, because people are tired of the alt right working with RT and Sputnik, the Russsian propaganda outlets:
http://www.snopes.com/2017/05/10/french-election-russian-hack/
And what is also relevant fior Hungary:
… aside from attempting to manipulate elections, the Kremlin simply wants to sow distrust in democratic elections and create general social chaos.
The Russians don’t create divisions and mistrust, they exploit those things. We can blame them, but we also need to hold ourselves to account.

Member

The Orban government likes elephants, but only those with small ears and short tusks.

(“olyan, mintha a kormány azt mondaná: nyugodtan tarthat mindenki elefántot, csak nagy füle és hosszú ormánya ne legyen.”)

[CEU vice president Egyedi]

Killing the CEU is like killing [olympic swimming champion] Katinka Hosszu in order to make it easier for the other Hungarian swimmers to win the olympics.

(“Ez olyan, mintha Hosszú Katinkát akarnák kinyírni, hogy így hozzák a többi úszót kedvezőbb versenyhelyzetbe”)

[MTA chairman Lovász]

http://hvg.hu/itthon/20170511_Nem_torte_meg_a_jeget_CEUugyben_az_MTA_elnoke

Member

“Academia under fire in Hungary”

by Albert-László Barabási

Science, 12 May 2017

http://science.sciencemag.org/content/356/6338/563.full

“CEU’s academic independence, modeled on its U.S. peers, has angered the government, which portrays it as a hotbed of liberal thinking.”

“Lex-CEU follows the playbook of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who used similar legislative tactics against the European University in St. Petersburg, and mirrors attacks by members of the U.S. Congress against funding of political science.”

Ferenc
Guest

Wow, that quote from Lovasz, the MTA chairman, is pretty heavy!
He’ll most likely be attacked on it by the [..you know who…] press, even charges against him I can imagine to happen with this bunch of buttheads.

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