“Orbán or Europe? Choose!”

Today will be all about speeches. After a very hot summer, politics has arrived in full force. After all, it is the beginning of the 2018 election campaign. Of course, according to the electoral law, the official campaign season is very short, the last two or three months before the actual day of the election, but no one is pretending anymore. People are openly talking about the beginning of the campaign season. In fact, Fidesz has learned a lot from the United States where one campaign ends and the next begins. On the day of his inauguration President Trump filed the paperwork to be an official candidate for reelection.

Before the “unofficial” opening of the campaign season, Viktor Orbán had the unpleasant task of visiting Pécs to attend the 650th anniversary of the founding of Hungary’s first and only medieval university. The Fidesz-led city’s financial collapse and the removal of the city’s mayor from his position of authority must have been an irritant. Moreover, the enthusiasm for his visit was more than muted. About 50 elderly admirers showed up to greet him, while a bunch of university students displayed banners indicating that he was not welcome in town. Orbán entered the Kodály Center via a back entrance, to find very few young faces in the audience.

It seems that Orbán is unable to tear himself away from the topic of a decaying Europe. In this speech he went so far as to envisage its disappearance. In that case, “the students of today will live in an as yet unknown world.” But they shouldn’t worry because there will always be courageous young people in Hungary who will go against these trends and will choose the family, the community, and the nation as opposed to multiculturalism and mass culture. Predictably, the university’s King Louis the Great Prize was given to the Pécs bishopric for its role in the foundation of the university in 1367.

Today Orbán had another occasion to deliver a speech, this time at the so-called Kötcse Picnic, which is a Fidesz tradition. For the last 16 years, the party has invited hundreds of public figures, writers, actors, artists, etc., who in one way or another support the party. This group of people is called in Hungarian the “moonbow” (holdudvar) of the party. László Botka tried to gather the ever decreasing members of MSZP’s moonbow the other day in Szeged, but, as I reported earlier, few accepted. The right-wing literary and artistic elite has never been as large or as internationally well known as its liberal counterpart, and year after year the same faces appear at the picnic. Mária Schmidt, for example, is always there.

The main attraction at the picnic is Viktor Orbán’s speech. This speech is not covered by the press, and it is not published on the prime minister’s website. This is how it happened that it was only months later that the Hungarian media recognized the importance of his 2009 Kötcse speech, which outlined Orbán’s brilliant political strategy of the “central power.” In that speech he set forth his intention to rule the country in an autocratic manner.

It is unlikely that Orbán delivered anything of such gravity this year. In fact, if I understand it correctly, Orbán’s speech was on the defensive side in the sense that he is portraying the next election as a defense of the results of the last seven years. What are the most important results? According to Bertalan Havasi, the prime minister’s press secretary, they are the building of the fence on the Serbian-Hungarian border which defended the country from migrants, the protection of jobs, and the maintenance of public safety. Apparently, Orbán stressed that, according to NATO’s calculation, 60 million migrants will start their journeys to Europe from Africa between now and 2020. He apparently also spent a great deal of time on Emmanuel Macron’s Le Point interview. From the short description of the press secretary it is hard to know exactly what was in the interview that Orbán agrees with, but apparently he appreciates the French president’s “realism” in foreign affairs and “his description of the signs of a serious crisis in Europe.” The press secretary didn’t say what Orbán found objectionable in the interview.

The Fidesz picnic is held in the courtyard of a somewhat neglected country estate situated at the end of a modest football field. Ironically, at the other end of the field Ferenc Gyurcsány and his family have their country retreat, but only his wife and smallest child watched the game, which was being played while the picnic was going on. Ferenc Gyurcsány himself was not at home. He was giving a speech in Budapest in front of the Western Station. The gathering kicked off the Demokratikus Koalíció’s election campaign.

Zsolt Gréczy, the party’s spokesman, announced on August 13 that their campaign slogan will be “Orbán or Europe? Choose!” Shortly afterward, the party began a telephone campaign, asking people to indicate their preference: Orbán or Europe.

At the time of the diplomatic ruckus between Hungary and the Netherlands, László Botka was on Klub Rádió talking about the coming election as a choice between Orbán and Europe. He expressed his firm belief that Viktor Orbán, by creating an unpleasant situation over the Dutch ambassador’s interview, was actually testing how the Hungarian people would react to Hungary’s exit from the European Union. I must say that I thought that Botka overstated the importance of this incident. I was also stunned by his description of the coming election as a choice between Orbán and Europe. Obviously, the DK leadership was not at all happy with Botka’s choice of words. A few days later, in a TV interview, Attila Ara-Kovács, the DK politician in charge of foreign affairs, charged that MSZP stole DK’s campaign slogan.

For a number of weeks György Bolgár has been asking politicians and public figures in general for their thoughts on a slogan or call that would move the lethargic Hungarian electorate. I always thought that, given the overwhelming support for the European Union among Hungarian voters, there can be no better slogan than something that would bring home the possibility of a rash move by Orbán once the financial benefits of the EU come to an end. And by that time, there would be no one to stop him.

Gyurcsány had barely finished his speech when Balázs Hidvéghi, the communication director of Fidesz, retorted. Hungarians must choose, he said, “between the Soros plan or Europe, and Ferenc Gyurcsány is working on the execution of that plan. He also wants to dismantle the fence and wants to let in the migrants.” That in addition to all sorts of other sins, including the party’s endorsement of a common EU defense and common immigration policies. It is hard to fathom this Fidesz fear of a party that currently has only an 8% share of support among active voters. Maybe Gyurcsány is right and in seven months a lot can happen, but at the moment apathy rules. Momentum’s anti-Russian demonstration was a flop, and the DK gathering was small. DK’s slogan, however, is a good one. We will see whether it can move the crowd.

September 2, 2017
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Re once the financial benefits of the EU come to an end:
Imho the benefits are much more than those 3 or 4 billion € that Hungary gets from Brussels – in addition there are:

– The sums that Hungarians working abroad send home.
– The sums that tourists spend in Bp and at the Balaton
– The money from people who come for dental surgery and/or plastic surgery to Hévíz e g.
– The money that the automobile industry pays their workers.

Tappanch mightcalculate these amounts – I estimate another few billion € there!

If Hungary leaves the EU what would happen there?


@wolfi, you are right.

Personal remittances, received by Hungary, in billions of current US $s

1995: 0.152
2000: 0.221
2001: 0.242
2002: 0.232
2003: 0.249

2004: 1.677
2005: 1.913
2006: 2.073
2007: 2.309
2008: 2.522

2009: 1.747
2010: 2.069
2011: 2.785
2012: 3.530
2013: 4.599
2014: 4.711

2015: 4.418
2016: 4.609


Remittance flows, (in – out) in billions of US $s

Compensation of employees: 3.949 – 0.922 = 3.027 net inflow
Personal transfers: 0.707 – 0.131 = 0.576 net inflow


Breakdown of the remittance Hungary received in 2014, the origin of which is known:

Germany: 21.29%
US: 14.92%
Canada: 9.38%
UK: 8.90%
Austria: 8.18%

Breakdown of the remittance sent from Hungary in 2014, the destination of which is known:

Romania: 20.72%
Germany: 13.63%
Slovakia: 9.16%
China: 7.85%
Serbia: 7.09%


Should Orban take Hungary out of the EU, why would tourism decline? Hungary would remain a relatively inexpensive place to vacation. If the Eurocrats are total idiots, Hungary might not even have to leave Schengen.


Alex, yes – it might be a return to the “good ol’ times” of Kádár, when Hungarians would do anything (!) for some good money!
I still remember the stories some compatriots told me of their fantastic Balaton holidays –cheap booze, food and girls …
As I’ve written here before, I never went into the Eastern Block before 1989, found it too horrible …


Re: ‘the good ole times of Kadar’

Well I’ll tell you what wolfie Janos must’ve liked rock’n’roll with all the bands playing. Thunfs were flying high. It was like ‘one o’clock two o’clock rock’ and a piece of clothing called ‘jeans’, the import nadrag of ‘rebellion. Everybody loved ours. We were ‘cool’ Amerikai. Probably could have set up shop , sold them and be retired for life.Could have helped the 10 year plan out too with their take. Even Kadarites loved jeans! Lucky to get out of Ferihegy with’em on.😎🙀


Rather OT re jeans:

Near our village was a Hungarian “factory outlet” 15 years ago, a small shop that sold sturdy jeans etc cheap – Lantzky was the brand. Me and my family members bought a lot of stuff – I still wear them all week. But it closed many years ago and the house is still standing empty …
Also I remember that the German company Mustang produced nice jeans in Hungary – that factory was also closed many years ago, probably because Vietnamese working women earn even less.
Does Orbán want these glorious times back when women (and maybe children too – those who can’t afford higher education …) toil again against the clock?


Not at all horrible in Hungary pre 1989. Once you got yourself into the place, not too hard, it was far from intolerable. Not ideal, but not intolerable. It is a pity you missed the fun.


I do not like to go on holiday in a place where the locals can’t afford the stuff that you as a tourist buy/eat/drink …
I remember that even 20 years ago there were still restaurants only frequented by tourists in Hungary.
And the butcher shops sold only cheap meat – the good stuff like steaks, goose liver or even pork filet (szüsz pecsenye) was sold directly to the restaurants!

Much later here in the country you started to see more Hungarian guests in the restaurants …

Maybe it wasn’t as bad as in Bulgaria where you had three classes of guests:
Tourists from the West
East Germans


Re: ‘I don’t like to go on holiday in a place where the locals can’t afford the stuff that you as a tourist buy/eat/drink’

Same here after Magyarorszag. You know I wonder how many times I could not hear the resentment passed behind our backs during those ‘good ol days’ way back to 13 years after the Revolution. People coming with different dress, different money, different ideas. You sure stuck out. I’d say a couple of times we sure got ‘stuck in’ too.


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Given that you originally lived in the West, where the streets are paved with gold, I can understand your skittishness about pre1989 Hungary, wolfi. I never had any problem with Magyarország since my introduction to it in 1983. Who cares if there weren’t 2-dozen choices for toothpaste, 3 or 4 were plenty. (My fave was Óceán.) Hungary was poorer than Canada, but so what, no one was starving and people had jobs. I’ve heard some Magyars even now say that (in some ways) things were better back then, back before ‘rendszerváltás’.



Actually my main problem was politics and police – I did not like the secret police at every corner and the surveillance state, I want free movement.
The stories I heard from my friends were enough for me.


Have you noticed the CCTV cameras on every street corner in Budapest?
As far as anyone knows, police only use these cameras to prevent crimes and track down perpetrators. Given the murky past of officials in the BRFK and the Interior Ministry, it is only a matter of time before the surveillance system gets abused.


What’s the worry? (Orban: “What, me worry?”)

Once the EU fixes Hungary with a few billion euro penalties, the hammer blow of new Hungarian taxes will make the people see the light: ‘we must leave the EU and stiff the bastards!’

Ah, the logic of Hungaricoes!
(Viktor sure knows how to play the Hungarian mind, don’t he?)

Hajra Magyarok!!


And just curious. If Orban has the country take a hike I’d wager he’d figure the overtures to Vlad would put him in good stead as vassalage looks comfortable on him. Fealty has never been given so easily.

But slip slidin’ away from Europe is a terrible fate. Orban apparently believes love with open arms beckons him. And he thinks it may be cozy. If the past is any indication Magyarorszag hanging out with Vlad and the rest of the czars in the wings can have no upside. They usually are the masters and kings of pain.


Trump’s first reactions to the North Korean hydrogen bomb test:

“North Korea has conducted a major Nuclear Test. Their words and actions continue to be very hostile and dangerous to the United States. North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying to help but with little success. South Korea is finding, as I have told them, that their talk of appeasement with North Korea will not work, they only understand one thing!”


President Obama’s wise advice to President Trump written on January 20, 2017:

” It’s up to us to do everything we can (to) build more ladders of success for every child and family that’s willing to work hard.”

“American leadership in this world really is indispensable. It’s up to us, through action and example, to sustain the international order”

“we are just temporary occupants of this office. That makes us guardians of those democratic institutions and traditions — like rule of law, separation of powers, equal protection and civil liberties — that our forebears fought and bled for.”



OK, you’ve got a half-decent slogan.

Which of the 88 individual contituencies outside Budapest are you going to target? Do you consider any of them winnable?

Do you have money?

Do you see Fidesz showing signs of weakness anywhere outside Budapest? Are you building up anti-Fidesz organizations in any of these districts?

Do you have money?

How are the various left-wing parties planning to prevent themselves from dividing the anti-Fidesz vote, thereby allowing Fidesz to win with a relative majority?

By the way, do you have money?


OT – German debate
Now live on (minimum) 4 public and private TV channels in Germany THE election debate between Merkel and Schulz!
Quote from a question to Schulz: “autocrats like Putin, Erdogan or even Orban”
Not Schulz nor Merkel objected to this phrase, conclusion even Merkel (as member of an EPP party!) agrees that OV can be seen as an autocrat!!


I can’t stand watching the debate but I sent my vote via mail already – though my hope that the CDU/CSU will lose is probably unfounded …
I’ll be happy if the extreme right wing (AfD and NPD) stays below 10%.

Totally OT again – a funny story I read somewhere:
Some right wing politician (NPD?) was asked about arabic numbers and he promised to get rid of them if he was elected mayor and exchange them with “real numbers”!
Poor guy …


1202: Leonardo fi Bonacci: Liber abaci

Novem figure indorum he sunt 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. Cum his itaque novem figuris, et cum hoc signo 0, quod arabice zephirum appellatur, scribitur quilibet numerus, ut inferius demonstratur.

The nine Indian figures are 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1. With these nine figures and with the sign 0, that is called zephirum in Arabic, every number can be written, as is demonstrated below.

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1299: “Statuto dell’Arte del Cambio” of Florence bans the official use of “figure delli Indi” for their easy forgery.

1503 or 1504: Gregor Reisch: Typus Arithmaticae

In the competition, Pythagoras represents the counting board (abacus), while Boethus the Indian system.

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The zero was popularized in Europe by Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra (1089 Tudela – 1164 Calahorra?). He called it a wheel.
He lived in Cordoba, Granada, Rome, Lucca, Mantua, Verona, Narbonne, Béziers, Rouen, London, Oxford.


Tappanch, thanks for the memories!
Would math (and science …) have developed at all without those clever Indians and Arabs and their idea of zero?
Probably yes – the Chinese had similar ideas while Europe stillwas in the Dark Age, occupied with torturing and burning heretics (Hi melanie! :))
PS and even more OT:
Many years ago I was on a business trip to Egypt – a bank that wanted to do “micro loans” for village people (a really good idea) also needed support computerwise and I was asked to join the team.
They still did their accounting on large sheets of paper like a hundred years ago but they were willing to use computer power (in Cairo of course there were experts – but not enough money …) and I looked at their way of doing transactions – writing text from right to left, but numbers from left to right!
It’s a real shame that the Muslim world lost its advantage or rather most of its knowledge base re math and science and is so backwards right now. Of course again religion is the problem, the people are clever enough …


Whole (pretty dull) debate can be watched at http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/ARD-Sondersendung/Das-TV-Duell-Merkel-gegen-Schulz/Das-Erste/Video?bcastId=3304234&documentId=45652922
Mentioning of OV (Hungary) in debate
positive (+): 0 – NULLA – ZERO
negative (-): 6 (split: in question – 1 / by Merkel – 2 / by Schulz – 3)
subjects of negative OV-HU:
democracy/autocrat – refugees/migration – CSU invitation
other int.politicians mentioned: Erdogan (–) / Trump (-) / Kim Jong-un (-)

summary in Hungarian: “‘Orban’ became a swear-word in Merkel-Schulz debate” – http://168ora.hu/orban-szitokszo-lett-merkel-es-schulz-vitajaban-merkel-feladta-remenyt/
in English: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/sep/03/merkel-schulz-tv-debate-last-ditch-bid-to-save-campaign and http://www.politico.eu/article/5-takeaways-from-the-merkel-schulz-showdown/

PS: incredibly irrelevant stupid personal question in debate: “Now that we speak about religion, was any of you today in church?”


Yesterday, one day after Merkel-Schulz debate, the debate between the 5 other smaller parties (Linke, Grüne, CSU, FDP, AfD). Live on only 1 channel, almost simultaneous with qualification match by the German Football team… Showing the double standards in the German (private) media…
Watch it at http://www.ardmediathek.de/tv/ARD-Sondersendung/Der-F%C3%BCnfkampf-nach-dem-TV-Duell/Das-Erste/Video?bcastId=3304234&documentId=45688260
report: http://www.politico.eu/article/germanys-small-parties-go-for-the-jugular/

PS1: CDU and CSU are not one party, but afaik neither two really separate…
PS2: strange positioning with CSU in the middle and then to the right FDP between CSU and AfD…


OT … futbol world cup qualifying….Magyarorszag vs Portugal…

Magyars hanging on in first half now with 10… the red card came out on a elbow to the head. They seem to like the physical game but it can get them into trouble when skill and technique is found wanting against superior teams.


EU referee giving a red card to a misconducting HU player.
Hmm, a good example for EU politicians!!


Better late than never.

It should be

Europe or Orban or even better
Europe of Orbanistan

Since the latter
– refers not only to the individual but reminds of the system as well, this way addressing more people,
– the well know .stan ending has a definitely negative connotation, invokes negative associations re system, underdeveloped status, inferiority, etc.


Something like this couldn’t happen in Hungary – or could it?
Of course someone from the very conservative German CSU is involved …
Those Christians will do anything for money – if the sum is high enough!


Sorry, didn’t see dos929’s comment on the corruption scandal in Azerbejan again involving those “Christian” (!) EU politicians – totally agree with him!