Was Orbán’s bout with the EU a “points victory”? We will see tomorrow

Viktor Orbán, along with the other prime ministers of the European Union’s member states, is in Brussels at the moment, where among other things they are supposed to come to an understanding on the thorny issue of migration. The goal is naturally unity, a common understanding, a situation in which all member states share in the solution to the problems currently facing the European Union.

The greatest obstacle to reaching this goal is the refusal of three of the four Visegrád countries to accept one single refugee in case the need arises. These countries are the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Poland. The fourth country, Slovakia, would take a very limited number of asylum seekers.

The Visegrád Four countries have jointly come up with a plan of their own. Those countries that already have a number of immigrants from countries outside of the Union should accept most of the refugees while the Central Europeans would redeem their non-compliance with cash contributions. They came out with a figure today. They would pay 35 million euros in assistance to Italy. Hungary’s contribution would be nine million euros. This offer has not found too many enthusiastic supporters. In fact, most of the influential political leaders of the larger states deemed the Visegrád Four’s solution to be unacceptable.

The deep division within the EU became all too visible even before the opening of the summit. In October Donald Tusk, president of the European Council, introduced the idea of sending around a so-called Leaders’ Agenda prior to the summits. Its alleged purpose was to set out topics to be informally discussed. This time the topic was “Migration: way forward on the external and the internal dimension.” It is hard to tell what Tusk meant by this mysterious title, and I’m not surprised that some of Tusk’s critics considered the document badly written. The short letter was full of commonplace notions, like “secure external borders.” But what was strange and new in the document was that Tusk decided that “only Member States are able to tackle the migration crisis effectively” and that the European Commission’s approach to the migration crisis “has turned out to be ineffective.”

Eszter Zalan of Euobserver wrote that Tusk’s note on migration prompted “institutional hysteria” in Brussels. Eventually, the text had to be changed after serious concerns were raised at the meeting of EU foreign ministers on December 11. This was considered by some to be a “humiliating climb-down.” The revised note called for the EU institutions to work together. EU Migration Commissioner Dimitris Avramopoulos called Tusk’s note “anti-European,” which might have been an overstatement, but even the official comments coming from the European Commission took umbrage at Tusk’s singular action. Its spokesman conveyed the Commission’s disagreement with Tusk’s criticism of its work.

It was not just the members of the European Council who were critical of Tusk’s move but also the political leaders of Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, and even Greece, which has had to manage large numbers of refugees and migrants. Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, for example, called Tusk’s comments “aimless, ill-timed, and pointless.” Chancellor Angela Merkel, whose reproofs are usually quite subdued, was openly critical, insisting that “solidarity for the management of borders” is not enough; responsibilities must be shared within the Union as well. Italy might have been pleased with the financial offer but nonetheless reiterated that “we will continue to insist that a commitment on the relocation of refugees is needed.”

The leaders of the Visegrád Four must have been elated when they received Tusk’s note, but the changes that had to be made should have signaled to them that they couldn’t expect an imminent victory for their position. Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó declared that Tusk had “spoken the truth” on mandatory quotas. He went even further in his criticism of the European Commission. “Some Brussels bureaucrats continue to organize and promote illegal migration, and Donald Tusk is now being attacked in a vile and sanctimonious manner by those who have been representing for years now the obviously misguided migration policy of the European Commission.”

The other side considered Tusk’s initiative to be an encroachment on the prerogatives of the European Council. As one unnamed EU diplomat said, “The European Council is not a legislative body.” In his opinion, Tusk couldn’t possibly mean to bypass the normal procedures of the European Union. Moreover, Tusk’s opinions bore a suspicious resemblance to the general argument put forth by the Visegrád Four, which could be a result of his national attachments.

Photo: Stephanie LeCocq / MTI-EPA

Viktor Orbán left Budapest in a combative mood with a backpack on his shoulder which, according to him, contained 2.3 million Hungarians’ rejection of the Soros Plan, which in Orbán’s domestic parlance means the plan of the European Commission. (I should add that no official results of the national consultation have yet been disclosed.) Today he seems to be flying high because his Facebook page is full of videos with English subtitles from Brussels, announcing all of the things he has been accomplishing.

Before the summit the Visegrád Four prime ministers, whose ranks included two new members, Andrej Babiš of the Czech Republic and Mateusz Morawiecki of Poland, met Jean-Claude Juncker of the European Commission and Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni of Italy. Juncker was especially open to the gesture of the four prime ministers and called the offer a sign of solidarity. Orbán was elated and declared that he was “deeply thankful to [Juncker], who was a good partner.” According to Andrew Byrne, Financial Times correspondent for Hungary, Romania, and the West Balkans, Orbán was overtaken by Juncker’s kindness. It’s no wonder that Orbán on one of his videos announced that “after the first bout we are doing well. It looks like a points victory today.”

We will see how the rest of the summit shapes up. After all, Tusk had to retreat, and there is a crucial dinner meeting tonight and another day of negotiations tomorrow.

December 14, 2017
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gini
Guest

The EU (Juncker, Selmayer etc.) are appeasing Orban, yet again, because this is what Western politicians are only capable of doing. No wonder Orban is beaming – he’s winning big time, again and is making a fool out of the EU. Just another day in the EU and Hungary.

Marty
Guest

I’m already waiting for the news how Orban fooled Juncker because sure as shit he fooled Juncker again. Orban wouldn’t be so happy unless he knew for certain that he was winning. There’s no win-win when dealing with people like Orban. If Orban is happy, this means that Orban (and by extension Putin) won and the EU lost.

wrfree
Guest

The Big Bear has to be pleased nowadays. Magyarorszag and the other former satellites perhaps are doing more now in the vein of how he would like them to act than than when they were grabbed, bagged and settled in with them.

This is scientific when circling in the Soviet orbit. Once you are in a ‘black hole’ you can never get out of it. Always a dilemma for the countries who felt and got the Soviet boot.
Life there in those parts is really a constant managing of ‘their’ expectations. The EU certainly thinks alot on that conglomeration a ‘United States of Europe’. They need to make sure they also know who is also constantly thinking about it as well but for different reasons.

Guest

Orbán winning?
This is nonsense imho!
Everybody in the EU (maybe except a few right wing extremists like Le Pen or the AfD) is laughing about O, the little dictator – and about the millions of Hungarian bunko paraszt which elected him/voted for Fidesz.
As long as German companies have willing workers in Hungary, good and cheap dentists in Bp and tourists have cheap holidays at the Balaton nobody cares …
It’s the Hungarians’ problem if they like to be plundered by their mafia.
The situation is not so different from what it was 30 or 40 years ago …

Ferenc
Guest

OT – debate on RTL, titled “Soros-Plan: Existing Danger?”
In the studio Hollik (KDNP-Fid) and Hadházy (LMP)

Hollik gets the first question and talks at length starts about: Soros, quota, danger, Europe Parliament, plan, etc.
Then Hadházy is aked: “And what’s the opinion of LMP?”
Hadházy [after a little pauze]: “Tell me, in which year did you [Fid&Co] start to reform the healthcare system?”
Hollik [puzzled]: “?? …. What reform?”
Hadházy: “This is a good answer because there is no such thing.” (…) It is obvious that this resolution proposal [against ‘Soros-Plan’] is not about dealing with the issues that affect many. Practically (..) in between all other problems, we [are forced to] deal with only one.”

Whole debate at http://rtl.hu/rtlklub/magyarulbaloval/soros-terv-letezo-veszely
About the above start only (incl.short video) – https://444.hu/2017/12/15/hadhazy-egyetlen-tokeletes-kerdessel-semmisitette-meg-a-sorosozo-kdnp-st

Guest

And now for the good news:
Orbán will buy a small fleet of Airbus planes – maybe he and his cronies are already planning to leave Hungary in a hurry when the bunko paraszt wake up one day?
https://bbj.hu/politics/government-to-buy-own-fleet-of-aircraft_143061
Sorry, but this just had to be – after returning from Gemany desolation sets in again.
Now why am I thinking of Bob Dylan again?

wrfree
Guest

Any way how he plays it. Any way how he sings it. The ‘song and dance’ man nails it. The troubador truth teller of our times. May the ‘rolling stone’ he is keep rolling on…… 👍😎

Istvan
Guest
As I pointed out on Eva’s blog just a few days ago there is a vast level of hypocrisy inside the EU on the issue of refugees as was evident from this article https://www.amnesty.org/en/latest/news/2017/12/libya-european-governments-complicit-in-horrific-abuse-of-refugees-and-migrants/ Orban knows who Juncker is, he knows Juncker’s facilitation of corruption within Luxembourg by creating tax shelters for oligarchs and their corporations, why Orban may even have some of his own money hidden there. Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn even last year had the audacity for calling on the EU to expel Hungary for its militant stance on admission and resettlement of refugees all the while hiding money for a wide variety of corrupt Central Europeans including Hungarians. The whistleblowers who exposed the so-called “Luxleaks” scandal actually went on trial and while Luxembourg has taken some actions to improve its previously poor track record on providing offshore secrecy, it has continued to expand its role in helping multinational corporations to avoid paying tax in other countries. Orban understands a drunken crook like Juncker, in fact there is an affinity among such characters, after all haven’t they achieved great success by making legal in their respective countries what should be called systematic corruption? The issue of refugees… Read more »
wrfree
Guest

Re: ‘unity’ and the ‘refusals’

DeGaulle opined on Europe a while back:
‘There are as many ‘d’egoismes sacres’ as there are registered members’. And one in the V4 now appears to be keeping migratory doves from lodging in their apses and naves. Guess they think the money angle will get their prayers answered and get done what they believe as God’s will when it comes to dealing with the difficult problem of ‘humanity’.

Member

I hope Jean-Claude checked his pockets very closely after standing so close to Orban….nobody’s belongings are safe when the Felcsut Pickpocket is about.

EU? Faced with the biggest criminal gang in Europe running one of its countries and stealing countless billions of EU taxpayers’ money has surrendered to the fascists.

Guest

A bit OT:
Austria will have a right wing/conservative coalition government – it will be interesting to see how much ÖVP/FPÖ will agree with Fidesz.
Their refugees/migrants strategies seem to be similar, but who knows?

nvtln
Guest

I just read an article, the new austrian government wants to take a more practical approach, the danish one, they want to confiscate the migrants’ phone and money:
http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/oesterreich-asylbewerber-sollen-geld-und-handys-abgeben-a-1183779.html
Also that picture makes me think, will we ever see one like that with OV and VG?

Guest

Yes, the money is taken away – they will get food etc instead. But the phones are just taken for inspection as I understand the article – then they’re given back.
And the procedure only applies to those asking for asylum!