Orbán’s struggle will continue, but there might be a new enemy: Martin Schulz

Viktor Orbán has never been fond of answering questions. When accosted by journalists at home, he either says nothing or comes up with some flippant answer. Until recently, however, he was quite ready to talk to journalists while abroad. He has always been willing to give long interviews, mostly to German papers, and to hold press conferences after European Council summits. On these occasions he normally bragged about the important role he played during the negotiations, often claiming that he “vetoed” certain otherwise unanimous decisions. But on the last two occasions, he skipped his customary appearance before the journalists altogether.

This was the case this time as well, but the Hungarian prime minister, perhaps imitating Donald Trump, decided to communicate directly with “his people.” The only difference is that he uses Facebook instead of Twitter, which is a great deal less popular in Hungary than in the United States. Short videos are available on Orbán’s Facebook page, with English subtitles provided.

Yesterday I summarized his messages, but since then three more Orbán announcements were posted. The first was recorded right after the working dinner of the prime ministers/chancellors at which the question of migration was discussed. He described the meeting as a “political hand-to-hand combat” in which “the Poles, the Czechs, the Slovaks, the Slovenes, and we managed to defend our positions.” The military theme is even more obvious in the Hungarian original, in which he used the word “hadállás,” which signifies a military position. No one argued against the necessity of secure borders, he continued, but “the great and strong ones want to bring the migrants into Europe and distribute them on a compulsory basis.” In his final video, he thanked those who had expressed their opposition to placing migrants in Hungary, which helped him “to repel the assaults that nearly managed to violate the sovereignty of Hungary again.”

Orbán’s description of the meeting conjures up a noisy, passionate verbal fight between two antagonistic sides, but other participants called the discussion dispassionate and calm. No charge against the military flanks at all. If I interpret the majority view on the matter of distribution of refugees correctly, the best the Visegrád Four can hope for is a slight modification, not an abrogation of the decision that had been accepted by the European Council earlier. It is possible that “qualified majority rule” will suffice for approval, which would mean defeat for the Visegrád Four’s position.

Viktor Orbán might not like to expound in front of local journalists, but János Lázár, his chief-of-staff, is quite happy to go on for a couple of hours every week to entertain the troops. Lázár is known for his brashness and his hyperbole. He might be amusing at times, but a few hours after these meetings one usually learns that what Lázár claimed was simply untrue or at best misleading. The Budapest correspondent for the Associated Press, who speaks Hungarian, is usually on hand for these Thursday afternoon press conferences. He immediately sent out the news that János Lázár and László Surján, the former vice-president of the European Parliament, had compared Martin Schulz, former president of the European Parliament and currently head of the German Social Democratic party, to Adolf Hitler. It didn’t take more than an hour for me to be able read this juicy story on ABC’s news site.

What happened that prompted this outrageous comparison? On December 7 Schulz wrote the following message on Twitter: “I want a new constitutional treaty to establish the United States of Europe. A Europe that is no threat to its member states, but a beneficial addition. A convention shall draft this treaty in close cooperation with the civil society and the people. Its results will then be submitted to all member states. Any state that won’t ratify this treaty will automatically leave the EU.” This tweet was discovered a week later by two members of the Hungarian Christian Democratic Party–Péter Harrach, the whip of the KDNP parliamentary delegation, and László Surján, who, as far as I know, by now plays no official political role. Péter Harrach, who is anything but flamboyant, compared Schulz to Ferenc Gyurcsány. Both men are “lots of talk without substantial achievement.” Surján said that Schulz’s voice “reminded him of Adolf Hitler,” which he “found unacceptable.” The two held a press conference to announce their disapproval of Schulz and his United States of Europe.

It seems that Lázár especially liked Surján’s comment and decided to use the comparison at his press conference a few hours later. He added a few extra words. He not only heard “Hitler’s voice” but claimed that “the last time Hungary received such an ultimatum was from Adolf Hitler.” Of course, such a comparison is ridiculous, and we must assume that the sudden interest in Schulz is not independent from the likelihood that a grand coalition will be formed in Germany and that Schulz will be part of the cabinet in some important position. Schulz is known to be a very harsh critic of Viktor Orbán. Perhaps after Soros the new devil will be Schulz and his plans for a United States of Europe.

December 15, 2017
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Joseph
Guest

But he won a new supporter too https://www.thelocal.at/20171215/austrias-chancellor-in-waiting-sebastian-kurz-sides-with-eu-countries-opposed-to-migrant-quotas

And to be honest: Kurz is a rising star, Schulz branded as one of Germany’s biggest losers.

Guest

Hungarians are funny – in a way!
All that crazy talk about “sovereignty” – if you don’t want to follow the ideas and rules of the EU:
No one will force them to join – “Any state that won’t ratify this treaty will automatically leave the EU.”
But of course there is the Fidesz motto:
We’re only in it for the money!
As I’ve written somewhere else already, it will be interesting to see what kind of policies Kurz will realise.
PS and not too much OT:
A few days ago there was already thenews on the net that Kurz would “throw Soros organisations out of Austria” – fake news of course, but some Hungarians were happy to believe it …

1956cries
Guest

In my opinion, Orban repeats Horthy’s selling out the nation.
This time, even more misleading the people.
While faking conservatism, playing the anti-European act of a weaponized ally of the Kremlin.

Member

Orbáns definition of sovereignty:

I am the emperor by nature and I am the only chosen one to make the rules.

Of course, he gets furious, that for the money he has to obey to other people’s rules.

bimbi
Guest

“Any state that won’t ratify this treaty [for a United States of Europe] will automatically leave the EU.” With this Martin Schultz might just be on to something. Worth exploring. Europe needs to move forward to a unified future – forget the 19th century whiners seeking a non-existent Judeo-Christian Nirvana.

[But don’t forget folks, if the illegal migrants (and they are “illegal”) are willing to pay € 60,000 a head into our off-shore bank accounts, we’ll take as many as we can get, eh Viktor?]

Now from Orban, what do we get as a response to the EU? The usual Viktor bombast backed by a few lies and insults from the Fidesz Joker-in-Chief Lazar.

Same old tired propaganda mix from the Viktator.

wrfree
Guest

Magyarorszag, that insistent ‘democracy’ , looks as if it loves the ‘battle’ motif. Initially it all started with some bouts of cheating and then moved on up to extensive corruption and now is added a constant and prickly rhetorical war to back it all up. A triumvirate of mischief.

If all this continues this awol ‘democracy’ has to be viewed possibly on the road to calling the European Union’ itself an illigitimate coalition of nation-states one day down the line. The suffering victim appears as if it just wants to get the chance to throw down gauntlets in front of those Hitlerian allusions.

Aida
Guest

The United States of Europe, cannot come too soon. It is now a more likely prospect. About the only beneficial aspect of the English Nationlists and their free trade gangster alies voting for Brexit is that the English anti federalist voice in the EU will have lost their most important backer. The remaining beggar/thief regimes in the EU will sign up to it if they cannot stop it for fear of the loss of money that might result if they were left out.

But we should remember. There are both politically and economically seismic forces at work. The bandits who oppose EU regulation which are intended to bring benefits to the many very effectively use the nationalist agenda to disrupt the system. In the UK we lost the battle. Yet the war is not lost. We need good leaders at the same time as removing Brexiteers and their likes in the EU from power and to diminish their influence. It will be a hard road ahead.

Marty
Guest

The Germans are the best enemy, perfect punching bag for Orban: totally impotent. Nobody takes them seriously. Orban knows that he can only win with Germans. The German politicians may talk (usually the don’t say anything) but in the end they do nothing, they are to afraid to be really tough. It’s cultural. They cannot be tough. Just like the Russian cannot be weak, they are always aggressive even when they are polite. Plus nobody takes Schultz seriously in Germany.

Of course why would the Germans care? They are rich, for them the money they pay directly into Orban’s pocket which then enables the maintenance of his autocracy is change. They just don’t give a shit.

Guest

Marty, you’re kind of funny!
Why do we have to fight? Let the Hungarians work for us (cheap …) and their dwarf leaders scream as loud as possible – no one really cares.
Btw some Fideszniks claim that “impotent Mrs Merkel” is the Your second paragraph sounds more reasonable …
PS:
The name is Schulz – without the “t”. Schultz was the funny guy in the tv series on WW2: Hogan’s Heroes
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0058812/
I liked to watch it very much!
Vvee haf vvays to meak you shpeek!

Guest

Sorry, my software deleted half a sentence – it should be:
Btw some Fideszniks claim that “impotent Mrs Merkel” is the new Hitler building the EU into a dictatorship aka the Fourth Reich …
This is a kind of Schroedinger problem – at the same time Brussels is impotent and a dictatorship. Remember: “we will not be a Brussels colony”?
That’s also the biggest problem with the infamous Soros questionnaire aka the “National Insultation” – my friends in Germany looked at it unbelievingly …
They didn’t know whether to weep because of the Hungarian stupidity or to laugh at the Fidesz idiots …

Marty
Guest
I agree. There’s no need to fight. I’m just saying that autocrats like Orban and Putin can easily take advantage of Germany and the EU because they know that the Western political structures (except for the US, which however is just in the process of destroying its remaining international credibility) are inherently weak. This is because a democracy is always inherently weaker than an autocracy. The control, discipline, lack of transparency and freedoms (whether in a legal or factual sense) etc. allow an autocracy to take advantage of a democracy which is by design more open, more based on trust, regular changes in leadership, openness, transparency. These are strategic weaknesses against an autocracy. The moral problem with Germany is that Germany does nothing when an autocrat entrenches itself from its own money when real pressure (if credible) could change the situation profoundly. Hungarians suffer because Germany’s money is allowed to flow in the pockets of the Orban crime family – when the financial situation of any opposition party is insanely difficult (not to mention other conditions). We literally talk about billions of EURs to the Orban family. Orban is actually in a very difficult situation because his clan has difficulty… Read more »
Observer
Guest

Marty
A democracy may be “weaker” as you describe it in the short term, in an ambush or quick tactical moves, but strategically it is much stronger, because the autocracies engrave or ruin their own economies. Witness which are the richest countries.

Observer
Guest

Sorry
enfeeble or ruin their economies.

Marty
Guest

I kinda agree with you – based on recent economic history. And long term. But for voters who only have lives that are short term (at most mid-term) that is rather cold comfort. Also it’s not natural that people will always realize that they would be better off in a democracy and act (or can act) on that realization.

Jean P
Guest

Marty: “Orban knows….”

Orban’s and Marty’s shared knowledge seems to be boundless.

Member

The troll uses always similar
patterns:
– extremists and criminals like Orbàn, Bannon, Putin are smart and know, how to handle the people
– the people and voters, whom he also seem to know each personally, need strong leaders
– democracies are weak, e. g. Germany
– he feels contempt for weak democrats and digs out a bad story for each
– he mixes facts with conspiracy

And I call him a troll, because he attempts to influence opinions while hiding his own nature.

His increasing amounts of lengthy comments and the fact that many others even answer to these, makes it difficult to find the comments that are worth reading. moreover, many conversations, that might have developed to an interesting
outcome get interrupted.

Jean P
Guest

I have noticed all the same signs. My diagnosis is the same.

Marty
Guest
I must say I’m quite disappointed in you guys. I thought you a have a more critical and intellectual mind. Calling someone a troll is a sure way of avoiding facing the perhaps uncomfortable truth said “troll” may point out. What I say and may indeed repeat are actually received wisdom e.g. that democracies are inherently weak. The entire history of democracy from the Greeks onward is about the big question how a democracy first degenerate into a populist structure than into tyranny. Also it’s not too complicated to comprehend why the US or Germany are more vulnerable. A Chinese or Russian mole (‘active measures’) has freedom to do a lot of things inside these countries which no Westerner has a right to do in Russia or China etc. Open societies are more vulnerable against closed, authoritarian societies. Real elections are much easier to influence (like Putin influenced the the US one), sham elections like the one in Russia or in Hungary etc. are very difficult to influence from abroad because they are anyway basically rigged. And so on. You don’t need to be genius to understand that. Also Orban knows how to handle average people. That’s a fact. I… Read more »
Jean P
Guest

Marty: “Also Orban knows how to handle average people. That’s a fact”

More of the boring same.

Marty
Guest

OK, now you really explained why this is not true. Anyway, this is may conviction (about Fidesz, not specifically about Orban) based on many instances I saw from up close and you won’t convince me about the opposite.

Member

Strange but true: Although I am a leftist mainstream intellectual weak liberal non-understander, my neighbour Lajos Bàcsi seems to like me.
Same with the others, Vilmos Bàcsi and Margit Néni.
Of course I don’t understand them as Orbàn and the other criminals do, but my Hungarian is getting better and better.

Guest

If I look around for successful countries where people are happy (!) – those I see are almost all democracies. Of course if you think China and Russia are successful …

Marty
Guest

But if you are a Russian or Chinese would you want the “chaos of democracy” and stagnation or would rather want to live in a country that is now respected, feared and envied (the latter applies rather only to China) and are clearly on the rise (in the narrative these people hear)?

Guest

Chaos?
I was thinking about economic reality,standars of living etc (for normal people – not the reigning mafia!).
Some years ago I met a Russian who visited Germany in a bar – he looked at the prices (which were normal for Germany) and said to me:
In Russia I’m considered well off – but here I feel poor …
The same goes for Hungarians btw.
You know that a teacher in Hunhgary makes maybe half of a cleaner in Germany?

Marty
Guest

Chaos in quotation marks of course. Most people have no idea about the exact life conditions in the West, they don’t travel. In Hungary, they knows people are rich in the West but – thanks to the media – they also “know” that you “can’t leave your apartment because the migrants might cut your head off”. So they think, maybe it’s better to be poor but safe at least. All I’m saying is that average people’s thinking in Russia, Hungary etc. is different from your thinking so their preferences are also different.

Guest

Totally OT:
Following Eva’s link to ABC news on Laser Johnny vs Schulz I found this funny picture – the woman in the center was one of the few coloured advisers of Trump (she left …), but look who’s in the background to the left!
comment image

exTor
Guest

Three of Trump’s exes in one pic:
Gorka, Omarosa and Scaramucci.

MAGYARKOZÓ

Observer
Guest

Yes, this clown was bragging that he has “great people, the best, the best in the world” , but it seems he doesn’t know which ones they are. I don’t remember any other administration with such a musical chairs performance, but of course no such twit was potus either, not even GWB.