Author Archives: Eva S. Balogh

Today’s Hungary and the Weimar Republic

It was only a few weeks ago that I complained about the difficulties I have been encountering with the Hungarian adjective “polgári” (bourgeois), and as a result a lively discussion on the subject developed among the readers of Hungarian Spectrum. Shortly thereafter Ferenc Kőszeg, one of the very few Hungarians who as a member of the democratic opposition of the 1980s fought against the one-party system, wrote an opinion piece titled “A polgár szó jelentéséhez” (To the meaning of the word ‘polgár’). The article was prompted by Sándor Révész’s … Read the rest

Is Viktor Orbán’s foreign policy Jobbik inspired?

In the interview Gábor Vona gave to Magyar Nemzet yesterday, the chairman of Jobbik talked about the foreign policy strategies of the party. He said: “I have been repeating ever since 2010 that Hungary must realize its national interest in a German-Russian-Turkish triangle. Not long ago Viktor Orbán himself admitted that much.”

Vona was referring to the rambling speech the prime minister delivered on March 9 to the Hungarian ambassadors who were called home to be personally instructed by Orbán on the intricacies of Hungarian diplomacy. In this speech Orbán … Read the rest

Whither Jobbik?

I have a strong suspicion that Jobbik, Hungary’s extreme right-wing party, which has been experiencing unprecedented growth in the last year or so, may undergo some internal turmoil soon. The reason for a possible palace revolt or an outright split within the party is Chairman Gábor Vona’s turn toward a more moderate political stance. This new ideological shift stemmed from his belief that Jobbik will be successful only if it drops its anti-Semitic, anti-Roma verbiage and offers a political platform that is acceptable to large segments of Hungarian society.

The … Read the rest

The European Union has had enough: No money for a 110 billion project already underway

Not only does Quaestor’s collapse and the government’s involvement in this scandal weigh heavily on the third Orbán government. Viktor Orbán just heard officially that the European Union is refusing to finance a 30 km section of a new Hungarian superhighway, the M4, that would be 230 km long and would lead all the way to the Romanian border just north of Oradea/Nagyvárad. This is a first. And this time there is no possibility of any further negotiations. The project must either be abandoned or be built from purely Hungarian … Read the rest

A crime in search of a more coherent cover-up

Today being Friday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán gave another interview on Magyar Rádió’s Kossuth channel. Naturally, the Quaestor scandal was the first topic to be discussed. After a close reading of the text, I decided that it was worth spending a post on how the story line of this whole sordid affair has been changing from day to day.

Last night I watched an interview with László Kéri, a political science professor who has known Viktor Orbán and his friends ever since their college days. He expressed his total disgust … Read the rest

Gathering clouds: The opposition parties take a common stand

This afternoon the leaders of the democratic opposition parties held talks in the wake of Viktor Orbán’s announcement yesterday that he was the one who ordered the ministers of his cabinet to withdraw all government assets invested in bonds issued by the Quaestor Group. Since the meeting ended only about three hours ago, I could find only one commentary on the event. It was by Dániel Bita of Népszabadság who, if I interpret one of his rather convoluted sentences correctly, found it less than successful. I am, on the … Read the rest

Demands for Viktor Orbán’s resignation

Today is one of those days that I have no idea what will happen between beginning to write this post and uploading it. One thing, however, I can be pretty sure of: I don’t have to worry that by tomorrow morning Viktor Orbán will not be the prime minister of Hungary. Although that is what the opposition would like to see.

This morning’s editorial in Népszabadság demanded Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó’s resignation. And, indeed, Szijjártó’s situation was deemed so grave that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán himself came to his rescue. … Read the rest