freelogoOur objective is to provide English speaking readers interested in Hungary with a well balanced view of political activities in Hungary by featuring contents from various printed and online sources together with our own commentaries. We are convinced that Hungary is built on all sorts of different ideas, thoughts and opinions and, despite of the new Media Law, our aim is to provide an alternative and reliable source of information – contrary to the one-sided press of the government – for those who want to hear the voice of a free Hungary.

Fidesz government under fire again

Hillary Clinton called on Hungary on last Thursday not to allow any weakening of its democracy. Speaking to reporters alongside Prime Minister Viktor Orbán after an hour-long meeting, the US Secretary of State addressed concerns over controversial moves by Orbán’s government, such as its new media law and reducing the ambit of the Constitutional Court. “As friends of Hungary we expressed our concerns and particularly called for a real commitment to the independence of the judiciary, a free press and governmental transparency,” Clinton said.
Since taking office last year the government has come under fire from human rights organisations, civil groups and opposition  and EU politicians. Key concerns were a new media law that many saw as an attempt to stifle press criticism and a reduction of the purview of the Constitutional Court, which lost its power to rule over budget-related legislation. Orbán’s Fidesz party enjoys a two-thirds parliamentary majority, which allowed it to re-write the Constitution without the need for cross-party consensus. The United States’ chief foreign policy representative was in Hungary for the inauguration of the Tom Lantos Institute, a pro-democracy and human rights think-tank named after the Hungarian-American congressman. Lantos, a Democratic Party member who died in 2008 after serving 28 years in the US Congress, survived the Holocaust in Hungary and found himself marooned in America after the post-war communist takeover. He became an outspoken advocate of human rights and democratic freedoms.
Before her visit, Clinton received an open letter from several Hungarian intellectuals, including the writer György Konrád, former mayor of Budapest Gábor Demszky and the former Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) high representative for press freedom Miklós Haraszti – the latter two being key figures in Hungary’s democratic opposition in the final decade of communist dictatorship. They urged Clinton to address their concerns over Hungarian democracy during her visit, and were, presumably, not disappointed.
“We talked very openly about preserving the democratic institutions of Hungary and making sure that they continue to grow and strengthen, including providing essential checks and balances,” Clinton said. She spoke of the importance for Hungary as well as the US to demonstrate a commitment to Western values of government, “first and foremost” for their own citizens but also to send a message to others. “We must (also) exemplify democratic freedoms... as examples for those who are struggling to define their own democracies now in the Middle East and North Africa,” she said.
The Secretary of State was also asked about closer ties between Hungary and other European countries and China, following last week’s visit by Chinese premier Wen Jiabao. Clinton welcomed the signing of trade deals between Europe and China, of which Hungary alone signed a dozen, and expressed the hope that such rapprochement would lead China to adopt a more Western approach to government. “As China plays a greater role on the world stage we also hope that it will learn more about our Western values... democracy, rule of law, freedom, protection of minorities, independent judiciary, a free press,” she said. “Increasing ties between the European Union and China is one more way to (influence China) and how it thinks about its future.” 
Hungary received praise for its recent achievements as European Union president, however. Clinton recognised the EU strategy on Roma integration that Hungary had made a key item on the agenda of its six-month term. She “deeply appreciated” the “decisive steps” Hungary had taken to combat hate crime, a reference to the banning of uniformed far-right vigilante groups that staged patrols of Roma neighbourhoods in rural villages this year. Furthermore, the “wide-ranging and productive” talks had also covered their two countries’ mutual commitment to Afghanistan.
Hungary’s economic policy received a ringing endorsement. “We are strongly supportive of the prime minister’s commitment to build and strengthen Hungary’s economy,” Clinton said. “We think that the steps that are being taken to open the economy and to rely more on trade and investment as major economic drivers are absolutely right.” She applauded Hungary’s efforts to combat the corruption that “discourages” foreign investment.
After meeting Orbán, Clinton left the parliament building to hold talks with representatives of Hungarian civil society before flying on to the Lithuanian capital Vilnius, where she was scheduled to take part in a Community of Democracies meeting. “Democracy is struggling to be born around the world today,” Clinton said on Thursday morning as she spoke of Tom Lantos’ commitment to freedom and human rights.
http://www.budapesttimes.hu/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19671&Itemid=220

Last Updated on Friday, 30 August 2013 09:11

Newsletter

Comments

Written on 13/09/2017, 20:13 by admin
guest-post-eu-and-orban-two-good-friendsThe decision of the European Court of Justice, according to which Hungary should accomodate more than one thousand refugees is at the same time appaling...
Written on 06/10/2016, 19:58 by admin
guest-post-the-day-after-the-referendumThe much anticipated referendum about the resettlement of migrants in Hungary was declared invalid, however, those who voted overwhelmingly rejected the...
Written on 23/06/2016, 06:31 by admin
disintegration-or-something-else-gyurcsany-s-solutions-to-the-ills-of-western-democracies  Something has gone wrong. Quietly, but ever more noticeably, more and more people in more and more places are in revolt. In the American...
Written on 06/04/2016, 19:20 by admin
how-germany-and-its-leftist-liberal-supporters-killed-solidaritySolidarity. This is the word that is probably is the most used and misused term in European politics. Its original meaning is supposed to mean to show...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:30 by admin
the-orban-regime-can-only-end-in-failure  Change in the Orbán regime is only possible in the event of its downfall, so ruling Fidesz either becomes successful with its current set of...
Written on 23/03/2016, 20:20 by admin
anger-or-resignation  No matter how hard Mr Orbán is trying to get rid of his old cronies, he just cannot get rid of himself. He is too old for his system. The...
Written on 14/01/2016, 20:51 by admin
europe-s-new-yearThe European continent had a very difficult year in 2015, but that may be dwarfed by 2016. The most heated issue will be, without a doubt, the migration...
Written on 09/12/2015, 14:16 by admin
the-secret-diaries-of-viktor-orban-nov-dec-2015November 14th 2015I awoke to the shocking news about the Paris attacks last night. Words cannot express my feelings of shock.It turns out that one of the...
Written on 12/11/2015, 14:31 by admin
spies-in-the-newsroom   According to a new scheme, the government might place spies in the newsrooms, to have a better view of what is being written. This all...
Written on 29/10/2015, 20:02 by admin
greczy-s-blog-many-for-hungary  Some may want to do so, but DK will not write off its plans to win 2018 elections and to have a desperately needed co-operation with other...
Joomla templates by Joomlashine