Our 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.
Published on Thursday, 06 October 2016 19:58
The much anticipated referendum about the resettlement of migrants in Hungary was declared invalid, however, those who voted overwhelmingly rejected the plans of Brussels. This gives both the left and the right the opportunity to claim victory. The government, which campaigned intensively , can say that more than three million people are supporting their policies, which is one million more than what they had at the last general election. The left, which didn't dare to take a straightforward position, urged its supporters to stay at home. They will of course interpret the invalid referendum as a surge in support for them and as an expression of dislike and distrust towards the government. However, that would be a mistake, since the flood of illegal migration will not be over any time soon, and this, no doubt, will favour Orbán's policies. The only real losers of this vote were the liberals, who called on their supporters to vote yes. It is clear, that even people close to the socialists and the Democratic Coalition do not want migrants to be resettled in Hungary. Although the vote is over, the issue of illegal migration will dominate European politics for years to come, and it seems, that the inability of Western Europe to come up with a viable solution will only favour the right and anti-establishment parties throughout the continent. Irrespective of the outcome, the facts on the ground have not changed. Germany is in turmoil and their plan to push their agenda down the throats of the unwilling countries won't work. Brexit was only the first serious consequence of the increasingly detached way of politics of Brussels, and there are more warning signs from France, Austria and the Netherlands. The German Chancellor herself admitted to the fact that the crisis was too much to handle and , if she could, she would turn back time. If Ms Merkel won't heed her own words, she will contribute to the disintegration of the EU.
Published on Thursday, 23 June 2016 06:31
Something has gone wrong. Quietly, but ever more noticeably, more and more people in more and more places are in revolt. In the American presidential primaries the anti-establishment Trump and Sanders have attracted millions of voters. The British are holding a referendum on leaving the European Union. In Germany, support for the centrist Christian Democrats and Social Democrats combined barely reaches 50%. In the first round of the Austrian presidential elections a radical right-wing candidate received the largest share of the votes. On Europe's southern periphery, from Greece to Spain, new political parties and movements critical of the status quo are rising and, in some cases, achieving significant success.
In Central Europe the situation is even more adversarial. From Poland to Slovakia to Hungary, the political parties enjoying the highest support are those that have turned against the values of a common Europe, the achievements of the post-Communist years, and the vision of an open and free society.
The Western democracies are facing previously unknown challenges. The political order that worked well for decades in America and Europe is in trouble. We do not yet know whether this is just a temporary crisis or a total implosion or whether it is just the first signs of a chaotic transition to a totally new order.
Although the problems are obviously complex, certain root causes are very much evident. The first is the reversing trend in social democratization over the past 20 years. Numerous studies have shown that wealth and income disparities in the Western world are increasing at an ever faster pace. Current generations are faced with the fact that it is increasingly difficult to find decent, well-paying jobs and to support a standard of living similar to that of their parents and grandparents. Meanwhile, the wealth and income of a very few are growing substantially. Thomas Piketty writes in his bestselling work, Capital in the Twenty-First Century, that in the countries of Western Europe the top 1% controls 25% of the total wealth, while the bottom half of society controls merely 5%. This represents an average difference of 750-fold! And now those at the bottom and even those in the middle whose status is under threat are starting to revolt.
However, the protesters also come from another segment of society. Highly educated young people who are not protesting because of economic insecurity, but because they feel that certain values are missing. They are the people rallying to Sanders in the U.S., to Podemos in Spain, Syriza in Greece and to other strongly leftist political movements elsewhere.
Another reason for the dissatisfaction is the hollowing out of democracy itself. More and more people believe that "one man, one vote" has been replaced by a system of "one dollar, one vote." Is there truth to this? There certainly is to the extent that money, corporations and lobbyists have a greater influence on democratic decisions than the will of the nameless millions of voters.
There are also two additional, interlinked phenomena. Traditional class-based societies began to disintegrate about 30 years ago. They were replaced by fractured societies comprised of citizens with multiple identities and beliefs whom traditional ideology-based parties are having difficulty organizing into uniform political communities. Furthermore, the social media revolution of the last decade has resulted in a change from hierarchical, closed political parties into open, network-based, virtual social communities.
In our region this is exacerbated by the belief of many that the change in regime did not bring a better, but rather a more uncertain life. The belief that Brussels forced us to open our markets to Western companies which brought vulnerability, subservience and eventually increased poverty.
So here are the disappointed millions who, as their opportunities continue to shrink, are slowly turning against the decades-old order of Western democracies. They have started to revolt and are becoming more and more effective at organizing themselves over the Internet. They are currently still in the denial phase and are willing to support almost anything that stands in contrast to the established economic and political order.
The proposed solutions by leaders of these movements are murky. Bernie Sanders wants socialism in America. Donald Trump does not want to allow any more Muslim immigrants to enter the United States. London's former mayor, Boris Johnson, is campaigning for Great Britain to leave the European Union. Viktor Orbán and Jarosław Kaczyński are replacing the rule of law with a Putin-inspired "directed democracy." These responses are confusing even after taking into consideration that the political actors mentioned do not in any way comprise a uniform group.
The debate can no longer be about whether Western democracy is in trouble, but rather about the potential solutions. Trump and Orbán favor isolation and the protection of the elites as solutions, arguing that this will restore order. In the words of Polonius: "Though this be madness, yet there is method in't." However, we want peace and security for entire societies, not just for the privileged few.
By the end of the 1980s I slowly started to understand that nothing can override the order created by freedom. As such, I became and have remained an enthusiastic supporter of the change in regime in Central Europe. However, the freedom unleashed by the change in regime cannot mean that the strong can get away with anything while the weak must put up with it. If freedom does not bring hope and opportunity to the masses then it creates a worse, not a better life for them. Such one-sided freedom results in the masses turning against freedom itself. People disappointed by freedom and seeking new paths are ready to back almost anyone who stands against the democratic order of recent decades. This is fertile ground for populists, nationalists and anyone who promises to break with the past and usher in a different future.
In this way, the freedom of the few against the interests of the many brings upheaval, not stability and order. However, it is evident that this cannot be in the interests of the privileged few either because sooner or later the fear brought on by the anger of the masses will result in them locking themselves in private prisons, surrounded by bodyguards behind the fences of their luxury villas. It is time to change. Otherwise, a catastrophe is inevitable for both the rich and the poor. Everything that is beautiful and uplifting in our Western world will be lost. Or the West will simply become the East. The Wild East...
The only solution is to democratize democracy. If the people believe that democracy is not democratic enough, then the solution is not to take away what little remains of democracy but instead to infuse it with new life. We have to understand that if the current disparities in wealth and income persist then the resulting discontent will sooner or later destroy our world. We cannot continue on a path which provides little or nothing to the working millions, despite economic growth and stable corporate profits. It is not enough to democratize rights and freedoms. Hope, opportunity and upward mobility must be democratized also. It is not right to make people work for a few hundred euros a month. The legal minimum wage should not be below the poverty line. We need a decent European social charter which recognizes the right of workers to stable real wages and their right to a reasonable share of corporate profits. In the age of self-employment and micro & small enterprises, collective contracts no longer have the effectiveness that they did in the era of large corporations. Start-ups which power technological and business innovation are spreading like wild mushrooms, in many cases only to implode in short order. In a world such as this we cannot talk about traditional protections. A new type of income and social safety net is needed. We need to design version 2.0 of the welfare state. The political security and economic European Union must be complemented by the Europe of social security. Corporations, be they small or large, cannot be stronger than the interests of their workers. This must be institutionalized and guaranteed.
New rules are needed to ensure the transparency of political decisions, to control the power of the business lobby and to involve the electorate in decisions to a greater extent. We must expand the use of direct referendums, allow more decisions to be made at the local level, and regain the trust that has been lost in the political system. This is true even in our disintegrating world in which many people want to leave decision-making to a small group of elites, believing that the issues are too complex and that the general electorate does not have the knowledge to deal with them wisely. We must create wide-ranging forums for institutionalized social dialogue. There should be legally-guaranteed forums in schools for students, teachers and parents, in hospitals for patients and doctors, within social welfare institutions and between government and the representatives of the professions. Dialogue-based democracy can make millions a part of the decision-making process, turning common decision making into common practice. We should strive to make as many elements as possible of argument-based and consensus-based decision making–"deliberative democracy"– a part of our political discourse.
As a final thought, if we accept the fact that political parties with roots in the 19th century are increasingly less capable of organizing effective political communities, we must reflect on this as well. Without parties there can be no parliamentary democracy, while without social communities there is no effective discourse and without Internet communities there is no free and wide-ranging airing of opinions. Instead of simply conflicts between political parties, we must organize competitive social networks in which parties, advocacy groups and virtual communities work together based on their own beliefs and their own solutions. Put more simply, a political system based on rivalry between parties should be replaced by a system based on both co-operation and rivalry between social networks.
Everything I have discussed can only be partly realized within national boundaries. Since if, for example, we Hungarians provide increased protections to workers then we run the risk that investors and corporations will seek opportunities elsewhere. A socially democratic world can only be created together at the European level. If the business world organizes itself globally, then we must at least think in terms of Europe.
There are those who would curtail our freedoms because they believe this is the way to create a more orderly and perhaps better world. I recommend the opposite. To protect freedom, we need more freedom. But instead of selfishness, we need social responsibility and the freedom and opportunity for all to participate. Freedom and opportunity. We must not allow the order of freedom to be disrupted by the absence of freedom for all. Otherwise, there is nothing except maybe revolution, which in the end would destroy everything we have lived for and believed in and what we call Europe.
Published on Wednesday, 06 April 2016 19:20
Solidarity. 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 solidarity to someone who is in trouble. That is how Germany is also using the term. They are in trouble (not the migrants) and they expect other member states to help them, having made a fatal mistake in letting in uncontrolled masses of people from Syria, Iraq and who knows from where else. The German authorities had to realize quickly that neither the authorities nor its policy-makers could get to grips with mass migration, a phenomenon of which Ms Merkel expected to fill up the labour market. However, most migrants are not willing to integrate, they cannot find employment and, as a consequence, they start to commit crimes, like drug dealing, theft or violence against women and the most vulnerable. Even though the federal government received warnings from several German politicians that the federal states cannot cope with the influx of people, the German chancellor decided not to heed these them. Instead, Ms Merkel and their political allies invented a special form of solidarity, which is used day in and day out to try to save the face of the Iron Lady. The vast majority of the people in the European Union don't wish to accept Brussels's solidarity, which basically intends to compel other member states to bear the brunt of Germany's irresponsible adventure and strategic dilettantism. The Balkan states, Austria, and Hungary have given ample solidarity to Germany last year when they organized the travelling of these uncontrolled masses to Germany at their own expense, without any help from Brussels. The clueless trio of Mr Juncker, Mr Schulz and Ms Merkel looked on with calm how tiny Macedonia tried to bring in some order. Of course, as the Macedonian PM told later, that too, without any sort of help from the European Union. As the number of migrants grew, so did the random attacks against women, jews and christians. Many thousands of Jews who left France and Germany for Israel would also have liked to get some solidarity. Many women, who were humiliated in Cologne and elsewhere, would have liked some solidarity from Ms Merkel and Henriette Raker, the mayor of Cologne. Instead, women were given the advice to keep an arm's length from migrants, (basically telling them that if they are raped, its their fault) and were given the chance to travel in segregated carriages. The enlightened reader would have thought that these kinds of problems were consigned to history, but, no, racial and religious segregation reared its ugly head, in a country that has been known for its progression and development. Jews would also have liked to have some part in German solidarity. Instead, many of them dare not to go out in to the streets wearing their religious attire, because they are exposing themselves to attacks by muslims. Some of the policemen and policewomen also would have wanted some solidarity, many of them who described in bestseller books, how their job had become impossible in areas where there are big numbers of muslim migrants. Instead of solidarity, they got the deafening silence from the German mainstream media. Christians, especially those who fled from IS would have also wanted a little solidarity. These people have been for years the victims of genocide. The number of Iraqi Christians sunk from two million to 180,000 in a decade. Most of them fled, died or were forced to convert. They too, wanted solidarity. But, astonishingly, even in Germany, where they thought they could live in peace and without the thought of having to die, they had to come to terms with the harsh reality that in the German refugee camps, they are abused, beaten, and threatened, just as they were in Iraq. Oh yes, many of them would like some solidarity and the help of the UN or other human rights organizations that are so worried about the state of muslim migrants in the EU member state Greece, but are not really interested in what is going on in Erbil, Iraq, where there is a huge camp for the displaced Christians, and who are mainly helped by Catholic aid organizations. What about the citizens of the European Union? Are we to receive a little solidarity from the liberals whose policies made sure that right wing extremism is an every day phenomenon? Who is going to solidarize with the average European whose streets and public squares are occupied by far right groups looking for a fight? No matter what we call it, Jobbik ,Soldiers of Odin, Pegida, Front National or Muslim Patrols, this phenomenon was made possible by the reckless policies of Brussels. Last, but not least, the police forces of the Balkan countries and of Hungary would have appreciated a little solidarity from the chancellor. Many of them don't understand how can it be possible that when so called right wing radicals in Germany attack the police, they are only doing their job and defend the people, whereas if the attack is committed by agressive migrants the very same police is made out to be a bully. The people don't want the solidarity as invented and interpreted by Ms Merkel and Brussels. Solidarity and responsibility are two different things. Brussels has to face its own mistakes and instead of demanding solidarity, they have to take responsibility. As far as we are concerned, we will still be showing solidarity for those who are in need of it. The humiliated women, the abused and displaced Christians and the intimidated and persecuted Jews. And for the all the people of Europe who think that solidarity cannot be appropriated.
László Társi, FreeHungary; April 6. 2016.
Published on Wednesday, 23 March 2016 20:30
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 policies or it goes to the wall in the same way – political scientist Gábor Török told Hungarian daily Magyar Nemzet in an interview. Mr Török believes that the party's current generation – amongst whom, he mentioned Árpád Habony, Szilárd Németh, Andy Vajna and Cecília Rogán (!) as examples – will stick to the premier until he can distribute the prey amongst them. However, problems will arise if the regime wavers either during the time of the 2018 or the 2022 elections. But the biggest danger to the Prime Minister is that he might lose his personal charm.
There is no chance for a change that would see the ruling Fidesz party's strategies return to the earlier, values-based way of making politics (in which the concept of 'civic Hungary' was not merely a political product) – Mr Török opined. In his view, change is now only possible in the event of a downfall. "Let us compare András Wermer and Árpád Habony, for example. The former also knew a lot about the techniques of selling washing powder (maybe even more than the latter), but for him, the concept of 'civic Hungary' was not a product. In his case, personal commitment based upon principles was obvious. The same thing cannot be said about Árpád Habony. "According to the logic of Habony, there is no way back; what is more, the present way of making politics is very successful" – the analyst claimed, adding that the ruling "Fidesz either becomes successful like this for years to come or it goes to the wall in the same way".
In Török's opinion, it is possible that some may desert from the party; however, "Viktor Orbán built up a central political power structure from nothing that is completely unprecedented within a democratic political framework", and that "there is no way that either János Lázár or Antal Rogán could get in the way of it". And the regime will stay as it is today, even when Török believes that "it could be harmful for them that the ruling Fidesz party's societal image changed completely." Because whilst during the first Orbán government, the party was represented by politicians who were controversial, but were also respected by many, such as József Szájer, László Kövér or János Áder, by now, it is the names of Árpád Habony, Szilárd Németh, Andy Vajna or Cecília Rogán that are associated with Fidesz, and they convey a totally different image of the party" – Török argued.
In his opinion, the newcomers are indeed motivated by power and the privileges that come with it. "As long as Orbán can provide these to them – i.e., as long as he can win elections and distribute the prey amongst them –, they will back him. However, problems will arise if the regime wavers either during the time of the 2018 or the 2022 elections. But the biggest danger to Orbán is that he might lose his personal charm. It is not a coincidence that recently he has made it clear that he will continue to seek prime ministerial candidacy, and that he does not wish to retire from the top" – the political analyst stated, noting that the Orbán regime can only end in failure.
The analyst opined that at the time of the '98 electoral victory, the leadership of the ruling party did believe in the ideal of the 'civic Hungary', and that it was mainly the lesson learnt from the 2002 electoral defeat that made them change course. It is because of this that nowadays they are making politics in a much more cynical and realist way. "If there is something I would readily change in the political history of modern Hungary, it is the results of the 2002 general elections" – summed it up the analyst, because in his view, the ruling Fidesz party drew very bad conclusions from 2002, and it was also harmful to the then-Socialist Party that it could win with the kind of policies it had used back then.
At the end of the interview, Mr Török spoke about the ruling Fidesz party's loss in popularity. In his opinion, saying that there is no willingness to see a change in government may be true in the sense that it has no political manifestation. However, hostility is growing, that much is obvious. "Compared to 2010, the world has changed a lot, and even those who continue to favour Fidesz increasingly see such issues as problematic. Of course, they say that Fidesz did a lot more good to the country than those that had governed before, but nowadays not even them are uncritical anymore. Opinion polls are not able to show all forms of amortisation." – Gábor Török concluded.
Gábor Török, mno.hu
Published on Wednesday, 23 March 2016 20:20
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 internal contradictions are starting to be more and more apparent, as the prime minister is trying to keep a balance between the heavily centralised government, the local authorities and the oligarchy. As much as he is trying to find a way out, the system is crumbling under its contradictions and inefficiency. By taking away power from the local authorities, the health service and the schools, he made things worse, instead of making them easier and more transparent.
László Lengyel, Népszabadság
Published on Thursday, 14 January 2016 20:51
The 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 and how it will effect the EU. This year could mark a watershed and even a political tranformation or reorder is not far fetched. Ms Merkel's insistence in accomodating every migrant coming from a war-torn land backfired, her country and her government is in chaos. The German authorities underestimated the dangers what hundreds of thousands of migrants may bring, and now the gruesome reality of this failure is beginning to show every day in the German society. The initial 'Willkommenskultur' has faded into the past, giving its place to daily clashes between migrants, sexual abuses, insecurity and a rising far-right. The citizens are calling into question the reliability of their chancellor, of the political elite and the media, which, quite unbelieavably, failed to report several attacks on young women. A few months ago, countries that recognised the real dangers of unchecked migration were called racists and and were accused of disregarding the values of the European Union. These very same countries are now suffering from conditions, which most Europeans never thought they would have to consider in the twenty-first century. Parents don't dare to let their daughters to go to a club, because there is a considerable chance that she will be assaulted. Physical attacks against the Jews is on the rise again, and neither the German nor the French police are able to protect them. Instead of a determined , no-nonsense stance to tackle this problem, Jews of Marseille are advised not to wear the kippah, while Henriette Reker, the mayor of Cologne, advised women and girls to keep a distance from migrants, if they don't wish to be assaulted. Basically, the leader of a major European city, who herself is a woman, made girls responsible for the savage behaviour of the migrants. The misguided policy of Germany and Brussels not only are causing tensions in France, Austria, Sweden, but it has reached the point where the unity of the EU itself is at a risk. Denmark and Sweden have reestablished border controls, in Finland the rising far right has created an anti migrant patrol unit. Poland has decided to follow the increasingly arbitrary policies of Hungary, where the media law has been changed in a similar way. The only problem is that Brussels and Germany has lost the moral credibility to preach about press freedom in the wake of New Year's Eve. The Hungarian prime minister is now a popular figure in Europe, and no matter how corrupt he is, no matter how many young Hungarian doctors are fleeing to Western Europe, the misguided migrant policy of the opposition probably means that Fidesz will still be the governing party in 2018. Ms Merkel's famous 'wir schaffen das' (we can do it) phrase has turned out to be a huge self-deception. If the German chancellor's intention, which I doubt, had been to destabilize the Union, the Schengen system, and people's belief in their own police and media, than she was right. Sie hat es geschafft.
László Társi; FreeHungary; January 14. 2016.
Published on Wednesday, 09 December 2015 14:16
November 14th 2015
I 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 terrorists was a refugee from Syria who had managed to travel unchecked across Europe before being given asylum in France. Perhaps France should have followed my lead and built a fence to keep these scum out, but it would be inappropriate of me to trumpet "I told you so!" at this time. I will wait at least a few days before I do that.
November 16th 2015
Hurrah! Hurrah! Rejoice!
Hungary has qualified for the Euro 2016 football tournament, after beating Norway in the playoffs last night! I must confess I got totally Palinkad last night and had a pretty rotten headache all day. This was actually an advantage, since when I expressed my condolences to the French today, I looked totally ashen!
Another one of my cornerstone policies has borne fruit! My critics knocked me when I built all those football stadiums across the country (and one in my front garden), but once again I have been proved right. What this country needs is a government that can make it great again, not a nanny state that wastes money on education and health!
December 6th 2015
Today is the feast of St Nicholas. As is customary, Father Christmas (Mikulás) visits the homes of all good children on the eve before this feast, and leaves them presents while they are sleeping.
The Orban children certainly appreciated the gifts that Mikulás got for them. VIP tickets in the politicians boxed at the Euro 2016 football tournament for Gaspar! Another public procurement contract for my son in law Tibor....
December 8th 2015
A member of Parliament quizzed me today on the procurement processes in Hungary, asking why it was that people close to me always win public procurement processes. I told this man that if he has any concrete evidence, he should give it to the relevant authorities. I did not inform him that the head of the prosecutor's office (my old mate Peter Polt) will ensure that any such evidence is shredded immediately, but did tell him that Hungary has the strictest public procurement process in Europe and that we are totally transparent – one could almost say brazen!
Published on Thursday, 12 November 2015 14:31
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 reminds us of the security forces from the previous era. But the regime will do everything it wants, because there is no one to stop them. And the people will surely resign to it and accept it. All that is left to find out, is where the spies will be placed? Will it be only opposition newsrooms? Or pro-government newsrooms as well? We are yet to know that, but what we already know is that this measure will surely drive a wedge between journalists and informers, journalists and their sources and it might disrupt the whole process of journalitic profession in Hungary. As a journalist, I cannot accept this, and i stand in solidarity with my colleagues.
Published on Thursday, 29 October 2015 20:02
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 opposition political powers. DK is not bothered with the jealousy. It is not bothered either that regarding Gyurcsány's pamphlet some only have a comment on the author. They ask why the former prime minister wrote that. We have no choice, we have to go ahead.
It seems the pamphlet is impressive. Even the sceptics admit it that it is an important summary and contains many progressive thoughts. It is difficult the react on it. It is awkward to agree with the pamphlet, while it is a cliché to disagree with it. I was cheerful when I read an unnamed MSZP politician's comment saying 'it is an axiom that the side where Ferenc Gyurcsány is active is not able to win the elections'.It is like the unnamed politician did not know that his side was only able to win the elections last time when it was led by Gyrucsány. 2010 and 2014 are more blurred. So the 'axiom' is just simply false. Its opposite is rahter true. His role is proven, it can be won with him and not without him.
Együtt also challenged the pamphlet and also anonymously. According to Együtt the pamphlet's problematic point is its author.
I don't know who is happy and who is not happy with it, but DK is not going to stop. Two hundred experts work on DK's electional programme. This will be passed by the congress next February. We don't ask for external approval. We are not going to be crazy, even some will distance himself from DK. Present electional law forces the co-operation.To sum up, the provocation is pointless, as we are not going to mess with anyone.
Published on Thursday, 10 September 2015 18:07
He does what is not done by any other politician. He accommodates refugees in his home. He gives clothes that his children have outgrown to them, and cooks food for them - at 10.00 p.m. They take children to the doctor. Bed linen must be changed, dishes must be washed, everyone takes a bath, for which soap and towels are needed. Then, to get up early in the morning, to drive them to the railway station or a government office so that they can leave the country or receive their documents at last.
Most of them do not speak any language other than their own. There are people who have only the clothes that they have been wearing - for two weeks... One of the kids who arrived yesterday is four months old, but his mother breast-feeds him. She could have slept at the Keleti (Eastern) Railway Station but instead she was able to sleep in a bed.
I do not care who criticizes. I don't care who does not like it. I don't care how many people rattle that, in their opinion, this politician just shows himself, "he plays the buffoon". It is not interesting what they say. If he does not help, why does he not help, since he has ample money? If he helps, why does he just help these people? And why are photos made?
Well, photos are made for the purpose that as many people as possible know: there are such people as well. And there is the other group where Orbán's inhumane "Christian" government hurts people fleeing from war who are already at the border. Photos are also necessary to see if you have eyes for it: Orbán and Gyurcsány are not only not the same but they are as different as chalk and cheese.
The other accusation is that "he comes on strong; less would be more". Now, when Lady Diana or Audrey Hepburn helped, photos were made of them and of abject, bony black people, it was not "coming on strong". Then we look at the photos with tears in our eyes stating, what a splendid gesture it actually was. But in case a Hungarian politician does the same, and what is more, the one whom we do not like, then we are shocked and we mock him.
Another person showing hysterics mentions the referendum of 2004 referring to the fact that he (Gyurcsány) failed to give double citizenship to Hungarian "refugees". It is not interesting for such persons that nobody fled at that time. Romania was a member of the European Union and Orbán acted without a backbone even at that time. In 2001 the first Orbán government made it clear in an official communication: he did not want to give dual citizenship. But in 2004 they lied already: there would not be any voting right, only citizenship.
We should really adjust ourselves to when and what Orbán actually said? We would feel giddy from the many turns...
Earlier he declared that we should accommodate several tens of thousands of refugees so that we have an adequate workforce in Hungary. When he thought so, Fidesz fans agreed with it and now, when Orbán is of the opinion that refugees should pack off, they agree with that. This is the only thing that they are able to do. This would be the guide to follow?
I suggest to other people as well that they should also accommodate refugees. Socialist, LMP, Fidesz, Liberal and Együtt politicians. Believe me, it is worth it. And there shall be a lot of photos of that. The experience of love, gratitude and mutual recognition remains forever. And it is even much better and healthier to live in this way than to loathe someone whom you do not really know, who only turned up here fleeing from war. Then, before you would come to hate them properly, they leave the country, they do not jeopardize your job, your medical care or your culture.
In the summer of 1989, the Németh government accepted and gave accommodation to more than thirty thousand East-German refugees. Today Orbán threatens 3 or 4 thousand people and frightens his home-land with so many people. Another similarity is that the refugees did not want to stay here in 1989 and they do not want to do that today either.
Orbán competes with the Jobbik party. Vona and his party showed at the railway station too that they would be apt to do anything wrong if they come into power. Orbán dreads that his voters drift to Jobbik. He does not realize that the more he asserts the extreme right, xenophobe line, the better he will lose to his former crony from the Civil Circles. Tapolca sent a message; only this rascal does not hear it in the din of battle generated by himself.
A human being should do what he feels to be the best. Both politicians and civil persons. Every respect to those who devote their time and money to helping these unblessed people. They know what Fidesz and Jobbik people will never know: it is a different feeling to go to bed malignantly at the end of a day than with the knowledge that we have helped others.
Posterity will preserve on golden sheets the names of those who gave something to others - and of those who dismantled walls and fencing. Pope Francis does and says what is needed. The Bishop of Vienna opens churches but the Bishop of Esztergom does not do anything. Orbán, Vona, Semjén and the others will throw crosses on themselves, will march in processions, just their soul remains dirty. And if there is a God who sees that, I would not be in their place.
Sztarklikk.hu; Zsolt Gréczy
Published on Friday, 31 July 2015 04:54
The United Nations today enjoys tremendous authority, thanks to the fulfilment of the dreams of its founding fathers. But significant administrative and institutional decisions will always provide a jolt back to reality. This jolt is coming in the next twelve months, as the decision is made about the election of a new Secretary General who will guide and lead the organisation in the coming years in the midst of a changing strategic, political and economic environment. It is no surprise that the selection criteria are moving targets. They have always moved, throughout the 70-year-long history of the UN. No country or politician can specify the exact method of the selection procedure. But this time, there is an increasingly strong demand from all quarters that it should be transparent and inclusive. That should guarantee that the final decision on the candidate will reflect not only the ideas of the Permanent Members of the Security Council, essential of course, but also of those numerous countries that believe that the UN should be capable of meeting the demands imposed on it by different crisis situations of varying complexity and size.
The nomination of a particular person can signal a new (or an old) direction for the organisation. They can also send positive (or negative!) messages to others on their political intentions and expectations vis-à-vis the future role to be played and tasks to be performed by the organisation. A qualified and experienced candidate capable of taking autonomous professional and political decisions, when elected, would best serve the interests of the organisation and meet the values and standards the organisation stands for. But it not easy to find such a candidate, or to choose them once found.
The UN's geographical groups will play an important role in the decision. While there is in practice a principle of rotation between the groups, there is no written procedure as to which group can offer a UNSG candidate and for what terms, and no established sequence of nomination either. A group whose members can quickly establish consensus around a viable candidate will have a powerful advantage. So far the Western European and Others Group (WEOG, which includes also Canada, the USA, Israel, Australia) has provided four UNSGs (for 7 terms), the Asian Group 2 UNSGs (4 terms), the African group has had two UNSGs (for 3 terms), and the Latin-American Group has given 1 UNSG (for 2 terms).
The Eastern European Group has provided no UNSG so far, in the 70 year long history of the UN!
One possible reason for this could be the former division of Europe, during the cold war. Another reason could also be that this group did not have any ambition and aspiration to pursue such a project, and there was no optimal candidate, no real good personalities, on the horizon. One also has to say that the Eastern European Group never previously complained about the lack of her candidate in the position. But this time there seems to be an evolving understanding that the Eastern European Group should now present a candidate for the job, and a joint letter from the group as a whole stating that it is their turn was published last November.
There are 23 states among the Central European geographical group. It is a very colourful entity! They include the Russian Federation, and also EU/NATO member states. Same region, different historical sensitivities and strategic alternatives. But still, a good candidate needs unity at the end of the day. Shallow unity behind empty phrases is an acceptable strategy in good times — but a recipe for disaster when times are tough. Therefore, the Eastern-European Group will need to make a concerted effort to choose its own candidate and get him or her accepted by the Security Council and the General Assembly.
Some of the countries of the Eastern European Group, on a national basis and informally, have already presented the names of their own possible national candidates for the post. They did it without any previous inter-state coordination among the member states of the group and without knowing the likely reactions to their candidates. The name of Danilo Türk, a former President of Slovenia, is frequently mentioned in this context, as well as two Slovaks: Ján Kubiš, a former diplomat who is now the Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Mission in Iraq, and Miroslav Lajčák, currently Foreign Minister of Slovakia.
These informal announcements are the first and unavoidable phase of informal consultations. These countries can check if there is any major objection or a tacit support vis-à-vis their candidates. Needless to say that these informal announcements can confirm the readiness and intentions of the countries of the region individually to come up with a viable candidate, but the numerous competing candidates are not consistent with the group's collective interest of securing the victory of a joint candidate.
The press and media have started already contemplating the possible Eastern European nominees. One very important condition (though not the only one) of the nomination of a viable candidate is the support (or at least the consent) of Russia. A candidate who is vulnerable to a Russian veto is not even worth being considered. However, one has to add to this argument, that the successful candidate must be acceptable to all five permanent members of the Security Council, which is very internally divided on issues like the Ukrainian-Russian crisis. The candidate should have high ranking diplomatic/political experience and the support of his/her government, and the nomination also depends on the current position he/she holds right now.
In an organisation where cultural diversity and gender balance have a meaning and long standing importance, a female candidate speaking French and Russian (in addition to English, the modern lingua franca) will have a strong advantage, and will satisfy the informal criteria of some UNSC members.
Of the many excellent candidates whose names have already been floating around, the name of Irina Bokova, former Bulgarian minister of foreign affairs, now in her second term as the Director-General of UNESCO emerges. She has gained a good reputation for her consensual style of leadership and managerial abilities, and has already been endorsed by the Bulgarian government. She is also said to be acceptable to Russia and the United States (educated in Moscow and Washington), and not negligibly speaks fluent French – she was awarded the Légion d'Honneur by President Francois Hollande in July.
A short list to be presented for final decision without her name would not be complete. The Eastern European Group could and should line up behind her (sources say that she enjoys the support of Poland already). The sooner the EEG comes to an agreement on the candidate the better are the chances that other geographical groups do not start contemplating their own candidates. Only a good and viable EEG candidate can slow down or stop feeding the hope and expectation of other groups on the nomination of their own candidates.
Irina Bokova, with her professional and political experiences, network and abilities is best placed to secure the position of UN Secretary-General for our region, which has been passed over for 70 years.
Károly Banai; freehungary.hu; July 31. 2015.
Published on Wednesday, 15 July 2015 15:22
For many years now, the issue of immigration to Europe from third world countries posed a huge problem to the European Union. Shamefully, and uniquely, the European Union is the only Western place in the world which has been unable to handle the crisis. The paper-pushers of Brussels organise a summit now and then, when it seems that the situation is getting out of hand, but after that, there is nothing. The Eurocrats , apart from issuing useless quotas, and which are rejected by the European population, don't have the foggiest idea about what should be done. This appalling dilettantism, it seems, is very much liked by the Hungarian Left, that has so much discredited itself with the issue of immigration that it may just have delivered Mr Orbán his next four years in office. You don't have to possess the political vision in order to see that the pressure caused by illegal migration will cause huge problems and may endanger the existence of the EU itself. However, Ms Kunhalmi, Mr Tóbiás and Mr Botka, all three of them members of the moribund socialist party, do lack all kinds of vision. Mr Botka and Mr Tóbiás accused Mr Orbán that the prime minister himself created the problem of immigration to divert attention from his policies. As the two Socialists politicians were accusing Mr Orbán, migrants at the border with Serbia refused to allow the police to have them registered. A week later, migrants in Debrecen wreaked havoc over a religious conflict from within the refugee camp, which then spread to the streets, ending in atrocities against the locals. It is clear that, both Mr Botka and Mr Tóbiás was aware of the scale of the problem, they just tried to use it to suck up to the liberal establishment in Brussels, which are as clueless as their Hungarian counterparts. Seeing the ever growing pressure and the uselessness of Brussels, the Hungarian government decided to construct a wall to try to stem the tide of the migrants. The wall has come under fire from the Hungarian Left. It may not be the best solution, but this is what the Spanish, the British, the Bulgarians and the Greeks did at their respective borders. The fact alone that EU members are obliged to construct walls proves only the absolute dilettantism of the European Union. The Left has also accused Mr Orbán with deliberately calling refugees illegals. The truth is that in order to establish who is a real refugee and who isn't, there has to be a working border police controlled by the Hungarian authorities. If it were up Ms Kunhalmi and her friends, anyone could gain entrance to the territory of the EU, without the chance of verifying if a given person was really entitled to the refugee status. According to György Nógrádi, the best known security analyst in Hungary, who spent time in Serbia to observe the crisis, the migrants come in an organized way, they know when and where to cross the border. They use their smart phones to pass information to their friends. It is clear that the migrants are very well versed in evading the authorities, they know their rights and they know what to say if apprehended. This information was given to them by human traffickers who earn themselves sick at the expense of the locals. The Hungarian Left, when it is accusing the government of hate campaign, should know that what they are doing is encouraging organized crime by supporting human traffic. Many people do not like the present government, the corruption and the increasing poverty. However, the opposition, by lying into the face of their voters, will only contribute to our suffering by giving an additional four years to the prime minister.
Published on Wednesday, 15 July 2015 19:49
Everyone deals with the refugee issue; sometimes a government scandal comes up, another time András Schiffer (LMP) feels that they need to be more Fidesz than Fidesz and speaks about traitors, although the news could be focusing on other things as well. The Democratic Coalition (DK) is currently undertaking tasks that the government should be doing. It provides food to hungry kids and organizes summer camps for them with sport programs. No giant billboards were made for 600 million forints, no news programs report about it every five minutes, but it still happens.
The funds to support these initiatives are received from local entrepreneurs or are provided from DK membership fees. Some DK municipal assembly members also donated one month salary.
No thanks are expected because we are doing our duty. However, it is worth mentioning that such things also happen in the summer of 2015, in Hungary, a country of hatred.
Many people ask nowadays, where is the left, where is social sensitivity? That there are only words and nothing happens. However, in reality, something does happen.
And we go on with that in the autumn. In a country of four million poor, helpfulness and social solidarity cannot be absent.
Author: Zsolt Gréczy
Published on Wednesday, 08 July 2015 07:11
This is one of the most important questions of the post-Orbán world. These days, however, many might dismiss it by saying 'come on, just look how far we are from this'. Even so, the question is unavoidable.Read more: Can We Call Them to Account? -Gréczy’s blog