Hungary to build second line of border defence

Prime minister Viktor Orbán said in this regular radio interview  today that  Hungary is going to build a new, “massive, serious defense system” on its Southern borders to defend against a possible surge in the number of migrants.  “The fortified barrier will be able to stop several hundreds of thousands of people if, for example, Turkey allows the millions of migrants to leave for Western Europe.”

He suggested that Austria should help defending the Serbian-Hungarian border, or preferably the Macedonian-Greek border, together with the other Central European countries, instead of  focussing on the Austrian-Hungarian border.

The Hungarian government announced last week that they will employ 3000 more policemen to defend the border. The recruitment will start in September and, after their fast track training, they will be deployed already next spring.

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After the morning interview, PM Orbán left for Warsaw where he and other V4 leaders will meet German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The prime minister said that “people  who claim there’s no connection between the migration and terrorism either haven’t the foggiest or they try to conceals clear-cut facts for some reason.  Terrorism has increased in Europe because hundreds of thousands uncontrolled migrants appeared places where the Western world is regarded enemy. There’s a semi-war situation in Europe and you cannot risk people’s safety under such circumstances”.

Mr. Orbán also said that the European leaders should reject the forced migrant quota idea of the Brussels bureaucrats. The V4 leaders want change and the question is if Angela Merkel would be a partner to V4 this afternoon.  He said that the result of the meeting hangs in the balance.  There are several issues where the viewpoints are not known. “I myself haven’t unfolded all my cards either”.

“The October 2 referendum will mean that a European nation won’t accept the decision of the Brussels bureaucrats. So that will not result in a negotiating position.  That will result in a final, solid Hungarian stance. This may rally many other countries to Hungary’s side as well”, he added.

 

POLITICS IN CZECH REPUBLIC, POLAND, SLOVAKIA AND HUNGARY PART 1 OF 5

PREFACE

This is the first part of a five part post dealing with Czech republic: sections on Poland, Slovakia and very briefly on Hungary (see next paragraph) follow and then a short round-up and some personal notes. Also, let me just point out that this post is very much related to Leto’s August issue on Hungary’s Parliament which I did not see until well into my post. I will deal with Hungary in a few lines as Leto has done a far more competent job than I, but I suggest you read the all the posts together. In many ways my posts could have been a massive comment to Leto’s offering rather than a new post.

Czech Republic

Let’s look at other nations in Central Europe – Mittel-Europa if you will – in alphabetical order. Often forgotten is the velvet divorce of 1993 when Czechoslovakia split, totally amicably into 2 sovereign nations. This has had the following legacy. First two sovereign nations that are smaller and therefore more inclined to underline their sovereignty, over and above the natural tendency of those other nations gnawed out of existence by the Hapsburg, Russian (or Soviet) and Prusso-Germanic empires to reassert their identity, national sovereignty and communal validity. The last time they did this was the Dubcek, Svoboda inspired ‘spring’of 1968 when the nations were still the joined Czechoslovakia. Czechs and Slovaks are working more and more together. The languages are similar.

I have a daughter and family in Bratislava and one grandson at Prague uni.. He tells me in some conversations the language difference is like British English to USA English, in other topics more like Portuguese to Italian and very occasionally like French to Rumanian. These two nations compete in a good healthy fashion, yet cooperate and the cooperation is facilitated by the Visegrad alliance. The annual chair changes each July and is currently Poland.  Visegrad provides more information on the cooperation, notably nuclear energy, fiscal reserves, defence and security cohesion, research and development sharing through the IVF.  This regional cooperation works very well and the links to other regions – Nordic (Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden) and Benelux (Belgium, Nederland, Luxembourg) is reaping more benefit than individual interactions with Brussels, according to many sources in the V4 and all without the sovereignty drain or regulation encumbrance. There are also many who view the Czech and Slovak economies (except the somewhat trailing eastern Slovak Kosice and Presov region) as being a more advanced market economy with a competitive manufacturing and engineering services base than either Poland or Hungary. These views have rapidly modified and improved over the years as most ‘think-tanks’ of the 1990-2005 period reckoned on at least a twenty year hiatus to complete moves to a market economy and genuine popular democracy. It has been shown to be otherwise. In the current political aura of friction and for historic reasons mentioned above Czech republic has asked the democracy question and demanded discussion on the deficit and accountability of the EU regularly since 2009. President Klaus who asked the questions first now runs the Klaus Institute which has become a focal point for groups who believe the EU to be dysfunctional and/or anti-democratic –  but this could never be considered a very extreme or angry group, although Verhofstadt calls them fascists.

Here is Vaclav Klaus asking reasonable questions of EU Parliament:

Listen to the derision from the bigots in the Parliament and here is his only defence from the Parliament floor:

How is the Czech Republic governed?  Well, as in most of Europe and even in the UK now since 2010 a coalition, often but not always multi-party, is the norm. This often means quite weak government perpetually hinging policy on party compromise. The Czech system has a Senate of popularly elected 81 seats, very much modelled on the US with 6 year terms and 1/3 for re-election every 2 years. The senate is not popular, election turnout is almost derisory and there is talk of doing away with it, or at least reducing it to 3 members for each of 14 provinces – 42 members. It is after all very largely an amendment chamber and only has the right to initiate legislation that is directly related to the constitution. The deputies chamber consists of 200 seats, and a term of 4 years. Since the 2013 scandals power is now a coalition between the CSSD – a social democrat party with 50 seats, a completely new and fairly populist party, but centrist called ANO11 with 47 seats and a nationalist party – KDU-SL with 14 seats, thus a small majority of 111. CSSD leader, a fairly anodyne pro-EU guy called Sobotka, is the PM but his party is outnumbered in the coalition and the Czech president Zeman who has dissolution powers is moving more and more into the ANO11 posture. So CSSD under some populist pressure. Czech issues and accords with the EU Accords a) There is one abiding EU accord and that is agreement, especially from Sobotka on the formation of an EU army. He sees on conflict with NATO and is probably supporting the EU army, without UK not a very strong force, as an encouragement to NATO to increase anti-Russia vigilance and security. No EU army can be effective for a decade.

Issues:

  •  The lack of democracy, accountability and the usual checks and balances between the legislative, executive and judiciary. Appointment and anointment must stop. Czech republic suggested a Senate for the EU with popularly elected equal representation by member with the mandate of safeguarding states’ rights and providing legislative oversight. The model was the US Senate which in turn had been adopted by Czech republic. ‘Not needed’, Senate or any other mechanism was the EU’s obdurate dogmatic reply.
  • Perpetual hassling to join the Euro. The EU wants Czech republic to sacrifice the Koruna, about 28 to the euro. The EU also tried to manoeuvre V3 (Slovakia is in the eurozone) into the 5 year rule. This was a new rule of 2010 that said members must move to the Euro unless treaty-exempted within 5 years of joining. The case went to ECJ and V3 won. Next the lever being used was how well neighbour Slovakia had done but Slovakia is now in gentle, but accelerating retraction, so that argument has fallen away. The latest much more subtle and nasty lever is reducing EU funding. There are several interconnected aspects to this reduction. First all the tendering and contract procedures have been prolonged, especially on hanging projects where delays render structures and implementations from previous tasks useless and only their redoing at local cost permits the project to continue. Second the EU will now only subsidize jointly funded projects. Every euro must be met with at least one Koruna, sometimes the ratio is 1 Euro to 2 Koruna and of course the EU sets the exchange rate. Some of these necessary projects where delay costs massively are in a 1:3 euro to Koruna ratio and the Koruna is 40, not 28 to the euro. This is nothing more than gouging.  More on the funding lever. To give an idea of the projects the EU originally agreed to, but now sabotage for their own imperial will. I suppose in Prague they speak of EU defenestration. The situation would be far worse if direct funding from the Norway and Switzerland special EU deal was not there. Czech use these funds to avert infra-structure disaster –  One major incident is the Prague ring road completion of which leaving unprotected, no fund to pour concrete over metal enfilades before winter. The other is the deliberate delay on the main import/export goods route from Prague to Breslau – Wroclaw in Poland.
  • Migration quotas. Now here there is a clear resistance to the imposition of a quota as a result of a non-existent EU policy of discouragement, border control, registration and standard asylum processes. Czech republic has very strongly critical views of EU migration policy failure. Criticism is responded to with more and more aggression from Brussels.

Few facts on Czech republic: Population of 11 million people, 88% declare no religion: 10% Catholicism. High income economy – 67% of EU average. Energy exporter and a high quality techno-manufacturing economy with a very strong private sector.

Happy 1016th birthday, Hungary!

It’s St. Stephen‘s day today.  As most readers would know, people celebrate their “nameday” in Central and Eastern Europe and this is the nameday of our founding king, St. Stephen I. There are all sort of programs today: concerts or

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the traditional Artisans’ Fair in Buda Castle

Then there will be the fireworks as well tonight, of course.

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From a political point of view,  cabinet minister János Lázár, Prime Minister Orbán’s right-hand man, delivered a remarkable speech this morning:

Hungary has never renounced her sovereignty. An independent Christian state is St. Stephen’s heritage. The European Union is not a many century old political union, it’s a pilot project.  Today’s unelected European leaders with zero legitimacy try to tweak the basic treaties of the EU in stealth mode to their liking.  The EU is stricken by financial crises, Brexit and the migration crisis.  Brussels tries to sweep the chief problem, that is the diminishing prestige of the EU and the uncontrolled millions knocking on the gates, under the carpet with their mandatory migrant quota idea. Hungary’s preserving her sovereignty serves the interests of the European community, too.

If needed then we’ll defend Europe even from herself. Hungary will not let down those European citizens who are dissatisfied with Brussels. It’s not the idea, it’s the practice of  the European Union what is wrong.

There will be an EU summit on the migration crisis and Brexit in the capital of V4 country Slovakia ( Pozsony, Bratislava) in September.  We live in interesting times.

The Second Amendment and statistics

The “freedom to carry guns”, that is the Second Amendment, the holy cow of US politics,  is a pet topic for most Internet posters in the USA.  Among others, a bog standard argument of theirs is that “firearms actually reduce violence because the criminals and terrorists may expect to be shot by law abiding citizens”.  If one reads the news about the almost daily mass shootings in the USA then it’s quite obvious that this argument doesn’t hold much water.  Though the readers should feel free to quote documented examples in the comments section where such citizen heroism actually happened!

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Gun porn from Texas, USA

Since I do like numbers, now let’s see some statistics about deaths caused by firearms.

The firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population per year in the USA  is 10.54

Out of these,  the rate is 3.43 for for homicides and it’s 6.69 for suicides.

That’s the highest figure (by far) anywhere in the developed world!  Even neighbouring, infamously violent, third world country Mexico is doing better than the USA in this regard because their overall gun-related death rate is “only”  7.64. However the Mexicans do use their guns to kill other people and not to kill themselves. The homicides rate in Mexico is 6.34 and it is only 0.44 for suicides.

Now let’s compare this to the situation in the UK where there’s strict gun control. The firearm-related death rate per 100,000 population per year in the UK is 0.23. Yes, that’s 46 times less than in the USA. The rate for homicides in the UK:  0.06.   That’s 57 times less than in the USA. The figure is  0.15 for suicides, that is 45 times less than for the USA.

These statistical figures are practically the same in Hungary as in the UK and our gun laws are also very similar to the ones in the UK. (Though,  unlike in the UK, all our police are armed).

For comparison, the overall firearm-related homicide rate is well below 1.0 in each and every European country (with the notable exceptions of Montenegro and Cyprus).

It’s another common argument among the American “Second Amendment” Internet forum warriors (and among the “Second Amendment” journalists, aka gun salesmen)  that “the USA would produce similar gun-death rates as Europe without the African Americans”. Let’s investigate this claim finally.

According to the FBI, “Of the offenders for whom race was known, 53.1 percent were black, 44.6 percent were white, and 2.3 percent were of other races”

Blacks make up 12.6 % of the population in the USA and Whites make up 72.4 %.  The total population of the USA is 309 millions.  So out of 10600 murders, say, 5000 murders are committed by Blacks. So if we removed them from the statistics altogether then 2.1 (5,600*100,000/(309,000,000*(1.0-0.126)) would be the murder rate figure in the USA instead of 3.43.

This figure is still a lot higher than the rate in nearly all European countries (with the sole exception of Balkanian Montenegro where the rate is 2.42.)

To cap it off, here is one more piece of information: As of today,  411 people have been shot in the iconic “gangster city” Chicago this year so far.  The total number of homicides was 454.   Yes, 90% of murders were committed with firearms. It’s so much easier to kill someone with a gun than with a knife.

 

Power is poison

Political power is poison.  More political power is more poison. It’s a little wonder that Fidesz and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán are not terminally ill yet.

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July, 2016: Most likely election results according to all political polls

If the elections were held in Hungary this Sunday then Fidesz would repeat, or actually improve, its 2014  result when they achieved a supermajority (that is two thirds of the seats) as they did in 2010.

One may daydream about a grassroot political force, about healthy competition in Hungary’s political life, but now there are simply no signs in Hungary for an electable alternative to Fidesz.  This is bad for Fidesz, this is bad for the country but it’s a lot, lot better than the prospect of a “left-liberal”, that is MSZP-DK-PM-LMP-Együtt government. Or of a Jobbik government.

 

 

Hungarian football returns

I spent a year as a student in England in the early 1990’s.  On the last day, when I was flying back to Hungary from London Heathrow, I had some time left to kill at the airport.  I went out for a walk and then I saw a homeless guy begging on the curb.  I dumped all my British small change on him, maybe a few pounds. The man was very grateful and, as he was happily chatting to me, he asked where I was from.  When he heard the answer, he started reciting “Puskás, Bozsik, Hidegkuti…”  I think that was really all he knew about Hungary.  I must admit I’ve never been a football fan but that made me think.

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The Hungarian national team played in a significant international event 44 years ago last time.  Still I, a non-fan of football,  was cheering madly at the TV like practically everybody else in Hungary, in the Hungarian communities of the Carpathian Basin or elsewhere in the world.

Full-time: Hungary 3-3 Portugal

The best match of the tournament comes to a close.

the Guardian reported.

There are significant political implications to this Phoenix-revival of Hungarian football.  Prime Minister Orbán is known to be a football maniac.  He was a professional football player, too. His left-liberal political enemies have been raging about that loads of  derelict football stadiums have been rebuilt in Hungary since 2010, to a large extent, from taxpayer’s money.  Orbán’s home village now hosts the world’s Number One upscale stadium:

The construction of the Pancho Arena in Felcsut was surrounded in controversy. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban grew up in the village the stadium was built in and is known for his love of football so a lot of eyebrows were raised when Orban’s government passed a lot of legislation which helped the companies which built the stadium. Despite that and the fact that the stadium has a larger capacity than the village it is built in, the Pancho Arena is truly beautiful. Named after Hungarian and football legend Ferenc Puskas, the Pancho Arena was designed by Hungarian architect Imre Makovecz and opened in 2014. The wooden interior and lighting make for a truly beautiful place to play football.

The left-liberal press, politicians and supporters  practically used to be rooting against the Hungarian national team.  The most popular left-liberal newsportal (index.hu) wrote:

At the end of the day, each and every European Championship point (for the Hungarian national team) only vindicates Orbán’s elite. …

It’s a respectable position if somebody roots against the national team in 2016’s Hungary.

After the third fiesta like this,

 

 

now the “left-liberals” have to concede utter defeat. Today’s articles in the left-lib press go as if they were always very supportive of Hungarian football and our budding Golden Team. 😀

Though the Hungarian economy is doing quite well, now Mr. Orbán has even less to worry about the general elections in 2018.

Hungarian thoughts in support of Brexit

I’ve been planning a post titled “A Hungarian’s thoughts on Brexit” but this one has taken most of the words out of my keyboard.

magyarphoenix

Flag-Pins-Hungary-Great-BritainFor all the breath – and tweets – I’ve spent on Brexit the past few weeks, I feel obligated to say a few words about why it matters to me. I don’t live in the UK, much less vote there, so some might argue that it’s really none of my business. My interest in Brexit is purely in the salutary effect it may eventually have for other EU member nations such as Hungary and our Visegrád 4 friends. The EU in its current form is an insult to common sense, a Frankenstein’s monster of excessive regulation, contempt for democracy, elitist snobbery and shadowy manipulation. Unfortunately, like Frankenstein’s monster, it possesses great strength.

We like-minded bystanders are optimistic that Brexit will derail the runaway train of EU totalitarianism. It will at best, I hope, so profoundly damage the puppetmasters’ plans for the people of Europe that the EU will – perhaps…

View original post 338 more words

Hungary in the USA Presidential Campaign

It’s really nothing new that USA politicians are bashing Hungary.  Last year Obama was worrying  that “NGOs are harassed in Hungary like in Egypt or Putin’s Russia” and Sen. John McCain called PM Orbán “a neo-Fascist dictator who goes to bed with Putin”.  What is new a bit that they do that in ‘two-in-one’ with our Polish friends.🙂

Ex-president and aspiring First Lord  Clinton said earlier that

Orbán wants money and to remain in power for good

and then he said this a few days ago:

Poland and Hungary, two countries that would not be free, but for the United States and the long Cold War, have not decided this democracy is too much trouble. They want Putin-like leadership. Just give me an authoritarian dictatorship and keep the foreigners out. Sound familiar?

 

That was a snub at Republican candidate Donald Trump, of course.

Maybe the Hungarian government should have just ignored Clinton’s latest insult and nonsense but Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó still quipped this way:

No one – not even former US President Bill Clinton – should feel he can insult Hungarians, the freedom of Hungary was achieved by the people of Hungary; tens of thousands of Hungarians sacrificed their lives for freedom.  Therefore it is unacceptable for someone to belittle the fight for freedom of the people of Hungary in this manner.

Mr. Clinton must surely know that the people of Hungary have decided on Hungary’s future in democratic parliamentary elections. Mr. Clinton may not like the decision of the people of Hungary, but this cannot be sufficient reason for the former President to insult them like this.

Well, one can safely say that another Clinton in the White House wouldn’t be something to rejoice about for Hungary. So ….

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Update:  Daniel McAdams from the Ron Paul Institute has just published an excellent article on this. It also put Clinton’s words, and how Hungarians view them,  into a historical context.

 

Orbán’s “Schengen 2.0” proposals

Yesterday Mr. Orbán visited German ex-Chancellor Helmut Kohl in his home in Germany .  The visit made the whole German press very agitated. Every major newspaper and TV channel reported on it and they were speculating about an “anti-Merkel conspiracy”. 🙂

 

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The two politicians issued a statement after the meeting, emphasizing their full agreement on the issue of Europe’s migration crisis.
Orbán told the German media  that “Hungary stands by Berlin and will continue to support Chancellor Merkel  with initiatives like the “Schengen 2.0” plan which is  aimed at protecting the European Union’s external borders.”

So these are PM Orbán’s proposals to solve  the migration crisis, with some explanation.

1. The Schengen rules have to be enforced strictly by each member state, according to the signed treaties. When a Member State is unable to fulfil its Schengen duties, the European Border Protection Agency must intervene, and in the “absence of an agreement, the state’s membership in Schengen should be suspended.

2. All outer borders must be protected with biometric identification measures.

The above two points are obviously aimed at Greece and Italy which both fail to protect their borders from the invaders.

3. The Dublin System needs to be completely reinstated, and needs to be completely enforced. Failure to implement this agreement must result in penalties being applied to the offending state.

This is aimed at all Western and Northern European countries but especially at Germany . Merkel unilaterally ditched the Dublin System by her invitation to the Middle Eastern migrants.

4. Any applications for asylum must take place outside of the EU, at places set up and designated by the EU.

This would obviously stop the “asylum seeking” sham.

5. All agreements on deportations must be concluded in the countries of origin and transit of the “asylum seekers” and they must be enforced in cooperation with them.

As it’s well-known, most originating nations (in North and Black Africa, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, etc.) are simply refusing or ignoring all requests to take back their illegal migrant nationals.

6. Illegal migrants should be sent to safe countries of their origin or they should be transited back to their countries of origin.

7. The EU’s foreign, security, visa, and “development” (that is foreign aid) policies must be tied in to the EU migration policy objectives. The willingness of migrant originating countries to cooperate must be conditional on the granting of aid.

8. The EU must make resources available to the current entry hotspots and to the western Balkan nations so that they could cope with border security.

9. A list of safe third countries must be drawn up and this must be taken into consideration when asylum applications are considered, as must the number of safe countries the asylum seekers have crossed to get to the EU.

That’s because you’re an illegal migrant, not an asylum seeker, if you cross multiple safe countries to get somewhere in order to maximize the benefits you could get.

10. All “demographic and labor market challenges and responses” are to be reserved for “sovereign national decisions.”

This is about rejecting that the EU would have the right to “allocate refugees” to the member states. There cannot be any kind of mandatory distribution or automatic mechanism to distribute the “refugees.” by the EU. If Merkel really wants Muslim migrants for her Germanistan dream then she’d have to send charter flights to the Middle East to transfer them to Germany.

Orbán quotes from today’s speech

Prime Minister held his regular, annual “State of the Nation” speech  this afternoon.

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The scene of the speech, “Várkert”, was shamefully derelict until Orbán’s government had it renovated it last year

The transcript is not available in English yet but no doubt you may read it soon on Mr. Orbán’s site here.

As usual, the speech took a broad, historic view and it was spiced up with great metaphors and jokes.  First he gave a broad historic overview of Hungary’s last 150 years, the various eras and its struggles to develop the country. After a few remarks on the political and economic situation,  the second half of the speech was about the migrant crisis and its historic context.  Let’s see some memorable quotes from this part in no particular order:

We should never be dragged into anti-Russian,anti-German or anti-Turkish international political manoeuvres.  Politics based on moral superiority, which is often cultivated in the West, doesn’t fit Hungarian interests.

In Western Europe, now  boundaries are blurred between good and bad, women and men, reality and dreams.

There’s no freedom, community or individual success in the face of reality. There’s only political drug addiction, failures, cynicism and self-destruction if you fight  reality. Maybe this is why there are so many high-minded unhappy liberals in Brussels.

If we don’t act now, the tension between Europe and the Muslim world will be out of control, here on our territory.

It’s not migrants who we should be angry at. They are also victims, they do only what their interest is- but Europe does not do that!

Europe has the capacity to protect itself.  Brussels can’t organise this defence and doesn’t even want to.

How is it even possible to let in masses of people without any control? We just don’t get that here in the Visegrád countries.

Europe is Hellas, it’s not Persia; Europe is Rome, it’s not Carthage. Europe is Christianity, it’s not caliphates.

Some of the Western political elites are cosmopolitan but  people are patriots – these elites don’t understand their own people.

Uncontrolled masses are being transferred into Europe – we don’t know who is a terrorist, who is a criminal, an economic migrant or a refugee: this is CRAZY.

Spring is coming. We must help the countries of the Balkans because they are protecting Europe’s borders.

Hungary is a sovereign country, only those may enter our territory who respect our rules and abide our armed forces.

We cannot let Brussels to place itself above the law. They can’t force us to import their mistakes.There won’t be no-go zones, there won’t be riots in Hungary, there won’t be attacks on refugee centres and gangs are not going to harass our wives and daughters.

We don’t believe that Europe will give up its legacy.  Rest assured Hungary won’t make a single step on that road.

UPDATE:  Watch the speech with English subtitles here.
He speaks about the existential danger Hungary and European civilization face  in the second half.

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