Orbán’s response to the EU

As most of my readers will know, the hysteria about George Soros CEU university is still going on and PM Orbán visited Brussels this week twice.  Please listen to his Wednesday speech in the European Parliament here:

Unfortunately I don’t know about an English language video for  the press conference which Orbán gave in Brussels later on Wednesday.  I’d say that was pretty good indeed. 🙂
After EC president Jean-Claude Juncker had official talks (!) with George Soros in the building of the European Commission on Thursday, obviously to pull strings against Hungary, PM  Orbán attended the meeting  of the European People’s Party, which his Fidesz party is a member of, and the EU summit on Brexit on Saturday.  There wasn’t really much new compared to what you may gleam from the above video.
By “popular demand” (from my Twitter followers), I’ll translate the official press release which summarized his stance at the end of the day. I haven’t seen an English version yet.
Hungary’s prime minister has stated on the executive meeting of the European People’s Party that Hungary’s government is open to cooperation with the European Commission in every unresolved legal issues.
As  we did in the past, we intend to settle the infringement procedures against Hungary via agreements. Hungary’s prime minister has clarified again that the Hungarian government is not adamant about closing George Soros’ Central University in Budapest. However no university may enjoy privileges. Hungarian laws apply to everybody. Higher education institutions, which don’t provide actual education and operate as off-shore mailboxes,  will not be allowed by the Hungarian laws in the future either.
Hungary’s prime minister has clarified that the National Consultation launched by the government is not against Europe. On the contrary, its purpose is to reform the European Union which malfunctions in many respects at the moment and it needs renewal.
The prime minister asked help from the European People’s Party so that the energy union proposal of  the European Commission, which would substantially increase the energy bills of the Hungarian families, should be withdrawn.
Concerning the issue of migration,  he stressed that Hungary is unable to accept the illegal migrants’ unchecked immigration  and the Hungarian government is going to keep the border fence, which defends Hungary and Europe, under any circumstances.
Bertalan Havasi
Manager for the Prime Minister’s Press Office

Hope this helps to clarify the situation.  The global mainstream media is busy posting fake news like “Hungary’s Orbán accepts EU demands”….

March 15

It’s the 15th of March today which is the most patriotic Hungarian national holiday. Hungarians wear a cockade on this day of the year to commemorate the 1848 anti-feudalism revolution and the ensuing freedom fight against the Austrian empire.  Eventually the Hapsburg ruler called for help from the Russian tzar, within the framework of the post-Napoleonic  Holy Alliance, and the preponderance of  Russian army defeated the Hungarian one in August, 1849.

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I’ve just returned from the city where I was listening to Prime Minister Orbán’s speech. Here is my cockade and here is some food for thought from his speech:

“March 15 is proof that we lived, we live and we’re going to live. That’s our triumph.  We have always won the wars for the survival of our country and nation here at the crossroads of cultures, empires and civilizations…

On this day, an assassination shook ancient Rome 2061 years ago. Revolutions broke out in Europe in 1848 and Europe is approaching a state of revolution now, too.  Nations rebelled against the Unholy Alliance of Brussels bureaucrats, the liberal global media and  international bankers always craving for more profit. First the Brits rebelled then the Americans did and this year the rebellion will continue… Brussels and the international financial capital may not care about the safety of European peoples. But we do.  They may not care about our staying Hungarian. But we do. We must defend our borders, we must prevent crowds with alien cultures from settling here, we must make the foreign financed lobby networks transparent and we must keep the right of deciding on our taxes, minimal wages or our regulations for utilities.”

mar15crowd

Since our Polish friends took their own good part in these historic events,

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traditionally Polish people come to Budapest on March the 15th to celebrate, too.

That’s why Orbán’s speech could be read in Polish on a nearby screen.

mar15history

As always on this day, there will be family programmes as well.

DSC_0021However not only Hungarian and Polish patriots attended the speech.  This man, surrounded by a gang of similarly looking men, started a very loud siren close to the place where I was standing.  Surprise, surprise: Three or four busy photojournalists were shooting their expensive cameras right there…  “Something should be done” was the helpless word in the crowd which did want to listen to  Orbán’s speech.  Tensions were rising.  I took this picture of the siren man and I quickly made my way back through the crowd where I had seen some heavily built, bouncer looking security guys.  I guided them to the yellow trousers.  His siren was still on. There was no justling or fighting. After a few minutes of talking and muscle flexing, the security guards made the siren stop and they escorted yellow trousers and his cohort out of the crowd. Hopefully I ruined the day for the photo reporters. 😮

All right, now back to the family programmes. 🙂

Update:  Read, or listen to, the full speech in English here.

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.

 

Principles first, choosing persons second

Today PM Orbán flew to the EU summit in Brussels and he gave a press conference.  He stressed that the questions of principles must come first before choosing persons for the various positions . (German Chancellor Angela Merkel said before the summit that the latter type of decisions may not be brought today at all.)

Orbán insisted that taxation has to remain on the national level. Moreover he’d want to clarify  if EU is willing to let member states to regulate energy prices on the national level.  He added that it become a practice in the last five years that EU institutions, openly or covertly, reduced national powers and this has to be put to an end.

The member states are protecting their rights and if an imperial centre, like what Brussels is, want to breach them then that’ll generate conflicts.  New European politics doesn’t need more conflicts, it needs more consensus.

Answering a question,  he said the Hungarian government would nominate its EU commissioner when elected president Jean-Claude Juncker would officially request that. He added he had a discussion with Juncker prior to the summit. Commenting on the situation in Ukraine, Orbán said the sanctions against Russia must not proceed to the next (third) stage because that would not be in the interests of either Europe or Hungary.

The summit is mainly about haggling top jobs and that’s rarely a simple matter…  However the deepening crisis in Ukraine makes the choice of a successor to British EU Commissioner Catherine Ashton, as head of the European External Action Service,  an even more sensitive issue  than usual since the USA  has been pressing the  EU recently to toughen sanctions against Moscow.   The United States indicated yesterday they could go alone with increasing the severity of the sanctions against Russia.  Poland and  Baltic countries want a tough stance against Russia but Italy and Germany, which have major economic ties with Russia, are reluctant.  So is Hungary.

 

Anyway, it sounds like Orbán is in combative mood… 🙂  Go, Viki, go!

 

Update:

Eastern EU countries were the main reason for the blockage. They argued that no decision could be taken on the two senior positions before they knew what portfolios would be assigned to “their” national commissioners.

Only the anti-Russia sanctions were extended somewhat  Another extraordinary summit will be held on the 30th of August.

 

 

After the EP elections

The EP elections have been held and they changed the political landscape in Europe… and, to a smaller degree, in Hungary, too. So let’s study the results from that large  sample survey  a bit.   The EP election was purely list-based, with a five percent threshold,  the same rules applied as in other EU countries, so the postcommie left-liberals shouldn’t  really whine about unfair election rules, gerrymandering, disproportionality in the election system, what have you.  (Well, they do.)

The voter turnout in Hungary was lower than in 2009 but this is not much of a surprise:  Hungary had general elections in April.  Besides people know it very well in Hungary, too, that Europe’s decision makers are elected in the national elections.  The Eurocrats in Brussels should get this message at last!  The turnout was still almost 30 percents and that’s quite high compared to 13%, the voter turnout Slovakia, our northern neighbour produced…

First and foremost, let’s note that Fidesz won another landslide victory and the poll result I quoted  was about right for Fidesz.   Fidesz has increased their support to 51.5% in the EP elections from 46% in the general elections and Fidesz was the only Hungarian party which got a higher share of votes than on the 6th of April.  What does this entail for Fidesz and Hungary?  It’s certainly a strong reinforcement for PM Orbán in his European policies.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said already before the election,  in a last minute interview on Saturday, that  “he will not support Jean-Claude Juncker‘s bid to become president of the European Commission even if the centre-right European People’s Party (EPP) wins the European elections”.   Orbán became the first EPP leader to publicly break ranks on the issue but it has turned out quickly  he has the support of British Prime Minister David Cameron.  Orbán and Cameron share anti-federalist views concerning the future of EU and Junckers clearly doesn’t.     I think this event signals that Orbán  is becoming a significant player in the European political arena. BTW, let’s also remember what Statfor CEO George Friedman wrote about  Orbán’s balancing act.

 

The distribution of the cast votes

The far-right party Jobbik came second. (Let’s remember that Marine Le Pen’s National Front won in France!)  However they actually lost voter support:  they got only 15% after  20% of the votes in the national elections.

No doubt the biggest impact of the election is on the postcommunist side.  MSZP came only third, they gained only two seats and they actually came in the fourth place in Budapest (which is the most a leftist/left-liberal place in Hungary)!  DK, ex-Socialist PM Gyurcsány’s extremist left-lib party, and Együtt-PM, ex-Socialist PM Bajnai’s left-lib party almost got as many as votes as MSZP.  Gyurcsány is making a comeback on the left-lib dunghill…  This really seems to be a death blow to MSZP, chairman Mesterházy (and then the whole leadership!) unexpectedly resigned a few days after the EP election.

Bajnai was invited to the Bilderberg-table in Denmark yesterday but the awkward political jester,  Gyurcsány seems to be swooping down on dying MSZP.  We’re going to see much blood on the left-lib political stage in the upcoming months.  The local elections will be held in October.

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Hungarian deputy PM instructs EU commissioner about legal priorities

Here is an enjoyable quip from 2012, Brussels:

Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics: We, in the Hungarian Parliament take our job very seriously and I don’t feel the need to repeat ourselves but if you like, Madam Commissioner, I can repeat it for you: The Hungarian government wants to engage in cooperation. The Hungarian government has every interest in its legislation constitution being along with the Community acquis.  Let me repeat something which I said to you on the phone or by email on a number of occasions: we think that it’s obvious that, in line with the agreement, we will take into account all the advice of the Council of Europe here but we legislate.

EU Commissioner and vice-president of the European Commission Neelie Kroes: I’m asking you not “taking into account”. I’m asking you accepting and implementing any concrete recommendation of the Council of Europe.

Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics:  Provided these proposals do not run counter to the Hungarian constitutional and legislative acquis, yes.

(Laughter in the room)

EU Commissioner Neelie Kroes:  That is different from what you were telling me in my office.

Deputy Prime Minister Tibor Navracsics:  I beg your pardon, madam. No, madam.  It’s not different. It’s exactly the same. I’m a Member of Parliament   (of Hungary) and I swore allegiance to the  Constitution of Hungary. I’m not saying the Council of Europe wants something which runs counter to our constitution but  quite simply the Council of Europe cannot impose anything that runs counter to our constitution. Full stop. Thank you.

 

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Respect to Hungarians!

“We’re sending the message to Brussels: Respect to Hungarians!”

 

is the Fidesz campaign slogan for the European Parliament elections to be held on the 25th of May.

 

Hungary in an allegorical picture

We’ll get there.  🙂

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Brussels supports VAT fraud

Yesterday the European Commission rejected Hungary’s request yet again to introduce reverse VAT in the sugar trade. This is the second time the EC has rejected such a request by Hungary.  There exists a legal EU framework  called  “Quick Reaction Mechanism” which would allow  member states to introduce emergency measures when they are faced with a serious case of sudden and massive VAT fraud.

Among others, the left-liberal newsportal Index.hu also drew attention to a massive VAT fraud in Hungary which has been going on with the participation of Slovak companies. Statistics show that at least ten billion Forints of VAT are cheated this way each year.

Slovakian sugar which is known to be affected in the massive fraud

Hungary’s government introduced the practice of obliging the buyer, that is not the seller, of goods to pay VAT for grain in 2012, a retail sector where one could also see massive tax evasion.  Data from the National Tax and Customs Authority shows that the change has sharply reduced this kind of tax fraud.

Most of the profit from the sugar VAT tax fraud is pocketed by multinational supermarket chains like Tesco or Lidl.  This sounds like a pretty good explanation to me for  Brussels’ decision.

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The Speaker speaks out

László Kövér, a founding member of Fidesz, who has been the Speaker of Parliament  since 2010 and he’s also the chairman of the Board of Fidesz, and probably he’ll continue to be the Speaker, gave an interview to a left-lib newsportal in January, that is a few months before the recent elections. Mr. Kövér is a very outspoken and a very anti-Communist, anti-leftlib politician.  Because of this, he’s my favourite politician in Fidesz besides prime minister Orbán.

Kövér’s political stance, as showcased in the below excerpt, definitely strengthens my commitment to be a Fidesz-supporter.  Let me translate a part of the interview which, I believe, will help my English-speaking, non-Hungarian readers understand  a couple of things about Hungary’s politics.  Since the Hungarian voters have confirmed that they support this direction  by  giving Fidesz another (hard-to-believe) supermajority in the recent elections,  it’s a safe bet  these policies of Hungary won’t change fundamentally at least until 2018.

 

László Kövér, the Speaker of Parliament

 

The last four years has been all about Hungary’s “freedom fight”. Whose decision was that? 

One could safely say  this was a collective decision by the Fidesz presidency board.

When  Viktor Orbán came home ashamed from Brussels in 2010 after the Fidesz-government was formed  and when he announced  in the Fidesz board meeting that  EU Commission President Barrosso wouldn’t allow to increase the Hungarian budget deficit despite the requests of Fidesz then who shouted “hey, guys, let’s make war on the EU!” ? 

I’ve got no idea and that’s irrelevant anyway.  This followed evidently from the events that it was a question of life or death if we could re-gain independent political decision making or we’d dance to the tune of Brussels for four years.  Those ones who had been playing up with (ex-Socialist prime ministers) Gyurcsány and Bajnai, those who knew exactly that the 2010 budget was built on a huge lie, well, those people brought us to book for the lies of  their cronies.  On one hand that was blood-boiling, on the other hand it was evident if we continued with the endless austerity measures then the country wouldn’t recover from the awful economic situation we had, only  Fidesz would lose credibility for a long time and nothing would change for the better.  So there was really no other way than charging forward.

Why did Brussels cross with you in particular? 

Maybe their patience ran out with Hungary which they had since 2004.   (Leto’s remark: The Socialist-leftlib governments. which were in power between 2004 and 2010,  ran high budget deficits and that increased Hungary’s dept-to-GDP ratio from 54% to  80% in 2010).  Maybe Brussels wanted to set an example of Hungary and to increase fiscal prudence in the EU-member countries where budget deficits were slipping out of control.   One must also add that  it wasn’t in 2010 when the West learned who is who  in Hungarian politics. Washington couldn’t get over it already in 2002 how a little Eastern European country dared not to buy F-16 fighters instead of (Swedish) Gripens.

How did you dare?

That’s very simple:  The Americans made a worse offer than their competitors did.  Of course they kept telling us: if you buy a watch then you’ll buy a Swiss one, if you buy fighter planes then you’ll buy American.  Then they got surprised.  (Leto’s remark: this might be one of the reasons why PM Orbán hasn’t been invited to Washington since 2010 and why President Obama failed to congratulate Orbán for his landslide re-election.)

Are you saying Brussels took revenge and jeopardized Orbán’s plans because of a decade old Hungarian-American skirmish?

No, surely not. That was meant to be only an example that it was evident for the West already well before the 2010 elections it’s much easier to make deals with the ex-Communists, who turned into cosmopolitans from internationalists,  than with a patriotic government.  (Ex-Socialist prime ministers)  Gyurcsány, Bajnai, Medgyessy and their lot were considered  easy-to-deal-with in (Western) Europe and in the USA.  It never occurred to these people that they, as Hungarian leaders, are supposed to fight for Hungary’s national interests. They sold everything out on the cheap, including utility companies, Hungary’s airliner, our health care market, agricultural lands, what have you.  The only thing they had  in mind was that their  circles should benefit.    In addition, since we were not on good terms with neither liberal EU financial commissioner Olli Rehn or his Socialist predecessor ( Joaquín Almunia ) , Brussels deemed we wouldn’t deserve the leniency  Gyurcsány and Bajnai were treated with.

If the EU had given a green light about the budget deficit to Orbán then the “freedom fight” wouldn’t have started? 

There still would have been one but it would have been much quieter than what happened. But actually that’s not a big problem  because at least it was understandable  what we were forced to do and  what we had planned to do, more cautiously, anyway.  It would have been better to carry out the strategic change in Hungary’s economic and social policies with less noise because we didn’t mean to be adventurous. But we had to be.

What did you plan at the change of the government (in 2010) concerning IMF?  Did you mean to kick the global bankers out after a few months of “peacock’s dance” (Leto’s remark: that’s a reference to a bon mot of PM Orbán) in the first place or did you make the decision only later? 

It was evident from the very beginning that we didn’t want to tread the path IMF was demanding we should follow but that decision was made only later.

You said to the weekly Heti Válasz that you are “capable of being a soft, friendly teddy bear”. So why don’t you fight diplomatically, in a “teddy bear style”, and why do you need to rub the nose of the  world’s lords, or at least of the continent, that what you want is what is going to happen? 

Because that feels good.

That’s great.

That was certainly irony. Well, we’re humans, too.  Hypocritical, unworthy, selfish chappies manage the European Union, all respect should go to the exceptions.  The Brussels bureaucracy  lives off that they keep increasing their informal power over the member states while they are  trying to present their demands snuffling about never fully discussed European values.  So why should we talk to them in a different way than what it feels good?

Because the goal is not to relieve your mind, not to even  satisfy  Hungarians’ thirst for justness, but to improve things for us, citizens. 

I don’t think we should have sought the favours of Brussels with a humble face after their rough treatment. We must make evident for them, and for the Hungarian public, too, that we are no dummies, we fully understand what’s happening, we know the game and we are not going to skin our own people.  If they want to wage a war then they must  understand there’s firepower on the other side of the battlefield, too.

Can these be matched? 

Apparently yes. I think we have won the “freedom fight” but, to say the least, our positions have not been eliminated.  As a relatively small player in the international  (political) arena,  our weight has increased and at least we’re in play now.

It’s all quiet right now. Is this already peace?

We cannot know.  Maybe it’s only a truce.  They may have decided it’s not worth pressurizing us any more until the elections. You cannot ignore the fact that the majority of the active voters stayed behind us even during the most difficult times.  We couldn’t be simply swept away like some would have wanted,  even putting democratic means aside (Leto’s remark: that’s a reference to Charles Gati’s infamous interview, see also my post) .  Of course, they are not going to give it up and a new match is going to start in 2014.   On top of that,  the situation cannot be described like there’s peace in the world and some rebellious folks are stirring up trouble in the periphery…  On the contrary, the empire is crumbling, everything is changing, sometimes  the perspective is wider and sometimes it is narrower than before.   There is a real danger for them that the economic and social policies of the Hungarian government will gather followers.  More and more people see, and they speak up, too, that the fake liberal dogmas which ruled, and ruined, Europe in the last twenty years must be relegated to the garbage heap (of history).

 

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