An exercise in deep hypocrisy and imperial arrogance

The Hungarian parliament has passed a law which requires foreign funded NGOs, such as Soros-paid Helsinki Committee, Human Rights Watch, etc. to declare that they are funded from abroad.

Donald Trump’s Department of State has issued this very strongly worded statement:

Statement on Government of Hungary’s Legislation Impacting Non-Governmental Organizations

The United States is concerned by the Hungarian parliament’s passage of legislation that unfairly burdens and targets Hungarian civil society, which is working to fight corruption and protect civil liberties. By portraying groups supported with foreign funding as acting against the interests of Hungarian society, this legislation would weaken the ability of Hungarians to organize and address concerns in a legitimate and democratic manner. If signed into law, this would be another step away from Hungary’s commitments to uphold the principles and values that are central to the EU and NATO.

The Hungarian law is actually a softened version of the Foreign Agent Registration Act of the USA.

fara

An explanation of the Foreign Agent Registration Act

No, nothing has changed at all in the international relations between the USA and Hungary since Donald Trump took office.

Update:  The Hungarian government’s spokesman has just responded to the statement of the US State Department:

 

In the USA Soros organisations could never do what they are doing in Europe – Reaction to the recent statement from the US Department of State

The most recent statement by the US Department of State is another stark example of double standards, since the regulation in force in the USA is much stricter than that in Hungary. In the USA Soros organisations could never do what they are doing in Europe.

The Act on the Transparency of Organisations Funded from Abroad has been subjected to an ongoing disinformation campaign in the international media, strongly assisted by Soros organisations. It is regrettable to see even the US Department of State being misled on this issue.

If they were accurately informed about the published legislation, they would certainly recognise that the Hungarian law is based on the American model – the FARA Act, or Foreign Agents Registration Act – but is much less restrictive than its US counterpart. In the United States of America, since 1938 there has been a requirement for organisations funded from abroad to be registered. The Hungarian proposal, which is much more lenient than the American regulations, in no way restricts the right of free association or the functioning of non-governmental organisations. The Act includes a single new element: the foreign funding of such organisations must be made transparent, just as it is in the United States.

We would like everyone to see which organisations funded from abroad are seeking to influence Hungarian public life and migration policy in accordance with foreign interests. An overwhelming majority of Hungarians support the legislation: in the recent National Consultation, ninety-nine per cent of respondents supported adoption of the legislation.

 

 

 

The World Congress of Families in Budapest

This morning Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has opened the Budapest Demographic Forum/Budapest Family Summit which is now being held under the auspices of the global World Congress of Families.  WCF  is an annual congress which is dedicated to families (as meant by normal, decent people or as it is defined in Hungary’s Constitution:  a life union of exactly one man and exactly one woman and their children!) and it’s an important forum for conservatives throughout the world.

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Incidentally, on this occasion, George Soros’ CEU university, which (unfortunately) the last couple of posts of mine were about, didn’t miss either to promote their sick left-liberal views:

The Central Eastern European region is quickly becoming a key player in the support of regional anti-gender movements and global right-wing politics. For example, the World Congress of Families and the International Organization for the Family, a large coalition of conservative organizations from around the globe, will host their annual conference in Budapest in late May under the theme “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Great Again.” Such developments require serious academic engagement and persistent multidisciplinary discussion.

With our invited guests we will review the gendered and hetero-normative aspects of right-wing discourses on the family, the root causes of such discourses and policies, and their consequences for LGBTQ rights and reproductive justice. The panel will provide an overview of the geopolitical stakes in focusing on particular formations of the family, as well as on the support for LGBTQ equality and reproductive justice in the post-Cold War world order. We will take a closer look at the Hungarian context and the role of discourses on the family in local and regional politics. This discussion between scholars and activists offers an intersectional perspective on gendered discourses and politics in light of the globalized right-wing movements.

Anyway, here are the major points PM Orbán made in his opening speech:

  • Europe is losing big time concerning the reproduction of her population. There are two approaches to solve this existential crisis: immigration and  supporting families … which is the Central European way.
  • Orbán said that his government is strongly committed to solving  Hungary’s demographic crisis by supporting Hungarian families instead of supporting mass immigration from the Middle East and Africa, which is still the preferred “solution” in Western and Northern Europe.
  • Hungary has succeeded in stopping the illegal mass immigration at her Southern borders.  “If that’s possible at all, Hungary will more even more resolute to defend her borders, regardless of any EU disapproval”, said Orbán.
  • Hungary lost about a million people in the last few decades and that’s more than our loss in WWII.  There were 10,8 million people living in Hungary in 1980 and now there are only 9.8 million.
  • Hungary’s fertility rate (the average number of children per woman) now stands at 1.5.  Orbán pledged that his government will increase the fertility rate to the level which is necessary to replenish the population, that is to 2.1, by 2030.
  • He announced a number of pro-family measures for 2018.  He also emphasized that Hungary’s subsequent governments must also exhibit this kind of supportive attitude for families.

The announced measures are the following:

  1. More family tax breaks, focussed on two-child families.
  2. 50% of the student loan will be paid by the government for those women who have student loans.  The student loan will be paid off entirely by the government for those women who have three or more children!
  3. Child care support will be provided for an additional year for women with degrees in higher education. Student mothers will be provided with this benefit until their child is two year old.
  4.  The Hungarian families with mortgages will be paid one million Forints (3250 EUR/2820 GBP/3660 USD) for their third child and one million Forints for each one after.
  5. The government initiates a “huge programme” to build, or to renovate, crèches (day care centres)
  6. Soon the Hungarian families living abroad may also have access to Hungary’s “baby bonds”. (This is a type of treasury bond with the objective of stimulating savings for children by their parents. Parents must make small monthly contributions and, in return, the child receives a guaranteed minimum amount tax-free upon turning 18.)
  7.   The government establishes a “family studies” think-tank which PM Orbán expects to become of international fame.

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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.

The knife

  1. If the turnout rate exceeds 50% and there are about 80% NO votes then Viktor will get Crocodile Dundee’s knife.
  2. If the turnout rate is below 50% and about 80%  of the votes say NO to the forced migrant EU quota  then Viktor will get the knife of “the kids having fun”.

 

Update:   It looks like he got only a big sharp kitchen knife. The referendum had a 43.31% turnout rate and the validity threshold is 50%. This means the referendum result is not legally binding for the Hungarian Parliament. However it was a “conclusive referendum” because 98.32% (yes!)  of the valid votes said NO.  In comparison, the  turnout was 45.62% on the referendum on Hungary’s EU membership in 2003 and 84% approved.  PM Orbán’s stance on the EU migration policies were supported by more than three million votes, that is a one million more than how many voted for his party on the last general elections in 2014. This means that the overwhelming majority of the politically active Hungarian voters reject the migration policies of the EU, that is their attempts to legalize illegal migration from the Middle East and Africa into Europe, and they support Orbán’s fight.

 

 

Do you want to allow the European Union …

to mandate the resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens to Hungary without the approval of the Hungarian National Assembly?

 

 

 

NO

Wikipedia article

 

 

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

Augusztus 20. - Mesterségek ünnepe

the traditional Artisans’ Fair in Buda Castle

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

2

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.

Hungary’s GDP growth highest in the EU

Hungary has embarked on a period of economic growth which could put the country among the fastest-growing European Union member states

Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on the 25th of August,  addressing the annual meeting of Hungarian mission leaders.

 

Today’s news is that the Central Statistical Office (KSH) has confirmed their preliminary GDP growth figure: Hungary’s gross domestic product increased by 3.9% in the second quarter of 2014 compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.  That’s 0.8% on a quarterly basis.

Now this is the highest growth in the European Union.

KSH  has also revised the first quarter GDP growth data  today and they have upped  it to 3.7% year-on-year from 3.5% y/y.

Here’s the break-down of the growth data by sectors (on a quarterly basis):

 

 

Analysts warn that the growth will slow in the second half of the year because of the economic impact of the EU-Russia conflict. However the expected yearly growth of the Hungarian economy in 2014 is still 3.1%.

HUNGARY: WHY THE FORCES OF DARKNESS ARE DESPERATE TO CONTROL VIKTOR ORBAN

And this old post must be read, too. It was written on the 18th of January, 2012, five days before hundreds of thousands Hungarians took to the streets of Budapest in freezing cold in defense of the Orbán-government.
PM Orbán later said several times this huge rally prevented EU/IMF from doing to what Hungary what they did in Italy and Greece, that is replacing their democratically elected prime ministers with their stooges.

 

The pro-Orbán rally on the 23rd of January, 2012

The Slog.

Orban…bad guy who may do some good?

While the media in general are paying far more attention to Greece and its determination to play by the rules and thus win back market respect, Hungarian maverick Viktor Orban takes the opposite view. He may well represent a far bigger threat to the shibboleths of our current form of capitalism.

It’s hard to be anything other than equivocal about the rumbling Hungarian crisis. On the one hand, Magyar Prime Minister Victor Orban appears to be in the same Bonkers League as Recep Erdogan, displaying as he does the familiar mix of controlling political power-grabs, while pursuing economic policies best described as All over the Place. But on the other hand, Orban was elected with an overwhelming majority, he inherited most of the fiscal problems from the previous deficit-obsessed New Labour-style government (Peter Mandelson had quite a few ‘friends’ in it), and…

View original post 1,445 more words

Hungary’s economic boom vs credit rating agencies and the Economist

Hungary’s central bank has published the latest trade balance figures today. The trade balance surplus was  984 million Euros in the first quarter of 2014 and that’s more than double what it was a year earlier (463 millions).  There is a very significant increase compared to the last quarter of 2013, too (710 million Euros).

Hungary’s GDP growth was a “big surprise on the upside” again in the first quarter of 2014:  3.5%.  Foreign investments increased, too.  The inflation is zero so the central bank could safely cut   Hungary’s base rate to a new low of 2.3% today.

 

The CDS is the price of insurance against a particular country’s defaulting and it measures the risk of investors.  The higher it is, the higher the default risk is.  Let’s have a look at the CDS pricing of Hungary’s mid-term (10 year) government bonds. The CDS has reached pre-crisis levels.

 

CDS of 10-year Hungarian government bonds

 

In principle the big credit rating agencies rate the government bonds using such criteria as above. In reality they all rate the Hungarian government bonds in the “junk” category now and they all rated Hungary’s government bonds as “investment grade” in 2009… when the postcommunist MSZPSZDSZ coalition was busy ruining our economy… in the “orthodox way”, that is following orders coupled to the huge, 25 billion Euro loan they took out from the EU and IMF .

Yup, Hungary’s bonds were of “investment grade” when the CDS pricing was record high in 2009 and they became “junk” in 2011-2012 when the “unorthodox policies”, which seem to deliver big results by now, were implemented.

The downgrade of Hungary’s ratings reflects further deterioration in the country’s fiscal and external financing environment and growth outlook, caused in part by further unorthodox economic policies, which are undermining investor confidence and complicating the agreement of a new IMF/EU deal

Fitch wrote then.  Two years later Hungary’s GDP growth is one of the highest in Europe.

And what does The Economist  write about Hungary?  Well, only the usual libnazi bullsh*t  about Hungary’s role in the Holocaust and some more politically motivated drivel.   Yes, just check it out yourself with a search for the past month.  That’s about all those Economists have to say.

 

 

Bye, bye, Danone

“Due to a significant decline in sales”, international food company Danone is closing sites in Hungary, Germany and Italy, the company has announced on Wednesday.

 

 

Why is this interesting on this blog about Hungary’s politics?

Well, Danone has become a kind of a symbol of  cheap “halálmiszer”.  That’s a portmanteau of “halál” (death) and “élelmiszer” (food, “élet”  means ‘life’, “szer” means ‘stuff, substance’).

One couldn’t buy that kind of artificial, chemical food in the justly condemned Communist dictatorship I grew up in.  I’ll risk the statement that such “food”  products, for example like Danone yogurts, were not sold in Hungary even before our joining the EU in 2004.

Here are a few of their deceiving marketing gimmicks Danone has been selling their cheap, and possibly unhealthy, stuff with:

  • They substituted milk for something who-knows-what  in their kefir in 2008 and then they kept selling it at the same price, in the same packaging. Okay, they had to reverse this quickly enough.
  • Their 175 gram yogurts were reduced to 150 grams first and then to 125 grams… for the same price.

  • Their  big marketing campaign “Könnyű és finom” (Light and Tasty) was actually about removing fruit content from their  fruit yogurts.
  • The labels on their yogurts read like this: “Ingredients:  milk, sour cherry substance 13% (sour cherry 60%, …)”

 

Let’s see what Wikipedia writes about the health effects of one of these ingredients, called Xanthan-gum:

Evaluation of workers exposed to xanthan gum dust found evidence of a link to respiratory symptoms

On May 20, 2011 the FDA issued a press release about SimplyThick, a food-thickening additive containing xanthan gum as the active ingredient, warning “parents, caregivers and health care providers not to feed SimplyThick, a thickening product, to premature infants.” The concern is that the product may cause necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).

Xanthan gum may be derived from a variety of source products that are themselves common allergens, such as corn, wheat, dairy, or soy. As such, persons with known sensitivities or allergies to food products are advised to avoid foods including generic xanthan gum or first determine the source for the xanthan gum before consuming the food.To be specific, an allergic response may be triggered in people sensitive to the growth medium, usually corn, soy, or wheat  For example, residual wheat gluten has been detected on xanthan gum made using wheat.This may trigger a response in people highly sensitive to gluten. Xanthan gum is a “highly efficient laxative,” according to a study that fed 15 g/day for 10 days to 18 normal volunteers. Some people react to much smaller amounts of xanthan gum with symptoms of intestinal bloating and diarrhea.

 

Danone is part of a bigger problem though:  Hungary has been flooded with junk food by the West, often with stuff they couldn’t even sell in Western Europe, and people, either because of ignorance or because that’s what they can afford , feed on this junk. “Free market proponents” would argue that people vote with their money.  I’d say the Hungarian state should protect Hungarians with administrative measures, too, from literally junk food.

I avoid shopping in Tesco  supermarkets in Hungary because they suck so much.  Shopping in British Tesco shops is fine with me.  The icing on the cake is that prices don’t really differ so  much…  The  difference often lies in the quality of goods these multinational companies sell in Hungary and in Western Europe.

Anyway, will Danone leave Hungary? That would be good riddance.

 

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