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

Augusztus 20. - Mesterségek ünnepe

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.

First PM visit in Warsaw again

Having President Áder asked PM Orbán formally to form his new government this morning, Mr. Orbán left for his first visit abroad. Just like in 2010, when Fidesz won another landslide victory, his first prime ministerial visit was paid to Poland again.

“The next Hungarian government will also be deeply committed towards the historic Polish-Hungarian friendship” and “as in the last four years, the new Hungarian government wants to focus on Central Europe in its foreign policies”, Orbán said. He also thanked Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk the support Hungary has received from Poland since 2010.

First visit in Warsaw again

The Polish prime minister also emphasized the importance of the traditional Polish-Hungarian friendship and the fact Mr. Orbán visited Poland first. He also praised the Visegrad Four cooperation and Hungary’s presidency of the V4 which is ending at the end of June.  Concerning the recent election results in Hungary, he noted that “Hungarians appreciated the values the party alliance led by PM Orbán represent”.

The “energy union”, proposed by PM Tusk and fully backed by PM Orbán, was the most important topic of the talks. This means that at least the V4 countries would fully integrate their energy supply systems (gas and electricity networks) and they would strive to achieve “energy independence”, for example getting rid of a complete dependence on Russian natural gas.
The prime ministers have briefly discussed the Ukrainian situation, too, and they noted the Hungarian and Polish views and interests are similar: both countries are neighbouring to Ukraine and Hungarian and Polish ethnic minorities live in Ukraine.

All I can say  (in Polish) is

Polak, Węgier — dwa bratanki,
i do szabli, i do szklanki,

Please read this Wikipedia article for more details.

 

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The restoration of Central Europe

.. the artificial division between ‘old’ and ‘new’ members of the European Union, or ‘east’ and ‘west’ Europe … are now out of date as never before. The Visegrád countries (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) are no longer nervous newcomers, but self-assured old hands. Their record on economic growth and social peace are enviable. They have also shown resilience in the face of adversity – both in coping with the recent financial crisis, and in dealing with the strains and stresses that followed the collapse of communism. Their politics, for the most part, are boringly stable. Their political co-operation … is increasingly impressive and effective.

wrote   Edward Lucas, the editor of the international section of The Economist in “European Voice”.

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