Viktor Orbán at Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tuşnad

If it’s July it must be a new outrageous speech by Viktor Orbán at Tusnádfürdő/Băile Tuşnad.

It all started in 1990 when Fidesz organized a gathering of young Hungarians from Hungary and Transylvania for a week of lectures and fun. It was a small affair in those days; perhaps 40-50 people showed up at the first meeting, dubbed Bálványosfürdői Szabadegyetem és Diáktábor (Free University and Student Camp at Bálványosfürdő/Băile Bálványos). The event consisted of almost a week of camping. In those days the young Orbán himself stayed for the duration and slept in a tent alongside the students.

As time went by the numbers grew and the gathering became so large that it was moved from Bálványosfürdő to Tusnádfürdő about 30 kilometers away. But this year the numbers were less impressive. Viktor Orbán’s website said that about 1,000 people gathered to hear the Hungarian prime minister. Although an Internet video referred to “short pants politicking at Tusnádfürdő,” the photos showed a different picture. The youngsters were in the minority.

Transindex, a Hungarian-language Romanian publication, complained about the lack of real dialogue in Tusnádfürdő because RMDSZ, the largest Hungarian party in Romania which received 80% of the Hungarian votes at the municipal elections about a month ago, was not represented. On the other hand, Jobbik was there, as is evident from this picture of an old warrior of the Hungarian extreme right.

An editorial in Transindex made fun of the description of Tusnádfürdő as the “center of the universe,” as a banner behind the speakers proudly announced. Moreover, it seems that God also had something to do with Tusnádfürdő: Zsolt Semjén attributed to divine will the coincidence that the opening of Tusnádfürdő also marked the happy event of registering the 300,000th new Hungarian citizen. No wonder that the author of the editorial in Transindex, Andrea Hosu, entitled her piece “Tusványos: Divine choreography in the center of the universe?”

Hungarians by now are accustomed to the fact that Tusnádfürdő serves as a pulpit for the most radical side of Viktor Orbán. Perhaps that fresh Transylvanian air in the middle of the Carpathian mountains has this effect on him. By now, however, practically everything that the prime minister says is radical. Orbán’s view of the world bears no resemblance to reality. There are some people, including Gábor Fodor, his old roommate and one of the founders of Fidesz, who are worried about Orbán’s mental state.

Indeed, Orbán said quite a few incredible things in Tasnádfürdő, but they were not more outrageous than what he has been saying for some time. Here is a sampling of the latest crop of statements.

According to him, the current crisis affects only the United States and Europe. The rest of the world is untouched. It is Brussels that is at the core of the problem where the bureaucrats worry about the psyche of geese,  toys for piglets, and the size of cages for chickens instead of the serious problems Europe is facing. Western Europe is laboring under the shadow of the two world wars which broke out as a result of national rivalries and therefore it preaches greater integration because of the fear of nationalism.  But there is today a renaissance of nation states and Brussels cannot go against their wishes. Today’s problems can be solved only by individual countries and the solution must be adjusted to individual needs. Europe is hopeless and it will never be successful. It is only staggering about like a sleepwalker.

What was perhaps the most frightening part of the speech was Orbán’s “analysis” of the history of twentieth-century Europe. According to him, western politicians are afraid of the politically activated masses because of the rise of fascism in Europe. Fascist governments came into power by democratic means, and therefore the western political elite put their faith in “principles and institutions” instead of the people. He admitted that he himself believed at one point that principles and institutions are the best insurance for success, but he has realized since that “this is what led politics to a dead end.” Because it is never principles and institutions that make decisions but people. “Overestimation of principles and institutions necessarily leads to irresponsible decisions.”

Here Viktor Orbán is perhaps most clearly showing his dictatorial side by turning away from the principles of democracy itself. Instead of  checks and balances he is putting his faith in “the people.” So, it is not at all surprising that he simply ignores the decisions of the Constitutional Court. After all, it is just one of those institutions that led Europe astray.

Otherwise, the prime minister of a country that is in terrible economic shape and whose two-year governance only added to its problems announced that “Europe is actually envious of Hungary” because of its excellent handling of the crisis. This is one of those occasions when some people question Viktor Orbán’s sanity.

In addition to all that frightening nonsense Viktor Orbán also decided to meddle in Romanian internal affairs. A referendum is being held today on the fate of Romanian President Traian Băsescu.  A day before the voting, during the campaign silence, Orbán urged Hungarians living in Romania to “make good decisions, meaning to make no decision at all” during today’s vote. In addition, both he and László Tőkés appeared in white shirts that apparently signals their support for Băsescu. As things stand at the moment, Băsescu’s only hope is that not enough people will  bother to go to the polls. Three hours before closing time only about 38% of the eligible voters had voted; 50% plus one vote is necessary for the referendum to be valid.

As for cooperation with RMDSZ, Orbán admitted that he cannot ignore it because after all it is the major Hungarian party in Romania, but he added that cooperation with its politicians is out of the question. In 1994, he recalled, the socialists asked Fidesz to join them in a coalition. They refused because if they “had said yes then [they] would have been morally ruined and wouldn’t have had the opportunity to replace the socialist governments that ruined the country.” The obvious message is that there can be no compromise with RMDSZ, which he called elsewhere a party with Bolshevik roots.

No compromise with anyone while Zsolt Semjén in his introductory remarks on Wednesday talked about the looming danger of another Little Entente. Meaning cooperation between Slovakia, Romania, and perhaps Serbia against Hungary. Perhaps a different Hungarian attitude toward the neighbors could prevent such a “calamity.”

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44 comments

  1. is there an impeachment process in Hungary, based on insanity? Are there sane FIDESZ members of the Parliament to use it?

  2. What is the EU’s point of view on the “dismissal” of Mr. Basescu?
    Did the EU-officials fully agree with it?

  3. He said that he is not. I would like to know the opinion of the bloggers of this site, and especially that of Prof. Balogh. If it is already discussed here, please let me know about it.
    I guess it is pretty important, because the members of the Hungarian Academy of Science are divided.
    What do You think? Is it worth a blog entry?

  4. Rettegő Iván :
    He said that he is not. I would like to know the opinion of the bloggers of this site, and especially that of Prof. Balogh. If it is already discussed here, please let me know about it.
    I guess it is pretty important, because the members of the Hungarian Academy of Science are divided.
    What do You think? Is it worth a blog entry?

    Let’s leave this to professor Balogh.

  5. London Calling!

    Eva! – You’re so cynical!

    I’m still waiting for the Visegrad 4 to show the world the way.
    (Orban had a bit of trouble setting up the economic powerhouse but that was only teething trouble I’m sure.)

    And of course Tusványos is the centre of the centre! The CEE region will be the Global centre – with Hungary at the hub.

    As the USA and China pass through they will be able to consult Orban and Matolcsy on next steps.

    And of course “Europe is actually envious of Hungary” – and especially here in England.

    We are all dying to give our pension pots to the government and we keep pressing our Prime Minister to put the VAT rate up to 27%.

    And we all want to repay our mortgages off with a punishing deal which gives the banks what they deserve.

    And we definitely want to penalise all those foreign companies who invested in our country with a super tax too – bloody BMW pinched our Mini; Kraft foods nicked Cadbury’s.

    And we’re so envious of the transaction tax – we call it the ‘Tobin’ tax because he first posited it – but Matolcsy beat us to it.

    (There’s so much we are jealous of here – the flat tax – brilliant! telephone tax; fat tax; privatised Universities; Pharmacists with white coats with nothing to sell; Super-negative growth rate; Foreign companies getting the hell out of Hungary – Your ‘decisive’ PM (OK Totalitarian!) – Such a liberated press – Paprika – Poppy Seeds – A pig in every house! Football stadiums in the middle of nowhere – Negative financial integrity – Stop Charlie! )

    I’ve just realised: The Flat tax; The Fat tax; The Chat tax; and the Vat tax! There’s a theme here!

    I have to stop – I’ve turned green with envy.

    Regards

    Charlie

  6. Rettegő Iván :

    He said that he is not. I would like to know the opinion of the bloggers of this site, and especially that of Prof. Balogh. If it is already discussed here, please let me know about it.
    I guess it is pretty important, because the members of the Hungarian Academy of Science are divided.
    What do You think? Is it worth a blog entry?

    I was thinking about writing a post on the subject but I will need more research on my own. And that takes time which I don’t have too much of. It practically takes the whole day to do the research and write a daily post.

    As for the research. I would like to read more of Romsics’s work. Of course, I read a lot of his work but not with that kind of scrutiny.

  7. I think this blog has long established that Orban is insane . THere is nothing new to that. I think at this point the only reason that the EU does not tell him to screw himself because at least they have compassion towards the Hungarian people than than its own Prime Minister. I think if the kick out Hungary, it would be very difficult to reenter after Hungary would gain a sane person at the helm.
    As for Orban sympathy towards the Romanian president, Traian Băsescu, we should not forget that he had the same compassion toward Pal Schmitt. Also he has to show President Traian Băsescu that he (Orban) is in full support in order to gain some allies. THere are not to many Orban friends out there in International diplomatic circles. Of course there are the Chinese but they are a ‘bit far for a cafe.

  8. “… registering the 300,000th new Hungarian citizen.”

    Is this figure credible? My personal estimate is that less than 100 000 ethnic Hungarians abroad applied for a Hungarian passport.

  9. Minusio :

    “… registering the 300,000th new Hungarian citizen.”

    Is this figure credible? My personal estimate is that less than 100 000 ethnic Hungarians abroad applied for a Hungarian passport.

    Put it that way. That is what Semjén says.

  10. Ferenc L. Lendvai wrote an article in today’s Galamus that is worth reading.The title is “The dictator is preparing to leap.” The last sentence is: “The moment arrived when one must say: “Stop Arturo Ui!’” The reference is to Bertolt Brecht’s The Resistible Rise of Arturo Ui, a thinly disguised play on the rise of Hitler.

    http://galamus.hu/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=153109:a-diktator-ugrani-keszuel&catid=47:cslendvailferenc&Itemid=75

  11. These capers and stunt come about because the Hungarian peoples still dream of the glories of ruling a greater Hungary which stretches from the Adriatic sea to the Black sea and probably the Aegean sea.

    The Viktator has this dream as well. His great dream is to undo the treaty of Trianon. His ranting speeches are made to convince his supporters that all is well and how near to defeat Hungary’s enemies are. He is telling them that their great enemy the EU will soon disintegrate. He is predicting that he will defeat the IMF.

    In the book which we looked at yesterday our hostess quoted the author (Paul Lendvai) words on the Viktator as being * * “a master tactician, a gifted populist, a radical and consummate opportunist, a ruthless power politician who believes not in ideas but in maximizing his power without any compunction, giving vent to Hungarian nationalism or tapping into fear and prejudice at a moment of crisis.” * *. To this I will add that he needs “Adoration” and he needs to stir up amongst his supporters’ deep hatred for others

    This will make real enemies for Hungary and on the day when ‘push’ really comes to ‘shove’ it may well go hard for Hungary

  12. Odin, etc.: “These capers and stunt come about because the Hungarian peoples still dream of the glories of ruling a greater Hungary…”

    Somewhat silly dreams…..hmmmm….”Next year in Jerusalem…”

  13. Louis Kovach :
    Odin, etc.: “These capers and stunt come about because the Hungarian peoples still dream of the glories of ruling a greater Hungary…”
    Somewhat silly dreams…..hmmmm….”Next year in Jerusalem…”

    Kovach the master of the subtle anti-Semitic humor …

  14. These remarks by Orban are, in sum, an admission of his total failure as prime minister. He has had a completely loyal super majority in parliament, giving him the ability to pass any law he wanted as well as to write a new constitution and, with one exception (the central bank President) appoint anyone he wishes to any position in government. He owns the constitution, every law, and every appointment he has made. He owns every policy his government has pursued, successful, middling, or failed. To now say that only a different system of government would improve affairs is to admit defeat and trying to snatch a dictatorship from that defeat is the audacity of an ego of astonishing dimensions. What possible difference in policy would giving Mr Orban even more authority achieve? He is proposing no new policies but, at best, new opportunities for continued pilferage from his country by himself and his circle of benefactors. I witnessed firsthand the wealth in human resources which Hungary has. Hungary can do much better than this and anyone who does not recognize this is condemning the country to continued mediocrity.

  15. Louis Kovach, I await your response, for once, to the substance of the article. What do you think of the prime minister’s remarks?

  16. Rettegő Iván :
    He said that he is not. I would like to know the opinion of the bloggers of this site, and especially that of Prof. Balogh. If it is already discussed here, please let me know about it.
    I guess it is pretty important, because the members of the Hungarian Academy of Science are divided.
    What do You think? Is it worth a blog entry?

    What is the reason for asking this question?

  17. GW: “What do you think of the prime minister’s remarks?”

    Typical political speach, by a typical East European politician. Situation about the “West” exaggerated, perhaps as much as Western European ideas are exaggerated about Hungary. Economically the EU actiona regarding their financial crises are close to comical. Every week they promise solution, except they forget to state that the solution is good only for a week. It is very easy to demonize this type of action. IMHO, if the EU does not get its finances straightened out, Europe will face a social and economic disaster. Apparently Orban presumes that the problems will not be solved, in my opinion, there is still a chance to change the EU finances and I do not agree with Orban on its finality.

    His “interference” in Rumanian affairs is nothing compared to past Rumanian interferences in -at the time – de facto Hungary and even during and after tha 1956 events in current Hungary. Today the President of Rumania, thanked the Hungarian community for following Orban’s advise, i.e. not voting.

    I agree with Orban on the pathetic burocracy of the EU, perhaps Marx would modify his “exploitation” sequences to add one more “the exploitation of everybody by centralized non-elected burocracy”. Again, it is very easy to demonize the highly paid EU burocrats. Please do not think, that the Greek, Spanish, Portugese or Italian population is overjoyed by this EU burocracy. Similar opinion was expressed by the Czech persident also, and I posted part of his comments last week.
    Based on my onformation, in regard to the EU, Orban mirrors the majority of the Hungarian population’s opinion.

    I would not have expressed myself the same way as Orban, even in the fields where I agree with him, but I am not running for office or popularity. However, I agree with him that the “West” (presumably meaning the EU) is speeding up in a dead end economic street.

  18. Kovach: “the exploitation of everybody by centralized non-elected burocracy”

    Interesting to learn that Hungary or the Czech Republic have an elected bureaucracy. Such brilliant observation indeed can come only from our guiding light, President Klaus.

  19. Kirsten: “Interesting to learn that Hungary or the Czech Republic have an elected bureaucracy”

    I did not imply that there is one. I was writing about the EU’d bloated burocracy. Although, to some extent the burocracy is bloated in many places, it certainly is bloated in the USA. Just check the total working population versus burocrat ratios anywhere.

  20. Louis Kovach :
    IMHO, if the EU does not get its finances straightened out, Europe will face a social and economic disaster.

    This kind of thinking always makes me confused.

    I always thought that it’s always first and foremost up to each and every country to care for its own finances. If one decides to spend a bunch of money of the budget on obviously crazy stuff, it’s equally obvious that you’ll end up in dept and a whole bag of nasty problems.

    But that’s me and my personal economy is healthy. But then again, I do not own an airline or a bunch of holes in the ground that in some abstract way symbolizes the mighty and highly essential Fourth Metro Line.

  21. So? If you need to borrow money or wish to have a ” safety net” as Orbán likes to call it, the people whom you ask to lend you money are entitled to ask how you run your show – financially.

  22. @ Louis Kovach: I agree that the bureaucracy in Brussels sometimes looks big (and it is built basically after the French model which says a lot). Actually it is as small as the Swiss federal one. The whole European Union (including its sizeable cohesion and infrastructure funds) is financed by just one percent of the GDP of the member states.

    Did you know that?

  23. Louis Kovach :
    GW: “What do you think of the prime minister’s remarks?”

    [Orban's] “interference” in Rumanian affairs is nothing compared to past Rumanian interferences in -at the time – de facto Hungary and even during and after tha 1956 events in current Hungary. Today the President of Rumania, thanked the Hungarian community for following Orban’s advise, i.e. not voting.

    I am sure Schmitt also thanked Orban that he did everything to try keep him in power after the found it his freud (copying someone else’s work and presenting as his own and using a title that he did not have.)
    Well, with that thinking I am afraid to think what the Czechs have in store for us.
    Way to go with your opinion Kovach!

  24. I can see the “logic” in Orban’s tactics here.

    When he says “… let us hope that God will help us and we will not have to invent a new type of political system instead of democracy that would need to be introduced for the sake of economic survival.”
    – he is talking to Brussels and the IMF. Part of the negotiations for him is to he threaten the EU: if they don’t let him get away with what he is doing to get the economy back on track (flat tax, transaction tax, bank levys etc.), then he will become a nasty dictator and make this member state even less democratic. He knows that the EU is sensitive to such threats, moreover, that is what the USA is quite worried about: they don’t want a NATO member state become a mini version of Putin’s state, right next to Russia.
    This has always been Orban’s weapon against the EU. “Give me a rough time and I will stir up the nationalistic extreme right, get people to demonstrate against the EU etc.”
    In view of this, some of his other bla-bla also begins to make sense eg:

    “western politicians are afraid of the politically activated masses because of the rise of fascism in Europe. Fascist governments came into power by democratic means… ”

    here again: Western Europe is afraid of the revival of fascism and right wing extremists, democratically elected leaders becoming mad and aggressive, so anyone who has intentions to go into that direction has power over them.
    Orban thinks he can use these empty threats to gain a better position at the EU-IMF negotiations.

    He is playing with fire.

    By the way, in my opinion, the whole National Bank Transaction Tax was also introduced only so Orban has something to give up instead of his flat tax-bank levy combo. He is still convinced, almost obsessively, that their flat tax strategy will one day save the Hungarian economy, if you wait long enough. He is not very good at understanding that tax reduction during crisis doesn’t encourage growth, because people tend to save it instead of spending or investing it – and even it did, investors have lost confidence in Hungary because of his “temporary measures”.

  25. Louis Kovach :

    Based on my onformation, in regard to the EU, Orban mirrors the majority of the Hungarian population’s opinion.

    Your information may be biased by your attitude and social circle.

    According to latest Eurobarometer survey only 33% of Hungarians have a negative attitude (fairly negative or very negative image) towards EU. 41% neutral.

    “In general, does the EU conjure up for you a very positive, fairly positive, neutral, fairly negative or very negative image?”

  26. Some1: “I am sure Schmitt also thanked Orban that he did everything to try keep him in power after the found it his freud

    Sooner or later most people find their Freud and get analyzed, maybe not with results they expected.

  27. Minusio: “The whole European Union (including its sizeable cohesion and infrastructure funds) is financed by just one percent of the GDP of the member states.”

    Well, not exactly. It is 1.23 % of the meber states GNI (Gross National Income) not GDP. Plus tha additional taxes collected from the VAT and the customs.
    Interestingly,Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the United Kingdom) argued that the EU budget should be cut at least by 100 Billion Euros.

  28. Louis Kovach :
    Some1: “I am sure Schmitt also thanked Orban that he did everything to try keep him in power after the found it his freud
    Sooner or later most people find their Freud and get analyzed, maybe not with results they expected.

    bahaha of course fraud. You, of course forget to answer the rest. I will certainly start to post your spelling mistakes (as there are plenty), so do not feel I do not care. You know as we get lots of info “Based on [your] onformation”.
    WIth the same token Freud should of been so lucky to analyze you. But then again we all do know the results already.

  29. Pete H: “Your information may be biased by your attitude and social circle.”

    I have info only for the total EU membership, but its dropping badly

    After the sharp decline recorded in autumn 2011 in the proportion of Europeans for whom the EU conjures up a positive image (-9 percentage points since spring 2011), the proportion is unchanged this time at 31%. However, the proportion with a negative image of the EU has risen slightly overall (28%, +2), matched by a corresponding decrease in those for whom the EU conjures up a neutral image (39%, -2).

    http://ec.europa.eu/public_opinion/archives/eb/eb77/eb77_first_en.pdf

    Look at answer to Q14.

    But to tell you the truth, my social circle does not give a damn about the EU, we have enough on our plate by the US.

  30. Louis Kovach :
    But to tell you the truth, my social circle does not give a damn about the EU, we have enough on our plate by the US.

    I’m not surprised. I’m sure you see enemies behind every bush.


  31. But to tell you the truth, my social circle does not give a damn about the EU, we have enough on our plate by the US.

    Woww, Great circle of friends you have. I am sure whatever happens in the EU will never effect the other side of the pond either financially or politically.
    “Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity.” Martin Luther King Jr.

  32. Pete H. : “I’m not surprised. I’m sure you see enemies behind every bush.”

    After them maybem but not behind them. I voted for both of them.

  33. Louis Kovach :

    Your smug intent is as transparent as Orban’s anti-semitism…

    Mutt: “Kovach the master of the subtle anti-Semitic humor …

    May I ask what is antisemitic about “Next year in Jerusalem.” ?

  34. @Eva, have your heard of the “ReConnect Hungary programme”? Do you know how it is being funded?

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