This is a loose translation of the title Viktor Orbán gave to his speech at the opening of the New Széchenyi Plan. The original is actually more emphatic. He "demands" a place and since it wouldn't make much sense to demand hopes for Hungarians from Hungarians, I came to the conclusion that this demand is addressed to the outside world. In a way he is not much off target because, after all, the whole New Széchenyi Plan will be financed from European Union subsidies. That is, if they keep coming.
The pamphlet that was published for the occasion is 199 pages long and is available online. On the surface it looks very impressive. One wonders how on earth György Matolcsy's new ministry managed to put together such a detailed pamphlet that is being offered for public discussion. Not enough time has elapsed since the Új Széchenyi Terv was published and therefore as far as I know not much has been written about the plan. But a few barbed pieces have already appeared. One in Népszabadság (July 31) by Gusztáv Megyesi is entitled "Stolen material." Megyesi and others discovered that at the very end of the pamphlet there is a list, a very long list, of people who allegedly "participated in the preparation of this pamphlet." I was astonished to see that a dead man, Árpád Skrabski, was busily helping along. What Andy Vajda, the American-Hungarian film producer, contributed to this economic plan is also a mystery to me. I wasn't surprised to see the name of Zsigmond Járay, but another economist and former national bank chairman, Péter Ákos Bod, was astonished to discover his name on the list. Apparently he had nothing whatsoever to do with it. Others discovered the name of Gergely Litkai, who is a humorist. One can imagine how much fun someone can have with the list.
Much of Viktor Orbán's short speech was not at all new. He repeated some of the themes we already discussed in connection with his speech at Tusnádfürdő. But here are some questionable claims from the speech.
First, Orbán contended that the ruins of the Hungarian economy were cleared away by the 29-point "action plan." In reality, the 29-point action plan was thrown together in three days because José Manuel Barroso poured cold water on Orbán's plans for a higher deficit for the current year. The action plan also had to be introduced in a hurry because the two left-handed Lajos Kósa and Péter Szijjártó frightened the world markets to death by comparing Hungary's situation to that of Greece. The ruins this action plan had to clear away were the Orbán government's own doing. Moreover, although some of the economic steps to be taken were passed by parliament, the bill containing them hasn't even reached the president for his signature. So, if there were ruins, they are still lying about untouched.
Yet, according to Orbán, "the financial situation of the country today is stable and reliable." Miracle of miracles! Two months ago, according to Orbán, the country was close to bankruptcy and the "action plan managed to prevent the danger of collapse." To repeat the obvious, if the action plan hasn't even been introduced, how on earth could it have prevented the alleged collapse? And note that Orbán here supports the blatantly false statements of the two culprits who managed to turn half the world upside down for a couple of days. This is typical Orbán. He says certain things for home consumption and entirely different things abroad. Except, in my opinion, in today's electronically wired world, that will not float for long.
After a few encouraging words about the prospects for economic independence which is now possible because his government "established the international conditions" for it, another claim that is questionable, he turned to a favorite theme he already mentioned in Tusnádfürdő: Hungary must become "a land of knowledge." Because of "the peculiar Hungarian way of thinking and [their] intellectual talents … [Hungary] can be a winner" in this global economy. But this time when he was speaking to an exclusively Hungarian audience and the president of Romania, Trajan Băsescu, wasn't present as he was in Tasnádfürdő, he went further. He added that "there is a saying in the United States that there are two kinds of intelligence on this earth: that of people in general and another of Hungarians."
His audience must have loved this one. Isn't it heartwarming to hear that one belongs to a nation whose IQ is way above or profoundly different from (and superior to) that of any other people? By the way, there is no such American saying that extolls the superior intelligence of Hungarians. When it comes to the present Hungarian government, one can read all sorts of things about it but none of them mentions the superior intelligence of its prime minister and his economic advisors. On the contrary.