Council of Europe: Debate on the functioning of democracy in Hungary

The discussion just ended. One could follow it live on the Internet at the website of the Council of Europe. I assume that eventually the debate in the Parliamentary Assembly will also be available on video.

Let me jot down my first impressions. First and foremost, I would be most surprised if Björn von Sydow, a Swedish socialist member of the Parliamentary Assembly, were right that the Council of Europe would initiate a "monitoring procedure" against Hungary because of human rights violations. Most of the speakers took the Orbán government's side. There were fierce Hungarian supporters of the government while no Hungarian socialist was present. Apparently, the two Hungarian socialist members of the body were unable to attend. One of them is visiting India while the other is in the United States. Considering that the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council Europe meets only four times a year it is beyond me why the socialists decided to make travel plans during the first session of the year.

Although it is true that at least one conservative member, Lord Tim Boswell of Great Britain, condemned the Orbán government's nationalism and severely criticized the media law, most of the right-of-center speakers were a great deal more charitable. The Hungarian speakers simply spouted the usual Hungarian propaganda about building democracy instead of violating its rules.

The socialist Andreas Gross of Switzerland and the Swedish Kerstin Lundgren (liberal) were among the few critics. As "friends of Hungary" they felt that they have to speak out because otherwise they would fail the Hungarian people. Lundgren said that "the whistleblowers" must be listened to. She very much hoped that the Hungarian government will be good to its word and will make the necessary changes in the law. Another socialist from Moldavia, Grigore Petrenco, was also deeply concerned, especially because the board overseeing the media consists of people delegated by only one party. He mentioned the attack on the constitutional court. Just because a government has a two-thirds majority in parliament it mustn't behave as the leader of "a one-party system." According to him "monitoring procedures should be introduced."

Well, that was about the last criticism of the Hungarian government. Christos Pourgourides, a Cypriot Christian Democrat, launched the defense. The government has a two-thirds majority in parliament and therefore whatever the government does is "the will of the people." If there is something wrong with government actions there are courts. The Hungarian government is in consultation with the European Union and he hopes that the law will be changed before the question ends up on the table of the European Court. Monitoring is not necessary.

The Italian Luca Volonte, who is described as a leading social conservative, criticized the proceedings against Hungary because of "a lack of facts."  Any criticism of the government inside of Hungary comes from "people who are unhappy that they were not reelected." Holger Haibach (a German Christian Democrat) went on and on about the Hungarian socialists who ruined the country. He cited the corruption of the earlier governments but deemed Viktor Orbán's Hungary "a genuine European regime."

Then came the Hungarian contingent. Márton Braun (Fidesz), one of the deputy speakers of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, announced that they are not worried because "Hungary is a solid democracy." The European Union's criticism of the law doesn't touch on substantive points. They are "only technical issues," he said. Imre Vejkey (Christian Democrat) started with Gyurcsány and his alleged lies, as if they had anything to do with the current state of democracy in Hungary. He repeated the old story that the criticism leveled against the media law is based on "ignorance." He "categorically rejected" any such "attacks" on the Hungarian government.

Next came Tamás Gaudi-Nagy (Jobbik) who was also chosen by the Hungarian government to defend its actions. He went on about the unfair treatment of the Council of Europe when it never criticized "eight years of awful dictatorship." Attila Gruber (Fidesz) addressed the situation of the civil servants who as a result of a new law can be fired without any explanation. This was necessary only because of the economic straits the country finds herself in at the moment. It has absolutely nothing to do with "political spring cleaning." As for the new constitution, he claimed that the old one was "Stalinist." The new one will be truly European with an eye on "national traditions." Melinda Széky (Fidesz) praised Hungary's twenty-year-old democracy which the government is now rebuilding and strengthening. All criticism against the Fidesz government is based on erroneous information. And for good measure György Frunda, a Hungarian politician from Romania, came to the rescue of the Orbán government. He wasn't satisfied with only twenty years of Hungarian democracy. He talked about "centuries of democracy"!  Although he admitted that perhaps Fidesz made a mistake in appointing only people close to the party to oversee the state of the Hungarian media, on the whole the government is on the right track. Hungary is a democracy and therefore "Hungary must be respected."

Fidesz was well prepared and I think that they achieved what they wanted.

 

54 comments

  1. Fidesz didn’t do much on this occasion. It turned out the way it did because they were mostly EPP fraction members who spoke.
    And even though I was very happy to see in the news in the morning that “Hungarian” socialists won’t be able to attend this sitting, I was not so happy to see the European socialists’ low turnout. I could say they were probably influenced by last week’s events when they saw clearly that they can’t put a pressure on Orbán with effect. But I don’t know the real reasons, maybe I’m not right.
    Maybe Mr. Schulz, the Socialists’ caucus leader remembers the very embarrassing situation when someone asked him about why the Tunisian dictator’s party was only recently kicked out of the Socialist International, when at the same time, they are so actively “interested” in Hungary’s new media situation.
    Or maybe, after the letter from Neelie Kroes of the European Commission, the socialists didn’t think they could continue attacking Hungary’s government with credibility. Maybe.
    All of these could be very legitimate reasons.

  2. Oh, I forgot the most important bit!
    This is new news: http://www.mno.hu/portal/762039
    For Troll Paul, who is totally absorbed in attacking my level of English, probably with moral ground to do it as his Hungarian language skills certainly surpass my English skills, reading this article must be a no-brainer.

  3. Fidesz is busy importing the divisive political tactics that worked so well for them in Hungary (labelling all criticism as politically motivated originating from the “evil” socialists). The same political tactic that was so detrimental for Hungary (of course, very advantageous for Fidesz). I wonder what kind of damage Orban’s tactic could do at a European level. Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary? Hope he won’t be successful in accomplishing that.

  4. That must have been a farce but compared with the other topics debated today (war crimes and justice on the Balkans) the Hungarian problems (luckily) still appear manageable. But that is no excuse for that the issue had to be advanced by a Swiss, a Swedish and a Moldovian instead of Hungarians themselves. For me this only confirms that MSZP should not be counted on and that a sensible opposition to Fidesz has to be created nearly from scratch.

  5. @Kirsten: I wonder of MSzP stayed out of this on purpose? As they are already accused of being the orchestrator of a political attack on their own country.. (see Kevin’s link to MNO for example).
    It was quite a mistake, as Fidesz is going to blame them, no matter what.

  6. An: “labelling all criticism as politically motivated originating from the “evil””
    Strange, this tactic is the one I see now from the “philosophers” who can’t account for the money they took with fake contracts (where they were usually the contract assessors as well), yet they label everything as a politically motivated attack.
    “Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary?”
    He didn’t turn anybody into anything in Hungary. It was not Fidesz who started lying back in 2002 about how László Kövér told those people who disagree with the government to hang themselves, it was not Fidesz who was spreading the racist lies about how 23 million Romanians would flood Hungary, it was not Fidesz who fuelled up the Hungarians in Hungary against the Hungarians in the neighbouring countries during the 2004 state citizenship vote.
    It is not Fidesz doing such abominable, misanthrophical propaganda.
    And if you think those in the EU are civilized, look at how Danny the Red Kohn-Bandit was bawling lies with his purple head. Or, for that matter, how my favourite Nigel Farage was insulting Herman van Rompuy not too long ago.

  7. Kevin Moore: “And even though I was very happy to see in the news in the morning that “Hungarian” socialists won’t be able to attend this sitting”
    Why would you happy about this? Don’t you want a balanced discussion? You think that the European conservatives can win only if there are no socialists and liberals present?

  8. @Kevin: “It is not Fidesz doing such abominable, misanthrophical propaganda.” Of course not. Fidesz would never do abominable, misanthropic propaganda… I know. And Orban Viktor never lies. Of course.

  9. An: “I wonder what kind of damage Orban’s tactic could do at a European level. Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary?”
    Not impossible.

  10. Kirsten: “For me this only confirms that MSZP should not be counted on and that a sensible opposition to Fidesz has to be created nearly from scratch.”
    I was shocked.

  11. @Kirsten. “For me this only confirms that MSZP should not be counted on and that a sensible opposition to Fidesz has to be created nearly from scratch.”
    With Ms Szili and Mr. Szanyi babbling all over the place and Mr. Mesterhazi on French leave ANY activity within the MSZP may actually be considered something from scratch.
    It is actually a major surprise for me that the MSZP has not dropped in the polls. I guess they are at their core supporter levels now, those who would vote MSZP, no matter what.

  12. An: “I wonder of MSzP stayed out of this on purpose? As they are already accused of being the orchestrator of a political attack on their own country.”
    I just received a letter from someone who heard Attila Mesterházy yesterday in Washington. She also thinks that this was the reason.
    However, I don’t think that was a good strategy.

  13. Kevin Moore: “look at how Danny the Red Kohn-Bandit was bawling lies with his purple head.”
    Do you know what he said? I very much doubt it.

  14. An: “I wonder what kind of damage Orban’s tactic could do at a European level. Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary?”
    wHY WOULD: Not impossible.
    Impossible. I am sorry to say that but most countries have learned to debate in a bit more constructive manner, accepting that there are diverse views and consider the open society as a means to balance these diverse views. (Not to speak of that it is unlikely that these politicians will start to ponder on which Hungarian politician said which “lies” and whether other politicians were the brave ones when they detected such misbehaviour. There are certainly enough problems in their own parties and countries.)

  15. Kristen: “An: “I wonder what kind of damage Orban’s tactic could do at a European level. Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary?” wHY WOULD: Not impossible. Impossible.”
    I hope you’re right. But I look around in the United States and look what is happening here.

  16. @Kirsten: “I am sorry to say that but most countries have learned to debate in a bit more constructive manner, accepting that there are diverse views and consider the open society as a means to balance these diverse views. “.
    I hope you are right and that that these constructive practices are well-rooted. And also, Hungary is to small of a fish to cause a big stir in European politics. Hopefully Orban won’t have the influence and time to make a lasting impact in the EU.
    I hope. Because I think that his character and what he represents is toxic.

  17. An: I wonder of MSzP stayed out of this on purpose? As they are already accused of being the orchestrator of a political attack on their own country..
    I see your point, but it would nevertheless mean that they have no strategy. They apparently accept the notion of criticism being an attack on the nation…

  18. Kirsten: “I wonder of MSzP stayed out of this on purpose? As they are already accused of being the orchestrator of a political attack on their own country.”
    That’s exactly what I wanted to say. They are already accused of creating the whole anti-Hungarian propaganda against Hungary. So, what is the difference?

  19. “Don’t you want a balanced discussion?”
    Of course he doesn’t, he’s a troll.
    He only exists to wind us up, so we waste our time arguing nonsense with phantoms.
    Don’t feed the trolls.

  20. Éva, An: I did not want to say that it were impossible that European politicians hated each other and that they were instead always guided by the noble idea of a compromise. I meant it with reference to this particular case: in my impression Viktor Orban cannot divide the other EU politicians in a way he divided the Hungarian society. I think this sounds a bit more plausible…

  21. A little troll logic for your entertainment:
    “All it takes from you is to ask me to leave this forum… I will if you don’t want to see my comments.” Kevin Moore | January 23, 2011 at 04:15 PM
    “I thought you were leaving this blog, ‘Kevin’?” Paul | January 25, 2011 at 08:20 AM
    “I’ll probably leave soon anyway, but the more you insult me, the longer I stay.” Kevin Moore | January 25, 2011 at 10:37 AM
    “And I asked if you wanted me to leave but I didn’t specify a time frame.” Kevin Moore | January 25, 2011 at 05:15 PM
    It’s quite fun doing this (following troll ‘logic’ across several threads). It takes a bit of time, thanks to Typepad’s wonderfully user-friendly navigation, but it is strangely satisfying.

  22. @Paul: I really don’t mind Kevin. It feels like reading Magyar Nemzet or any other right-wing paper. At least all the English speakers get a taste of those.

  23. I quite enjoy the trolls, An, both of them make me chuckle quite frequently, especially when ‘Kevin’ gets annoyed and his English starts to fall apart! I love ‘Joseph”s mad USA posts too – a troll obsessed if ever there was one.
    But I do wish other posters wouldn’t take their bait. They’re not the least bit interested in serious debate, they just want to clog up the blog. It’s just a form of spam really.

  24. Turning to the third comment, written by the troll-in-residence: Could it be that he doesn’t know the difference between the Council of Europe and the European Parliament? Kind of clueless, eh? [I suggest Google, as a basic remedy.]

  25. Éva, An: I think the Hungarian internal conflict has received much attention in the EU because freedom of the press (and other liberties) is considered a high priority, where “Europe” wishes to set the standard for others. Some commentators have also been worried for some time about the rise of Jobbik. But although Brussels or other places sometimes do criticise procedures (such as missing transparency, corruption, insufficiently independent courts, or the unequal treatment of Roma) in the “new” member states, “Europe” does not have answers to that either (also because often they are not entitled to act). Therefore the “Hungarian conflict” may lead to heated discussions in the other European countries as well, but I doubt that it could become as divisive as in Hungary. For an outsider it is also rather difficult to comprehend the origin of the conflict, it is not the media law. (I think that I still fail to understand, the debate is centered around who lied when and who admitted lies or not and it always gets back to this.) And I thought that in such a situation the European politicians may choose to see that as a matter on which opinions may differ…

  26. @Eva: By the way, your comment on the US is right on. I trust, though, that the American democratic traditions can survive the waves of rising populism. Much better than Hungary.

  27. And (last point): not to forget that European politicians only learn to be really tough to each other, it is still not considered “genuinely domestic policy” to criticise politicians of other nations.

  28. “Melinda Széky (Fidesz) praised Hungary’s twenty-year-old democracy which the government is now rebuilding and strengthening. All criticism against the Fidesz government is based on erroneous information.”
    Where there’s smoke, there’s fire.
    I wonder if Kevin is familiar with this telling idiom.

  29. This is what MTI had to utter in English last night. Not too convincing either, but clearly identifying the kneejerk position of the Christian Democrats who are members of the all encompassing European People’s Party EPP.
    —————————
    “Council of Europe holds debate on Hungarian democracy
    Print. Wednesday January 26 2011
    Budapest, January 26 (MTI) – The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on Wednesday held a debate on the functioning of democracy in Hungary, initiated by Andreas Gross, the head of the Socialist group.
    At the opening of the debate, Bjorn Von Sydow, the Socalist chairman of the Council’s Political Affairs Committee, expressed concern over developments in Hungary “related to the rule of law, human rights and the functioning of democratic institutions” and requested that a monitoring procedure should be initiated.
    “Checks and balances are at stake,” he said, adding that the Hungarian government seemed to have “let go of fundemental democratic principles” and that besides the new media law, the curtailment of the rights of Hungary’s constitutional court was also cause for concern.
    Andreas Gross, the head of the assembly’s Socialist group, said Hungary’s government should discontinue its practice of misusing power “in changing the Hungarian system”, citing, in addition to the media law, changes to the pension system and new rules of dismissal in the public sector as examples.
    Christos Pourgourides of the European People’s Party said Hungary had “a strong track record of democratic change”, the current government had a strong mandate and that it was premature to talk of a monitoring procedure and that the EPP group would oppose this initiative.
    Gisele Gautier, a French member of the European People’s Party, said it was surprising that the Assembly even put this issue on its agenda, considering that the European Commission is already dealing with it and the Hungarian government had promised to amend the legislation if needed.
    Marton Braun, the head of the Hungarian delegation to the Council of Europe, said Hungarian democratic institutions were functioning well and added that “if we make mistakes we are ready to remedy them.”
    The debate ended without a resolution.”
    ——————–
    … and no Martin Schulz was ever mentioned (as a reminder to the trolls).

  30. Here is an article about Magyar Nemzet having proof of a circulated letter from the Hungarian socialists to EU’s socialists where they summarize their lies that should serve as a base for the anti-Orbán attacks: http://www.mno.hu/portal/762039

  31. When a commentator like “Kevin” insists upon placing the nationality of MSzP members in quotation marks, then I believe we have a large part of the explanation for the MSzP silence at the Council. The populist/nationalists have so long insisted on taking away the right of any Hungarian who differs from their point of view to call themselves Hungarian, and this viewpoint has become concrete, a meme, for such a large part of the population, that any critical word about the present government spoken by opponents of the government off Hungarian soil can immediately be spun as treasonous. Being able to convince a majority that minority is “not really Hungarian” is a large step towards Fascism. And this, combined with a media law with the potential to effectively shut down the oppositions speech within the country, should frighten any honest (small d) democrat.

  32. GW: thanks for noting my quotation marks. You are probably one of the few who actually recognize the meaning they convey. It is not about the ‘right’ taking away MSZP’s rights. It’s exclusively about MSZP doing everything in their power AGAINST Hungary. They themselves are responsible for the quotation marks.

  33. Minusio: “Turning to the third comment, written by the troll-in-residence: Could it be that he doesn’t know the difference between the Council of Europe and the European Parliament?”
    I had that feeling.

  34. Kevin Moore,
    I am not a socialist but a small d democrat who wishes to see Hungary do well in the world as a thriving democracy with a thriving economy. To my great surprise, I recognized during my six years in Hungary in the early oughts and since, that Fidesz was the party doing everything in its power to turn hungary back from democracy, a market economy, and a place in the world at large. This does not diminish the problems of the present opposition (to the contrary, I wish Hungary nothing more than a true classical liberal party of competent, incorruptable and colorless managers and a better national soccer team to provide the color!) But to my mind, there are in the opposition people to be found who are true Hungarian patriots in their desire to make Hungary better prepared to compete in the modern world economy and firmly committed to not siding up with ex-Soviets or Chinese Communists. In a democracy, people have different points of view, and democratic societies thrive on the constructive debate among these differences, not by shutting them down as unpatriotic. Diminishing the patriotism of fellow citizens who honestly want what is best for their country is, in iteself, a deeply unpatriotic act, a road to division rather than strength.

  35. One thing that always amuses me about the trolls is Fidesz’s choice of their names. Why always these improbably ‘English’ names? Do they think we will think they really are English? Clearly we won’t, so why do they insist on this transparent ‘subterfuge’?
    They are clearly Hungarian (although in ‘Joseph”s case, he could easily be a bot!), so why not give them Hungarian names? This would also fit in with Fidesz’s philosophy – for such a faux-patriotic party, it seems strange indeed that they pick English names for their trolls.

  36. Sólyom László former head of state has also commented favourably on the state of democracy in Hungary. He added that criticism of the media law is somewhat overblown. The country is in a dire economic situation and some radical measures are needed. At last a cool head!

  37. Disappointing but predictable result. I feel like we are in a production of OZ. The “magician” (Orban) hides and pulls the strings, pushes the buttons, while the Witch (Jobbik) does more damage. OZ does not stand up for anything but does his magic that totally flabbergasts everyone. I yet to see Dorothy yet.

  38. GW: then your point of view simply doesn’t agree with the vast majority. The vast majority, including me, thinks that it was the socialists who turned Hungarians within Hungary against Hungarians in minorities outside of our borders, and it was them who took every opportunity to take action against ethnic Hungarians. If that qualifies as a patriot in your view, it’s no wonder you differ from the majority.

  39. ‘And for good measure György Frunda, a Hungarian politician from Romania, came to the rescue of the Orbán government. He wasn’t satisfied with only twenty years of Hungarian democracy. He talked about “centuries of democracy”! Although he admitted that perhaps Fidesz made a mistake in appointing only people close to the party to oversee the state of the Hungarian media, on the whole the government is on the right track. Hungary is a democracy and therefore “Hungary must be respected.”‘
    This is an interesting development. For a long time Frunda was despised by the FIDESZ/JOBBIK sympathizers in Transylvania, because some years ago he participated in talks between the Romanian Government and representatives of the Hungarians in Romania (at a place called Snagov). Could this be an attempt to kiss and make up?

  40. Kirsten You write ** “An: “I wonder what kind of damage Orban’s tactic could do at a European level. Can he turn otherwise civilized political opponents into enemies like he did in Hungary” **.
    Yes Kirsten he can, and will. He needs enemies for him to fight and for the Hungarians to hate
    An The ‘Mighty One’ (OV) is an superb political manipulator for his own purposes. He wants power, power in Hungary, power in Europe, power in the World. I am afraid he is a Megalomaniac. If to destroy the political cohesion of the EU and if necessary the EU it’s self to get it he will do so to get what he wants.
    Someone you have seen Dorothy, she (Neelie Kroes) and her little helpers. They are very quiet. The so called technical questions she has asked for clarification these are to clear up the vagueness in the Media Act.
    Another ‘Dorothy’ will soon appear in the shape of Mr Joaquín Almunia (Competition), Mr Algirdas Šemeta (taxation) or Mr Michel Barnier,(Internal Market and services). One or more of them will be looking at the new taxation regime.
    There may be one more ‘Dorothy’ to come out of the box (whoever it will be). They will examine the new Hungarian Citizenship laws. I wonder why?

  41. @Odin: “Yes Kirsten he can, and will. He needs enemies for him to fight and for the Hungarians to hate.”
    I indeed do not believe it. What exactly can OV do to other Europeans (not to Hungarians, there I also can imagine that he can do a lot of evil)? As far as I can imagine he can cause trouble in the neighbouring countries by trying to nourish hatred in the Hungarian minorities towards the “majority”. But I do not see him sending an army there (if you so much dwell on these comparisons with Germany in the 1930s, I certainly recommend to compare the might of the armed forces and military spending). What else could he do to “Europe”? Nationalise all foreign investments, close borders for foreign trade, default on foreign debt and so on, but that would – ultimately – hurt Hungary more than the other European countries. But so far OV did nothing of the kind except perhaps a tax on foreign companies and that is being investigated (I again have to defend him but never mind…), and – despite all that he stands for – he accepted the role of European presidency as an honour. If he is able to divide the Hungarian society, this is because of an internal conflict, which cannot be transferred to the other European nations. The reasons why I think that it cannot be transferred I wanted to write in a comment shortly anyway.
    But as I now tried to imagine what harm OV could do to Europe, I would of course like to know what you expect.

  42. Sólyom László former head of state has commented favourably on the present state of democracy in Hungary. He also said that criticism of the media law is somewhat overblown. The country is in a dire economic situation that may require some radical measures.

  43. @Éva, An: I thought about it again, also because you compared it with the current American situation. In Europe most countries do not have presidential systems, governments often have to be formed as coalitions. That requires that the parties (perhaps not those at the fringes but the other ones) have to be “on speaking terms” even if they are opponents (to retain their options if coalitions have to be formed). The quality of such “balancing” certainly need not convince everybody of the political maturity of the EU countries but it is a necessary ingredient if countries have multi-party systems instead of a strong presidential system. And in Hungary that balancing or discussions between opponents does not work well (despite the absence of a strong president), and in the past years it does not seem to have worked at all. My impression was (but I wrote that already last week) that this is related to an unresolved definition of the Hungarian “nation”. The search for Crypto-Jews, the difficulties in the acceptance of that a nation can accommodate a broad range of political or cultural ideas are for me a sign of that search for the “proper” definition. Such a conflict about “identity” can divide a nation and lead to a situation where no opportunity to keep the conflict going is missed. But that makes it unlikely that other European countries could be infected by that. I do not see that it could make much of an impression if OV suggested to Manuel Barroso to search for “Crypto-Jews” or “Communists” that are the source of all European trouble. (West European countries are much more vulnerable to agitation against “immigrants” but here the dividing lines are different from those that divide Hungarians with more liberal and Hungarians with more traditional views.) So I lack imagination on which issue raised by OV could divide the European politicians in a manner that he divides Hungary (and I sincerely hope that he will not prove me wrong…).

  44. @Kristen:
    I don’t think that there is an underlying unresolved conflict in Hungary about the definition of nation or about anything else. Not much more conflict than anywhere else where people have differing opinions. This polarization that you see now was purposefully generated by Fidesz by exploiting differences in values and opinions (which are normal in any society), demonizing political opponents and turning people against each other.
    I do not believe that Hungarian society is inherently any more divisive than any other, rather it has gradually developed into this in the last 10-15 years. If you would like to see how this polarization can happen in practically any society in a very short time fueled by politics, I recommend you watch Before the Rain, an excellent movie about ethnic conflicts in Macedonia.
    As I said before, hope you are right and Orban won’t be able to exert lasting influence in the EU, as he is too small of a fish there to do that. But his modus operandi is dividing people with self-serving lies and distortions. He’ll find the issue that is divisive and exploit it, let be the definition of the nation or anything else.

  45. @An: “I do not believe that Hungarian society is inherently any more divisive than any other,”
    I certainly did not want to suggest that. Elnezest kerek. And you are right that such conflicts can arise in any society if someone like OV tries with great effort. But such a rather general assessment will not change anything in a country that unfortunately has been hit by such an event. Now I really use a German example (which I do not like because it is out of proportion), it is certainly possible that other nations also have committed crimes against humanity and it is still rather central to know why that was possible in Germany.

  46. GW- Who do you think Hungary should “compete” with in the world economy?
    Who do you have in mind, maybe China or
    perhaps India??
    (In my humble opinion, Hungary can only co-operate with other European countries)
    What I find truly tragic is that there are people in Hungary, who just because they can’t see the bottom of the ocean, they refuse to recognize its debt.

  47. Sólyom László former head of state has also commented favourably on the state of democracy in Hungary. He added that criticism of the media law is somewhat overblown. The country is in a dire economic situation and some radical measures are needed. At last a cool head!
    Posted by: Joseph Simon | January 27, 2011 at 06:53 AM
    Sólyom László former head of state has commented favourably on the present state of democracy in Hungary. He also said that criticism of the media law is somewhat overblown. The country is in a dire economic situation that may require some radical measures.
    Posted by: Joseph Simon | January 27, 2011 at 02:40 PM
    A rare brace of posts from ‘Joseph’ – neither mentions the USA at all! But he’s back on his repeated post thing again – although this time he has actually retyped the post for its second coming.
    So what changed over 8 hours? Nothing much – except rather oddly Sólyom László is described as having a “cool head” in the first post, but not in the second.
    Is this significant? Can we read into this a subtle change in the Fidesz view of Sólyom László? Between 6:53 this morning and 2:40 in the afternoon, did Sólyom say or do something to upset Orbán?
    I think we should be told.

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