Announcement: Helsinki Commission hearing on Hungary,    March 19, 2013

The Helsinki Commission hearing on Hungary is scheduled for today, March 19, 2013.  This event is open to the public. Herewith vital information from the press release.

Room SVC 210 is located on the Senate side of the Capitol Visitor Center, the main entrance to the U.S. Capitol.  You may enter on the north side, below the East Plaza of the Capitol between Constitution and Independence Avenues (across the street from the Supreme Court). The closest metro stop is Capitol South (orange or blue line).

Please allow adequate time to clear through the security check.  On the lower level, visitors will need to show a picture ID at the Senate appointment desk before proceeding to the Senate rooms.

Map of the Capitol:

Map of the Visitor Center:

Congress has a new arrangement for live streaming.  This hearing is supposed to be the “beta” test.  In theory, the website ( will have the link online at the start of the hearing at 3 p.m EST (12 a.m.  West Coast USA and Canada; 8 p.m. in Budapest; 7 p.m. in England; 6 a.m. on March 20 in Australia).


  1. I just stumbled on the announcement of a new book in German that seems very relevant:
    Jan-Werner Müller: “Wo Europa endet: Ungarn, Brüssel und das Schicksal der liberalen Demokratie”. English translation of the title: “Where Europe Ends: Hungary, Brussels, and the Fate of Liberal Democracy.” J.-W. Müller is teaching at Princeton. I have a feeling that the book deserves a review in HS.

  2. Juhász, the new nominee to the Cconstitutional Court, is an absolutely third-rate law teacher (civil procedure, zero scholarship) and was nominated by the KDNP to a position at some internal security commitee. It seems that to get into the CC you need to be close the KDNP (after all, they are the trusted hardliners, Orbán will not trust in a simple Fidesz politician in this regard). But of course. And who cares even?

    Fidesz is one party conglomerate with Jobbik, and the Jobbik-related crazy, anti-semite fringe.

    Politically it is the cheapest to give these people awards. They will keep getting them.

    Fidesz (and it’s culture czars like György Fekete, Vidnyánszky, Zsolt Bayer etc.) love nothing more than see powerless Jewish liberals writing angry letters to ministers. The’re having the greatest fun.

    Also, hundreds of people were awarded on 15 March, I am certain that there are many more names who are literally crazy.

  3. cite=”#commentbody-52278″>
    tappanch :

    Szajer: “Fidesz is a strong democratic party”… I am laughing.

    But you must admit that he was impressive. He was chosen well. Poor Cardin was impressed.

  4. It was fantastic to listen to Kim Scheppele, to the lady from Freedom House and to the gentleman from US Holocaust Museum.
    I hope Dear Eva, that you can publish their contribution or at least give us the URL so we can read it.
    It made my evening in Vienna.
    I’ll have to look tomorrow at egyenes beszéd of the excellent Olga Kálmán.

  5. Fidesz will always win these hearings (games) because they are prepared lawyers and there is no way an American or an EU burocrat would have the intimate knowledge as the chosen Fidesz representative has.

    Plus, these Fidesz people like Szájer are politicians with decades of routine so he is not a banker who is there before the committee to be taken apart by respected politicians, he is as experienced as the congressmen or whoever and does not have to respect or care about these congresspeople.

    If it’s about law, you gotta be 125% prepared. Fidesz is a party of lawyers, with the top 25 people almost exclusively are lawyers. Don’t ever forget this.

    Non-lawyers can do whatever they want, they simply can’t win.

  6. Fidesz is a party of lawyers that never practiced – became politicians straight after their school years.

  7. Karl, Kim’s full text is published within a few minutes. I also have David Baer’s written testimony and his permission to publish it tomorrow. And I’m currently working on getting the text from Freedom House and the Holocaust Museum.

    I didn’t hear the beginning of the hearing. I found out about YouTube a few minutes later and I must say that Szájer was food. He managed to fool Senator Ben Carden for a while. He sounded so convincing and so superior. Someone who has to explain to that stupid American how things are done in Europe.

  8. tappanch :

    I would like to read Prof Scheppele’s and Mr Shapiro’s written, detailed contributions.

    As I told. Kim’s will be on today. I also have David Baer’s written testimony and I will try to get the other two testimonies as well.One thing is sure. They knew their stuff.

  9. I thought Mr Shapiro’s testimony was very moving and spoke volumes about the downward spiral Hungary is currently in.

    I kept watching Szajer in the audience behind Shapiro, smirking and making comments to the young political attache (Anna Stumpf) and thinking: how do people like you sleep at night?

  10. I don’t win you win or lose in these hearings. The purpose is to generate more publicity for the problem and let them know that the world is watching.

    He was good compared to other Fidesz politicians but I don’t think he made any good impression on the senator.

    He is also a four start asshole. He was very disrespectful with the senator at times. See at 1:26:20, when senator Cardin accidentally said Austria instead of Hungary. He also interrupted him many times. Typical Hungarian attitude, like “Yeah, I taught a lesson to the American! We are so smart!”.

    I believe he just came across as the usual Hungarian bumpkin with slightly better English.

    This is the link to the above part. If it doesn’t jump to it, fast forward to 1:26:20.

  11. Bowen: Is Anna Stumpf the daughter of István Stumpf, the former Fidesz government minister turned constitutional court judge (who is now so independent, but I promse you that he will turn a hardliner conservative should the political situation so warrant)?

    Anyway, these people sleep like babies. They are winners and winners sleep well.

    Diplomacy and advocacy are interesting jobs. Look, Slobo Milosevic’s lawyers and diplomats roundly denied and rejected even the idea that there would have been any atrocties (let ethnic cleansing, and especially not genocide) committed against Bosnians or Albanians or that the Serbian government would have sanctioned anything.

    WIth the straightest face the representatives of Serbia (including Prof. Tibor Várady of Hungarian ethnicicty) lied and lied (and in a way won, even if the country fell deeper and deeper into decline)

    But you have to understand that this is their very job about.

    Most of the times you don’t have to lie, but you happily accept that from time to time you have to do it for your employer/client.

    You better get to like József Szájer and his friends, because they are’nt leaving anytime soon.

  12. Bowen :
    I thought Mr Shapiro’s testimony was very moving and spoke volumes about the downward spiral Hungary is currently in.
    I kept watching Szajer in the audience behind Shapiro, smirking and making comments to the young political attache (Anna Stumpf) and thinking: how do people like you sleep at night?

    Do you think the csendo”rs did not sleep after they locked the gates of the cattle cars?

  13. I think Kim Lane Scheppele has done a wonderful job. Her speech summarizes the situation very clearly and with an expert’s view. I hope her analysis will be used by all the observing organizations and the media. I also like her “solution-plan” about educating Hungarians.

    Eva, I don’t think Szajer was that impressive. It is true that he came across as confident and well-prepared, but that was only expected in a situation like this. He simply presented the usual Fidesz-distorted version of facts, and they will not be taken at face value.
    In fact, if you watch Ms Scheppele’s face as he speaks, you can tell when he lies. Her face tells it all, when she raises her eyebrows, when she shakes her head etc.

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