Listening to Viktor Orbán in action

This morning after reading the transcript of a conversation between the prime minister and István Tarlós, the mayor of Budapest, I decided to devote today’s post to it. It’s a rare piece of “documentary evidence” about the inner workings of this government. After all, even historians decades hence will not be able to hear or read what transpired at cabinet meetings. In those terrible socialist-liberal days cabinet meetings were taped and transcribed. A hundred years ago there were at least short summaries of cabinet meetings. Now only the participants know what happened in these meetings.

Let’s start with the occasion for this conversation. Budapest, thanks to the “generosity” of the Orbán government, will be getting 150 sorely needed Mercedes-Benz Citaro buses. The first fifty arrived, and today they began their scheduled runs on certain bus lines. It was a few months ago that I read with some interest that Tarlós himself decided on the color of the buses. I looked at a number of Citaro buses from different cities, and I must say that the ones in Budapest will be unique all right.

MTI / Photo Szilárd Koszticsák

MTI / Photo Szilárd Koszticsák

The ceremony began with the usual Orbán speech about a strong Hungary and a strong Budapest. He expounded on the fantastic achievements of his government and its blessings on the capital. Three years ago the city was full of stories about a Nokia box stuffed with stolen money, but now the talk is about buses. Never mind that the story of the Nokia box was a figment of the imagination of a frightened witness against Miklós Hagyó, MSZP deputy mayor of the city.

After the brief ceremony the prime minister, the mayor, and other officials and newspapermen had a fairly lengthy ride from Heroes’ Square to Deák Square. Orbán and Tarlós stood in the aisle close to the bus driver, a woman. Népszava published an article headlined “Orbán can create laws for anything.”

Here is part of the conversation.

At the Kodály Körönd:

V.O.: Hey, István, do these houses still belong to the Ukrainians?

I. T.: I didn’t even know that they were owned by Ukrainians.

V.O.: I read something about Ukrainians….

I. T.: The Ballet Institute belongs to the Portuguese.

V.O.: It belongs to a Portuguese individual and I want it back.

I.T.:  Isn’t there some kind of law that it cannot be done for twenty years …?

V.O.: Why don’t we create one? The city could propose it and I will create one.

I.T.: One must have a law for it. A city ordinance is not enough.

V.O.: Initiate the enactment of such a law and I will create one.

I.T.: Fine with me.

V.O.: Just give me a proposal. I can’t figure it out instead of you.

I.T.: Mr. Prime Minister, could we turn in a couple of bills?

V.O.: Don’t try to be too greedy. We are talking about one. Turn it in!

I.T.: Okay, we will turn one in.

A jocular conversation between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Mayor István Tarlós Világgazdaság / Photo by Katalin Darnay

A jocular conversation between Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and Mayor István Tarlós  / Világgazdaság, Photo by Katalin Darnay

About facades that would need refurbishing:

I.T.: If we hadn’t built the Metro #4 we could have fixed up the facades in Districts V, VI, VII and VIII completely.

V.O.: I’ll tell you what Gábor Bethlen [Prince of Transylvania, 1580-1629] did in Transylvania. When he was elected prince he went around the country and saw that the houses were in disrepair. He declared that within one year every owner of a house must fix it up; otherwise they would see what happens.

I.T.: Will you give me such freedom?

V.O.: If it is a question of permission, we will think about it if I get a proposal from you…. Something must be done.

I.T.:  In May that proposal will be turned in.

At the Anker House:

I.T.: Look at this building. It has been in this deplorable state for the last twenty years.

V.O.: But why, István? You see this building every day…. Why do you allow it?

I.T.: The problem is that it is not ours.

V.O.: You are not the owner but you are the mayor. Order them to fix it up! [In the original: Rendeld el, hogy legyen rendben!]

I.T.: Zoli, let’s not forget that the prime minister would like an amendment to the municipality law. We will turn in a recommendation.

* * *

I know that this text sounds like something from The Onion. Alas, it’s not.

53 comments

  1. This is a joke right? Please say it’s a good joke.. and you know it’s May 2nd not April 1st.

  2. Some of it is joking, but I guess really half-joking.

    These are not very humourous or funny people to begin with.

    Tarlós, the mayor, comes across as a real csicska, a kind of lowly side-kick who is the butt of jokes. And Orbán is the bully, which we all knew.

    The entire scene is just weird and bizarre. Weird people. Crazy town.But true to present day Hungary, I agree.

    Orbán’s is puffed up and looks perhaps ten years older than his age (just turned 50, by the way I think I misseed the Catholic mass celebrated for this occassion, in the Belvárosi Church, right by the Elisabeth Bridge).

  3. For Hungarian speakers: if you wanna know what most people see from the Great Tobacco swindle here you are (see link). For English speakers: “MSZP is stealing the tobacco licenses all over the country” is repeated ad nauseam all over state media and Fidesz-related media (tvs, radios) and print such as Metropol and municipal newspapers.

    What is a scandal is a real scandal only – according to Fidesz – it was the oppsoition who perpetrated it (never mind that the state is organsising the tenders, these Socialists are so stricky). So, don’t count on sacndals.

    Fidesz will stay for ever as they own the media and the mindshare. Simple as that. MSZP ignored media, Fidesz built out the most comprehensive media empire anywhere in the EU (Index and Origo are read regulatly by no more than 500.000 people, that is 5% of the population out which many are anyway die hard Fidesz fan).

    You can lough and get terrified but he will stay.

    http://kepviselofunky.blog.hu/2013/05/02/szocialista_partkatonak_nyuljak_le_a_nemzet_trafikjait?utm_source=cimlap&utm_medium=link&utm_content=2013_05_02&utm_campaign=index&token=219129731041b4de845cbd3ed9e9da36

  4. @Klippo

    The majority of the Hungarians living in Hungary want a change of government – despite the billions of forints spent on government propaganda. What this propaganda has indeed achieved is that people do not flock to the opposition parties.

    Orban is frightened by the fact that half of the voters are not willing to tell pollsters their party preference. Orban’s only hope is in preventing people from exercising their vote in 2014.

  5. This is not really an “inside look” – Orban knew he was being filmed (which makes it even worse) and he was showing off. It is his idea of being funny, and he seems to be enjoying his limitless power tremendously. Joking with everyone, enjoying being the centre of attention.

    Frightening.

  6. Orban the 5th has no talent. He only knows one thing: how to manipulate Hungarians. That is his skill. I think this was meant to project some kind of “strong man” image to the average Joe. This guy isn’t dicking around like Tarlos. He doesn’t let the evil Portuguese guy colonialize Budapest…

    He knows this will win him more votes than trying to look intelligent. Unfortunately this winner image will work until the money runs out. This is the really sad part.

  7. tappanch :
    @Klippo
    The majority of the Hungarians living in Hungary want a change of government – despite the billions of forints spent on government propaganda. What this propaganda has indeed achieved is that people do not flock to the opposition parties.
    Orban is frightened by the fact that half of the voters are not willing to tell pollsters their party preference. Orban’s only hope is in preventing people from exercising their vote in 2014.

    Tsk, tsk. You’ve forgotten Papa Stalin’s great dictum: “Democracy is not about voting: it is about who counts the votes.”

  8. muttdamon :
    Orban the 5th has no talent. He only knows one thing: how to manipulate Hungarians. That is his skill. I think this was meant to project some kind of “strong man” image to the average Joe. This guy isn’t dicking around like Tarlos. He doesn’t let the evil Portuguese guy colonialize Budapest…
    He knows this will win him more votes than trying to look intelligent. Unfortunately this winner image will work until the money runs out. This is the really sad part.

    Orban is steering the country to where Germany was in 1945, and he’ll show his mastery by doing it without a world war, too.

  9. Fine, once again, let’s bitch away another golden opportunity to discredit the imbecile by moaning that no one cares and that Hungarians are useless no-hopers uninterested in democracy (echoing Orban’s own line, btw). Has anyone even bothered to forward the full transcript to concerned international press/NGOs?

  10. Deark Ferenc:

    I like this pro-active tone, DF, and heartily agree: it’s time to spread Orban’s Mayhem far and wide…

  11. The Viktator doesn’t strike me as man au fait with the concept of self-parody…. but if you were wanting to show to a foreign audience what kind of borderline (?) psychopath our leader really is then you could a lot worse than to forward this onto Reuters etc.

  12. There is a good piece from Véleményvezér today http://velemenyvezer.blog.hu/ saying that this is Orbán’s Öszödi beszéd, except society is now past the point of caring.
    It is all very well grumbling that government propaganda and its control of the media is impeding the opposition. But the opposition has no message and no program and would hardly attract votes (other than protest votes) if their voices were heard.

  13. Let’s wait what Orbán has to say to the WJC whose president Lauder had some strong words to say in the Süddeutsche Zeitung.
    And of course it will be interesting to see what comes out of the protests that the Hungarian Nazis have planned.

    The German magazine has some ideas on that:

    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/ausland/orban-wehrt-sich-gegen-kritik-vom-juedischen-weltkongress-a-897459.html

    Btw that article has a “nice” picture of a real Nazi – with the SS-slogan tattooed on his head …

  14. Sure, we like Jews, but they cannot decide what is good for us. The great anti-semite Prohászka is good, and Lukács is bad. Thus spoke the Hungarian nation. And we expect respect from the world., after all, we are a thousand and onehundred-year-old nation. Plus many say that the Hungarians actually predate the Sumerians (or that we are related to them?), so we are actully older than the Jews. So what do you say to this?

  15. Huba :

    Plus many say that the Hungarians actually predate the Sumerians (or that we are related to them?), so we are actully older than the Jews. So what do you say to this?

    That you are an idiot.

  16. Huba,
    You could lead Hungary better than Horthy or Orban.
    You have got humor.
    You will be the next prime minister with my endorsement.
    Steve

  17. Modern genetic studies have shown conclusively that there where human beings are concerned, there is really no such thing as race! So the idea that there is a “Hungarian race” that somehow predates another “race”, be it Sumerian or Jewish, is really a nonsense. Although it is counter-intuitive to many, even language is something that exists independent of specific people. Hungarian is a classic example, brought to Europe from central Asia by migrating tribes 1100 years ago and adopted by other tribes, who have no obvious connection with central Asia whatsoever. Anyone who claims to be an “ethnic Hungarian” is almost certainly talking nonsense because the people who brought the language have almost certainly intermarried and to all intents and purposes, “died out.”

    I often wish Hungary took the attitude of the Portuguese, who basically define their “identity” with their language. If you speak Portuguese (either as a first language, or adopted) you are Portuguese whether you are from Iberia or Angola or Indonesia. And if people like Huba could stop thinking of themselves as ethnic Hungarian (which is meaningless) and define themselves as “Hungarian speakers”, then would be making far more sense! And Hungary would be a much richer nation as a result.

  18. @Sumer
    The original inhabitants of Sumer looked like the Dravidians of South India – very dark-skinned, looked like the typical Gypsy in a Jobbik-fan’s nightmare.

    Usually the same Jobbik supporters imagine the origin of Hungarians in Sumer –
    so Hungarians and Gypsies are related after all. The same people promote the
    “rovas” writing (no earlier evidence than the 15th century) heading from right to left,
    suspicious Khazar-Jewish origin of Hungarians!

  19. It’s easy to define who is an ‘ethnic Hungarian’:

    You speak Hungarian

    You are not Roma or Jewish

    You support Fidesz

  20. @tappanch, I’m not sure we do know what the Sumerians looked like. But I take your general point.

  21. Cakewalk :
    @tappanch, I’m not sure we do know what the Sumerians looked like. But I take your general point.

    1. Dravidian languages are agglutinative like Hungarian. In my childhood I loved to browse a Tamil dictionary to find cognate words, and I did find similar words.

    2. https://yeyeolade.wordpress.com/2010/11/

    3. Of course, I do not know. 🙂

  22. This post reveals two things. First, the one everyone has focused on and the most important is that this is such a fine demonstration of Orban’s complete lack of understanding or respect for democratic and republican principles (PM’s are not supposed to dictate laws), the rule of law (individuals have rights and there are meant to be procedures and safeguards in place to protect these rights through a well functioning political and legal system) and individual rights. Orban proves nearly every day what we all sadly know. He believes only in power and in his own authority.
    There is a second issue here however, that in a normal functioning country and system would be worth discussing. That point is that it is a real shame that so many significant buildings in the center of the city have been left abandoned or in disrepair (including those mentioned), and there is a significant cost for the city and the people who live in this city due to this. I believe Government does have a legitimate interest to regulate this behavior as the choice of not maintaining the architectural attractiveness of the city affects (adversely) more people than just the owners of the buildings. I think in a normal country where there is in place a proper regulatory framework and rules are administered fairly (regardless of political influence), the Government (either the Federal or the City in this case) should have some authority to impose minimum standards of upkeep on buildings (especially ones of historical or architectural value). This of course does not apply to this country (sadly), but I do believe that such a thing exists in Prague for instance, and one can see easily the results.

  23. NWO question? Do you live in Budapest in an apartment house/flat/panel lakas? I do not think so.

    Reason if you live in such a building and you are owner of such an apartment you know that 75% (before 2004 it use to be 100%) of all owners need to approve any investment in such buildings.

    And there are always people not wanting to invest. Notorious are pensioners who stay in these buildings as their family has something to inherit. But they have no money to maintain such apartment.

  24. Orbán may be a dictator (he is) and this is not a rule of law what we have here in Hungary more like a Mafia state (and the EU cannot do and won’t do anything in this regard), but to be honest, a power should be given to the government that it at least as a matter of law could appropriate a piece of real estate if prompt, unconditional and full compensation is paid.

    In fact, that that had been a rule under the previous constitution (which also prescribed an exceptional situation and public reasons for such appropriation), the present Basic Law does not provide that protection. Orbán can do anything he pleases, if he fancies something, he can take it. And unfortunately this is true for local ’enterpreneurs’ as well, if they want to take over another local business, they can do so. This is not a joke or exaggeration, it happened many times (I know it for a fact) and people are scared – obviously they don’t want a prolonged legal procedure in which the prosecution and the courts will torment them for years based on bogus charges and crazy legal theories.

    Having said that, it is also crazy that you have a city centre full of empty buildings with which nothing happens. District V or VI are full of them, the owners bought them long ago, they can’t or won’t be sold, they just exist there deteriorating, affecting whole neighbourhoods.

    It is a public goal to have a non-slum city centre and the state may appropriate such buildings or real estate rights in order to improve life, again, provided it gives compensation.

    With Fidesz the problem is that they don’t give compensation and they also (at least in effect) appropriate businesses as well. But most of the voters have no assets anyway, they literally live from paycheck to paycheck (and private homes are rarely appropriated for any reasons), so most voters don’t really care about property rights. It’s for foreign investors, bad people, rich people and we don’t like them anyway. As a result, people don’t care that much about these issues. Believe me, even traffic owners who are upset now, will never ever vote for a “communist” (Bajnai or Mesterházy), sorry “post-communist”, they would rather eat their shoes. Everyday people adore Orbán, who can at least show that he is strong and we can stand up to foreigners. He will take no sh*t from Brussels and pride is more important than property rights for Hungarians.

    Orbán will remain. Until he gets a stroke he will lead Fidesz (his family and private possession), he will not leave a minute earlier. His EU overlords will be long gone and he will still push it in Budapest.

  25. Zakars:

    I first read your last sentence as, “…and he will punish it in Budapest.”…which I think is probably correct.

    I think the change that Orban has wrought is this: he has taken Hungary from being a government by institutions back to the system of Tribal Law. Nothing less. The fawning, distasteful lot of money-grubbing, sycophants like Szijarto et. al. hang on to his droppings for dear life.

    I have only one request of those who will paint these wonderful characters in the future: please don’t give them hooked noses, ok?

  26. Eva S. Balogh :

    Huba :
    Plus many say that the Hungarians actually predate the Sumerians (or that we are related to them?), so we are actully older than the Jews. So what do you say to this?

    That you are an idiot.

    I think you fell into that one, Eva. I distinctly detect a tongue in cheek from Mr. Huba….

  27. petofi :

    Eva S. Balogh :

    Huba :
    Plus many say that the Hungarians actually predate the Sumerians (or that we are related to them?), so we are actully older than the Jews. So what do you say to this?

    That you are an idiot.

    I think you fell into that one, Eva. I distinctly detect a tongue in cheek from Mr. Huba….

    I think Eva’s assessment is correct. Mr Huba thinks his mumbo jumbo is an answerworthy question. I would have used a milder word though. Intellectually challenged in stead of idiot.

  28. Ron

    I do live in Bp. Currently in a house, but for many years in an apartment. I am all too familiar with the hell of non cooperative neighbors. It is tragic. In fact, years ago my wife and I were practically blackmailed by our neighbors trying to get us to fund a new elevator. About 15 years ago, we looked into buying a couple of adjoining flats on Kodaly Korund, but could not agree with the other tenants on financing necessary repairs ( the roof was collapsing). Years later the building was still in total disrepair. Anyway, this is not the issue at the Ballet Intezet. It also does not change my mind ( in fact it reinforces it) that some form of eminent domain power for the city would if used judiciously would be a food thing.

  29. Cakewalk, about this being Orban’s Oszod speech and society being beyond a point where this might matter. I find it strange to read that no matter what Fidesz is doing, people feel that even this is somehow outrageous, they either do not want to do anything against it, or it is being said that opposition against it is impossible in Hungarian circumstances. And, not to forget, that in the opposition there is Ferenc Gyurcsany who is the real devil. Which is why Fidesz will always be able to capture the hearts and minds of the Hungarians. I consider the assessment of Velemenyvezer a bit hypocritical, it appears now clear also to staunch conservatives that Fidesz is the true disaster for Hungary but instead of actively trying to spread alternatives between the people and connect with other people who oppose this government, we are being told that society is beyond a point where Fidesz’ madness would matter or where it could be stoped. It could, but also ‘conservatives’ must be willing to draw the appropriate conclusions.

    CC, I wrote a mail address in yesterdays’ thread.

  30. NWO food=good I assume.

    I agree with you, and not only for domestic ownership, but as well foreign investors. However, owning a house cost a lot of money, and the government (local or national) sees it as a cash cow.

    At the moment it is not possible to take up as a corporation or as individual an accrual and/or savings account (tax deductible) for large maintenance.

    Hungary always looks over the border to see how other countries did this. This was done in Austria, Germany and Holland did it a little bit different, but in the end houses were properly maintained.

  31. What everyone on here seems to be missing is that, although we may regard Orbán’s behaviour as stupid/childish/reprehensible (delete as applicable), his supporters lap this stuff up. They’ll be emailing this to their friends and putting it on FB, and all chuckling over the humour and the casual power their man has. They have won, and they are enjoying every minute of it.

  32. As for apartments and the problems of maintenance, etc, we have a flat in England and one in Hungary and the difference in approach has been quite ‘instructive’.

    Our English flat, as is normal here, is leasehold. The freeholder (owner of the land and buildings on it) grants a lease to the buyers of each flat (at one time for periods up to 999 years, but these days typically 99 years). At the end of this lease, the rights to the property revert to the freeholder (although few leaseholders seem to understand this), but the law gives the leaseholder the right to extend the lease as required, although at considerable cost (the shorter the time left on the lease, the more expensive this gets).

    When you buy a flat in England, although everyone (estate agents, solicitors, local authorities, etc) talks in terms of you buying the flat, you are in reality only buying the lease. The physical building isn’t yours – for instance, I cannot demolish or move the walls, and the loft, which I have access to, isn’t mine, and strictly speaking I shouldn’t be using it. I had the windows replaced with new double-glazed units a few years ago, but again, strictly, I had no right to do this without the freeholder’s permission.

    In addition to this legal situation, in most cases the block of flats are looked after by a maintenance company, which paints the outside as needed, mows the grass, carries out repairs, etc (and insures the building), for which it charges an annual fee. Usually the freeholder and the maintenance company are the same people, but leaseholders are now legally entitled to get together and arrange the maintenance with a different company if they want to. They can also buy out their leases and become their own freeholders, but this is very expensive and needs the agreement of all the leaseholders.

    But in Hungary, we simply own our flat and (in some way that I don’t begin to understand) we also partly own the ground on which it stands. We are free to do what we like to the flat (for instance, we could turn the loft into an extra room), and we are also responsible for maintaining it, insuring it, and (again in some way I don’t understand) maintaining the land on which the block sits, the fences, gates, shared driveways, etc.

    Collectively we (apparently!) got together and hired a maintenance company to look after the grounds, although all this seems to involve is mowing the grass – which, bizarrely, they then subcontracted to two of the residents (who, of course, this being Hungary), hardly ever do it – and when they do do it, they do it VERY badly.

    The end result is that when things go wrong with the block, only the serious problems that affect everyone are dealt with. Anything that affects only one or two flats is happily ignored by all the other owners (I live in fear of problems with the roof, which, although of course is the roof of the whole block, only directly affects us). And nobody seems to care about what happens to the rest of the property – the fences aren’t repaired, the gate and front fence hasn’t been painted for 8 years, no serious attempt has ever been made to plant out (or even tidy up!) the garden, and even quite serious problems (like a huge hole that appeared party under our front gate over the winter) are simply ignored.

    As a result of all this, our property is the scruffiest of any of the blocks of flats along or road, and the only regular maintenance that gets done is when muggins here turns up in the Summer and spends his own time and money fixing things, tidying up the garden, etc. This summer it looks like I’ll be painting the front fence and gate, as the wood is starting to rot in places. No doubt I will be regarded as ‘that crazy Englishman’ for doing this (and paying for it!), but at least it will be done.

    So, in Hungary we have the stress of having to rely on the (non)cooperation of our neighbours and having no one we can turn to to remedy things. Whilst in England, although the maintenance gets done (and we can take the company to court if they don’t do it, or do it badly), we have a potentially awful situation where we might not be able to sell our flat, as there are only about 72 years left on the lease, without having to spend £10-15,000 getting the lease extended.

    Which is the better system? Originally, I thought the Hungarian approach was much better, but having lived with it for 8 years, I’m not so sure. Perhaps the best answer is that the Hungarian system is the better one – only NOT in Hungary!

  33. Sorry slightly off topic. Today we were in Szigetmonostor (Szentendre Island) some small animal festival. It was very nice, weather was good. The location is the faluhaz, which is a nice building. One of the kids run off and I came into a location where I should not be, although it was easy accessible. This is what I saw: http://s15.postimg.org/vhc8a9jyz/2013_05_04_11_25_11.jpg

    Apparently, this building (faluhaz) was constructed during the previous government with EU money and completed in the first few month of the VO government. Is there not some kind of regulation for showing signs? Anybody?

  34. Paul, it depends on the building your flat is in, and the community of the flat owners. There are bad houses and good houses, I live in a very good one, the common property is very well maintained, the interests of the house are very well represented on the local authority level, etc.
    BTW I agree with muttdaemon’s assesment of the Orbán-Tarlós conversation. This kind of macho talk actually appeals to the hardcore FIDESZ supporters, and the rest of the country has succumbed to the deepest political apathy ever seen. But if I am right, Viktor is in for a big surprise in 2014, and after that, it will be his own party that will cast him out, for wasting the FIDESZ’s greatest and only opportunity to rule with 2/3 majority. And I think Orbán will spend some time in a psychiatric institute, and we will hopefully never hear of him again.

  35. Ron :
    Sorry slightly off topic. Today we were in Szigetmonostor (Szentendre Island) some small animal festival. It was very nice, weather was good. The location is the faluhaz, which is a nice building. One of the kids run off and I came into a location where I should not be, although it was easy accessible. This is what I saw: http://s15.postimg.org/vhc8a9jyz/2013_05_04_11_25_11.jpg
    Apparently, this building (faluhaz) was constructed during the previous government with EU money and completed in the first few month of the VO government. Is there not some kind of regulation for showing signs? Anybody?

    The sign seems to have been designed to be displayed while the work was ongoing. I have no idea about the rules in the EU but in most US states such signs for government projects stay on until the project is completed. Sometimes a plaque is added when the project is inaugurated, usually the person in charge of the country, state, county or city (president, governor, county executive, mayor – depending on what entity financed it) and the designer and/or the construction firm are mentioned on it.

  36. Re: New Mercedes buses in Budapest.

    There is a shady deal even behind this.

    Instead of buying or leasing the buses directly from the Mercedes company, the Budapest Transportation Authority (BKV) uses two, probably unnecessary intermediaries that obviously take money/profit out of the deal:

    Mercedes-Benz
    —–> VT-Transman [owned by oligarch Szeles, whose media empire supports the most extreme views including Orban’s friend Bayer]
    —–> BKK [organization created for and led by an Orban relative, Vitezy, who is also the son of another oligarch]
    —–> BKV [owned by Budapest]

    http://hvg.hu/kkv/20121016_Szeles_Gabor_cege_nyerte_a_budapesti_busz

  37. Re Tappanch’s comment. Every time when someone calls my attention to an old piece of news whose relevance becomes obvious later I am so angry with myself that I failed to recognize it. For your information I fired off a letter to someone who might have an answer whether these buses could have been purchased or leased from Mercedes-Benz directly or not.

    By the way, it is quite something that while VO gives a speech at the WJC meeting the Hungarian government is assisting to make Gábor Széles wealthier than he is now. Let’s not forget that he is the owner of Echo TV and Magyar Hírlap, both infamous for their antisemitism. The former employs Ferenc Szaniszló while the latter Zsolt Bayer.

  38. Eva: Re Tappanch’s comment. Every time when someone calls my attention to an old piece of news whose relevance becomes obvious later I am so angry with myself that I failed to recognize it. For your information I fired off a letter to someone who might have an answer whether these buses could have been purchased or leased from Mercedes-Benz directly or not.

    Yes the buses could have been purchased from Mercedes directly, but they decided not to do this, but to delay the payment either via a “kotber” agreement (Siemens), or decrease purchase prices for higher maintenance fees, or via the “Szeles” Bank.

    http://index.hu/belfold/budapest/2013/04/29/mar_csak_30_millio_eurot_kell_fizetnunk_a_siemensnek/
    http://index.hu/belfold/2013/05/02/milliardokat_sporolt_a_bkv/

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