Rui Tavares: Letter to the citizens of Hungary and his fellow European citizens



As you all know by now, European Member of Parliament Rui Tavares, who represents Portugal, was the rapporteur of the 30-page draft report that is hailed by most experts on Hungarian affairs as a singularly perceptive analysis of the current state of Hungarian democracy. The Hungarian government and the pro-government media, by contrast, accused Tavares of partiality and ignorance. In no time they also  discovered that he was a communist–their ultimate insult, which is an absolutely baseless accusation. Rui Tavares is a member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance. He is also a member of the parliamentary Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.  It was in this capacity that he probed into the present situation in Hungary.

Rui Tavares produced a thorough assessment of the constitutional changes that have taken place in the last two or three years and their effects on Hungarian democracy. The Hungarian government will have a difficult time countering his arguments, although intellectual hurdles have never seemed to deter them in the past. I already devoted a post to the amendments offered by some of the Fidesz members of the European Parliament and Hungarians nationals from Romania and Slovakia.

The pro-government Hungarian press called the draft report a “left-liberal ultimatum,” and the government spokesmen came close to describing it as a collection of baseless accusations. In light of the findings of the Venice Commission, however, it seems that Rui Tavares was spot on.

I assume that he is getting hundreds of accusatory letters because he decided to write a letter to Hungarian citizens, in English and in Hungarian, to explain what the document is all about. The letter also helps us better understand the inner workings of the European Parliament.

Below you will find the English original of Rui Tavares’s letter followed by its Hungarian translation. I think we should all thank Mr. Tavares for his work and his devotion to the cause of Hungarian democracy.  By the way, I understand that he has found Hungary such an interesting country that he has begun learning the language.

  * * *

Dear Hungarian citizens,

Dear EU fellow citizens,

I come from a country which was ruled during 48 years by an authoritarian regime. Twelve years after the end of this dictatorship, Portugal has acceded to the European Union, finally consolidating the democracy for which so many people had struggled during so many years.

Your country, Hungary, has suffered during more than 40 years of a horrible regime. In 1989, you finally got your freedom from the communist regime and a little over a decade later your country became a Member of the European Union.

The European project may have imperfections, but its main purpose serves us all – and mainly those European citizens like us whose countries have faced alone many years of terror under undemocratic regimes. The foundations of our common endeavour are described in article 2 of the revised Treaty on the European Union of 2009, which states that “the Union is founded on the values of respect for human dignity, freedom, democracy, equality, the rule of law and respect for human rights, including the rights of persons belonging to minorities”. Article 2 then goes on to say that “these values are common to the Member States in a society in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail.” Hungary is always cited as an example in this process: your country actively participated in the drafting of this important article – the first substantive commitment of the Union – and was the first EU Member State to ratify the Treaty.

The promotion of the values of democracy, rule of law and human rights is also the first objective of the Union, according to article 3. And then there is another important article in the Treaties which has been regularly and fairly quoted by your government. It is article 4: “The Union shall respect the equality of Member States before the Treaties […] The Member States shall facilitate the achievement of the Union’s tasks and refrain from any measure which could jeopardise the attainment of the Union’s objectives”.

These Treaties entered into force in December 2009 and since then Member States, the European Institutions and us all as European citizens have to deal and comply with this new and recent legal basis.

In February 2012, on the basis of this new legal framework, the European Parliament decided to have a report on the situation of the Fundamental Rights in Hungary. As any other official text by the European Parliament, the decision to draft this report was made by the majority of the democratically elected members of this house. Let me remind you that, since the last European Elections in 2009, no single political group has the majority in the European Parliament, although the by far biggest group is the EPP to which the party of the current Hungarian government belongs. It has both been said that there is a right-wing majority at the European Parliament, and that there is a left-wing majority. But the most important point is that all 754 Members of the European Parliament take seriously their responsibility to guarantee that the fundamental rights of the 500 million EU citizens are respected, protected and promoted.

Two months after this decision, I was appointed as rapporteur for this report, the first one dealing with the contents that I have described above in the case of a specific country. There were many constitutional and legal changes in Hungary in recent times, and to assess them fairly is a task that needs to be conducted in a careful and respectful manner. In order to ensure a transparent and fair procedure, I have decided that the first step would be the drafting of 5 working documents on sectorial aspects of the legal, institutional and constitutional changes in Hungary. This was an open and collaborative work and, for the first time in the European Parliament, the working documents – which are normally only signed by the rapporteur – were drafted by me and one representative of 5 of the main political groups represented at the European Parliament: the EPP, the S&D, ALDE, GREENS/EFA, ECR and GUE/NGL. These working-documents were one by one debated in the Civil Liberties Committee of the European Parliament, usually abbreviated as LIBE. We have also received comments from the Hungarian government and the working documents were therefore updated taking into consideration the Hungarian authorities’ position.

This permanent dialogue – respecting pluralism and democracy at the European and at the national level – was very important for the last year’s preparatory work to the drafting of this report.

The text that I have presented is the result that I have derived of this broad consultation. But this is not the end of the procedures. This draft was submitted to a first debate, it passed by a phase of amendments that were considered in subsequent debate and it will then be voted in the Civil Liberties’ Committee; we will then have another stage of amendments by the political groups and then, finally, a debate and a vote in the plenary of the European Parliament. The respect of this parliamentary procedure with sufficient time and occasion for all voices do be heard is crucial to ensure that the report is not one-sided, incorrect or somehow applying double standards.

If you read the draft report, you will find out that it chooses to pursue a constructive political dialogue with the Hungarian authorities in the next months, together with the other European Institutions. And the main objective of this dialogue is precisely to avoid a risk of breach of the foundational values listed in article 2. On the other hand, you will not find two things that have been incorrectly mentioned in public debate: there is no mention of withdrawing the voting rights of Hungary at this stage (under article 7.2 of the Treaties) and I have refused to raise the possibility of economic sanctions to be directed at Hungary.

The majority of the specific recommendations you will find in the report do not concern Hungary but the European Institutions themselves. Indeed, this should not and is not only about Hungary. This is about any other Member of the European Union. This is about us all, as European citizens. It is why I am of the opinion that we have to have concrete mechanisms to ensure that the values stated in article 2 are not at risk. And that these mechanisms should follow objective assessments of all Member-States, big or small, be they founding members or recent accessions to our Union. Your government has correctly raised this issue, which I try to tackle in the report by suggesting the creation of a non-political high-level group that would follow up, and make recommendations, on the work carried out by EU institutions, starting with the European Parliament itself.

The sovereignty of Hungary must be respected; I will indeed welcome any comment by the Hungarian authorities and will amend myself my own text in case of need. We have done it with the working documents I have told you about, and we will do it with this draft report.

I am sure that you are already aware of the dialogue that we have had and will continue to have with the Hungarian authorities and I hope you will closely follow the work we are doing all together on this report.

You will find the Hungarian version of the report in the Civil Liberties committee webpage; I invite you to read it and to send your comments to my email address.

Best regards,

Rui Tavares, Member of the European Parliament

* * *

Kedves magyar polgárok!

Kedves európai uniós polgártársaim!

Olyan országból származom, ahol egy autoriter hatalom döntött sorsunkról 48 éven át. 12 évvel a diktatúra vége után Portugália csatlakozott az Európai Unióhoz, és megszilárdítottuk hazánkban a demokráciát, amelyre oly sok ember vágyott oly hosszú ideje.

Az Önök országa, Magyarország is egy szörnyű rezsim uralma alatt szenvedett több mint 40 évig. 1989-ben azonban végre felszabadult a kommunista diktatúra alól, és másfél évtized múlva csatlakozott az Európai Unióhoz.

Az Európai Unió sem tökéletes, de a fő célja mindannyiunk érdekét szolgálja – és kifejezetten azokét, akiknek a hazája a miénkhez hasonlóan sok éven át egyedül nézett szembe egy diktatórikus hatalom terrorjával.  Közös törekvéseink alapját a 2009-ben elfogadott Szerződés az Európai Unióról 2. cikke tartalmazza, amely kimondja, hogy “az Unió az emberi méltóság tiszteletben tartása, a szabadság, a demokrácia, az egyenlőség, a jogállamiság, valamint az emberi jogok – ideértve a kisebbségekhez tartozó személyek jogait – tiszteletben tartásának értékein alapul.” A cikk így folytatódik: „Ezek az értékek közösek a tagállamokban, a pluralizmus, a megkülönböztetés tilalma, a tolerancia, az igazságosság, a szolidaritás, valamint a nők és a férfiak közötti egyenlőség társadalmában.” Magyarországot mindig példaként emlegetik a 2. cikk megalkotásához vezető folyamattal kapcsolatban, hiszen aktívan részt vett a cikk megszövegezésében, amelyben az EU először deklarálta az alapvető értékei iránti elköteleződését. Magyarország elsőként ratifikálta az új szerződést a tagállamok közül.

A demokrácia, a jogállamiság és az emberi jogok előmozdítása az Unió első számú célja a Szerződés 3. cikke szerint. Létezik még egy nagyon fontos elem, a 4. cikk, melyet az Önök kormánya is sokszor idéz: “Az Unió tiszteletben tartja a tagállamoknak a Szerződések előtti egyenlőségét […] A tagállamok segítik az Uniót feladatainak teljesítésében, és tartózkodnak minden olyan intézkedéstől, amely veszélyeztetheti az Unió célkitűzéseinek megvalósítását.”

Az Európai Unió szerződései 2009 decemberében léptek hatályba, és azóta a tagállamoknak, az európai intézményeknek és nekünk, európai polgároknak tiszteletben kell tartanunk ezt az új jogi alapvetést.

2012 februárjában az új jogi kereteknek megfelelően az Európai Parlament úgy döntött, hogy jelentést készít az alapvető jogok helyzetéről Magyarországon. Mint minden hivatalos dokumentum esetében, amely az Európai Parlamentben készül, a demokratikusan megválasztott képviselők többsége határozott ennek a jelentésnek az elfogadásáról is. Hadd emlékeztessem Önöket, hogy a 2009-es európai választások óta egyik parlamenti frakció sem rendelkezik a szavazatok többségével, habár a legnagyobb képviselőcsoport az Európai Néppárté, amelyhez a jelenlegi magyar kormánypárt is tartozik. Sokszor hallani, hogy az Európai Parlamentben jobboldali többség van, mások szerint meg baloldali többség. Ami igazán fontos, hogy a Parlament mind a 754 tagja komolyan vegye a felelősségét, és biztosítsa az 500 millió uniós polgár alapvető jogainak érvényesítését, tiszteletben tartását és megóvását.

Két hónappal a parlamenti döntés után engem jelöltek ki a jelentés elkészítésére, amely az első a maga nemében, mivel az említett értékeket vizsgálja egy tagország esetében. Az alkotmányt és a törvényeket nagyon sok alkalommal módosították az utóbbi időben Magyarországon; mindezek korrekt értékelése során körültekintéssel és tisztelettel kell eljárni. Azért, hogy biztosítsam az eljárás átláthatóságát és elfogulatlanságát, úgy döntöttem, hogy első lépésként öt munkadokumentumot készítek, kategóriákra bontva a jogi, intézményi és alkotmányos változásokat. A munka az átláthatóságra és az együttműködésre épült, és – az Európai Parlament történetében először – a munkadokumentumokat, amelyeket általában csak a jelentéstevő jegyzi, az öt legnagyobb politikai csoport képviselőivel közösen szövegeztem meg (Európai Néppárt, Szocialisták és Demokraták Progresszív Szövetsége, Liberálisok és Demokraták Szövetsége Európáért, Zöldek/Európai Szabad Szövetség, Európai Konzervatívok és Reformerek, Európai Baloldal/Északi Baloldal). Ezeket a munkadokumentumokat külön-külön megvitatta az Állampolgári jogi, bel- és igazságügyi bizottság, amelyet általában „LIBE” néven rövidítenek.  Emellett megkaptuk a magyar kormány véleményét is, és a munkadokumentumokat a magyar hatóságok álláspontjának figyelembevételével frissítettük.

Ez a folyamatos párbeszéd – amely tiszteletben tartotta a pluralizmus és a demokrácia követelményeit mind európai, mind nemzeti szinten – nagyon fontos részét képezte az elmúlt év előkészítő munkájának.

A jelentés tervezete, amelyet bemutattam a szakbizottságnak, ennek a széles körű konzultációnak az eredménye. A folyamat azonban itt még nem ért véget. A szöveget először megvitatta a LIBE bizottság. Majd beérkeztek a módosító javaslatok, amelyekről a megvitatásuk után végül a LIBE bizottság fog szavazni. Ezek után a képviselőcsoportok nyújthatják be módosító javaslataikat a szöveghez, majd az Európai Parlament plenáris ülése fogja megvitatni a jelentést, és végül szavazni fog a végleges szövegről. Ez a parlamenti eljárás megfelelő időt és lehetőséget biztosít arra, hogy mindenki hozzászólhasson. Mindez elengedhetetlen ahhoz, hogy a jelentés ne legyen egyoldalú, ne tartalmazzon hibákat és ne mérjen kettős mércével.

Ha elolvassa a jelentéstervezetet, látni fogja: a cél az, hogy a következő hónapokban építő jellegű politikai párbeszéd alakuljon ki a magyar hatóságok és az európai intézmények között. Ennek a párbeszédnek a lényege pedig pontosan az, hogy elkerüljük annak a veszélyét, hogy a 2. cikkben megnevezett alapvető értékek sérüljenek. Másrészt észre fogja venni, hogy két, jelenleg közszájon forgó elem is hiányzik a jelentéstervezetből: a szöveg nem említi, hogy meg kellene vonni Magyarország szavazati jogát a Szerződés 7. cikk (2) bekezdése alapján.  Azzal sem értek egyet, hogy Magyarországgal szemben gazdasági szankciókat kellene kilátásba helyezni.

A jelentéstervezetben felsorolt javaslatok legnagyobb része nem is Magyarországot, hanem az európai intézményeket érinti. A jelentés nem szólhat és nem is szól kizárólag Magyarországról. A jelentés az EU valamennyi tagállamáról, mindannyiunkról, európai polgárokról szól. Ezért az a véleményem, hogy be kell vezetnünk olyan konkrét eljárásokat, amelyekkel biztosíthatjuk a 2. cikk alapértékeinek sérthetetlenségét. Úgy gondolom, hogy ezeknek az eljárásoknak objektív alapokon kell nyugodniuk, és minden tagállamra érvényesnek kell lenniük, legyen az kisebb vagy nagyobb ország, alapító vagy nemrégiben csatlakozott tagállam. Az Önök kormánya jó indítványt tett ezzel kapcsolatban, és én is pontosan ezt szeretném tenni: olyan politikamentes, magas szintű szerv létrehozását javaslom, amely figyelemmel kíséri az EU intézményeinek munkáját és javaslatokkal él ezzel kapcsolatban ― kezdve az Európai Parlamenttel.

Magyarország szuverenitását tiszteletben kell tartani. Éppen ezért üdvözlöm a magyar hatóságok bármilyen észrevételét. Én magam fogom módosítani a saját jelentésemet, amennyiben szükséges lesz. Az említett munkadokumentumokkal is pontosan így jártunk el, és a jelenlegi jelentéstervezettel sem lesz másképp.

Biztos vagyok benne, hogy hallottak már arról a párbeszédről, melyet a magyar hatóságokkal folytatunk, és remélem, hogy figyelemmel fogják kísérni közös munkánkat a jelentéssel kapcsolatban.

A jelentéstervezet magyar nyelvű változatát megtalálhatja az Állampolgári jogok bizottságának honlapján. Kérem, olvassa el a tervezetet, és javaslatait küldje el bátran e-mailben, az Európai Parlament honlapján található címemre.

Szívélyes üdvözlettel:

Rui Tavares, európai parlamenti képviselő


  1. Respect! As a citizen of a member country I am proud of this man and his approach. It is exemplary.

  2. EU – be effective.
    Hungarians are crying a silent cry.
    The oppression is unbearable.
    Rescue the country from orban!

  3. Very logically laid out explanation of the facts regarding how a democratic and subjective route was taken to prepare the report on Hungary’s new Constitution. The report assured a non-biased, non-partisan approach, and by including all involved it must paint a clear picture. Because of all the above, it will never fly with Fidesz and its troopers.
    Thank you Rui Tavares for your work, and thank you Eva for bringing it to all of us.

  4. SOT. The effects of the tobacco concessions are now tricking out beyond the initial victims as winners are evicting other businesses in order to get prime locations. By the time LIBE starts to act, these robber barons will have made the outcome irrelevant.

  5. OT
    Eva was right the other day – if you listen to the news, this flood story is turning into Orban Viktor vs. Nature. You can’t move for hearing his voice delivering the latest udates, or a photo of him inspecting events through his binoculars.

    My wife tells me that the government has ordered all flood-related charities (e.g. the Red Cross, the Máltai Szeretetszolgálat, etc.) to close their lines. From now on, anyone who wants to donate money can only do so through the government! Outrageous! And what will the money go to, exactly? New rubber boots for Orban and his camera crew?

  6. SUPERB!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Here we have clear evidence of a non-emotional, non-partisan and, for all rationally thinking people, a non-contentious approach to analysing, evaluating and recommending remedial actions to the intolerable democracy-destructive consequences of the “divine right” attitudes of the present political leadership in Hungary. Bravo, Rui Tavares

  7. “Around 30 people interrupted a conference at Zurich University late Friday to protest against Hungarian Minister for Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, local police told the Swiss news agency ATS.

    Police intervened when the demonstrators began throwing eggs while the conservative minister was inside giving a lecture entitled “Hungary’s Roma — a problem or an opportunity?”

    “Activists say that Hungary’s Roma population, the country’s largest but poorest minority, faces open discrimination with anti-Roma rhetoric and violence on the rise.”

    Read the whole article here:

    At the main time Livia Jaroka, member of the EP and Fidesz, who’s father is Romani ethnicity thinks everything is dandy with how Hungary is managing its affairs under Fidesz, and is busy with submitting amendments to the LIBE report. When she is not busy with this, she also fights for Roma rights in the EU by organizing friendly soccer games between amateur and ex-pro soccer players. As the homepage of Fidesz says:

    “The competition is called “Football4Friendship” where amateurs from Sopron [Hungary] retired professional football players, officials of EU institutions, and the teams of Eastern European Roma immigrants to Belgium measured up their skills. Livia Jaroka, who is responsible of the report on the European Roma Framework Strategy was the event organizer. With the friendly tournament she wanted to draw attention to the role of sport in breaking out of poverty, in the education of a healthy lifestyle, and in the shaping of positive sense of identity.” (May 3, 2013 )
    So, if any of you have any doubt about what the football stadium in Felcsut is about, you have your answers.

  8. “The majority of the specific recommendations you will find in the report do not concern Hungary but the European Institutions themselves. Indeed, this should not and is not only about Hungary. This is about any other Member of the European Union. This is about us all, as European citizens. It is why I am of the opinion that we have to have concrete mechanisms to ensure that the values stated in article 2 are not at risk. And that these mechanisms should follow objective assessments of all Member-States, big or small, be they founding members or recent accessions to our Union. Your government has correctly raised this issue, which I try to tackle in the report by suggesting the creation of a non-political high-level group that would follow up, and make recommendations, on the work carried out by EU institutions, starting with the European Parliament itself.”

    So then the report shouldn’t be directed at Hungary, now should it? This is obviously meant to get around the main idea, which is still to make an example out of Hungary. These are nice and sympathy-begging words, but at the end of the day the report is on Hungary, not about “any other Member of the European Union,” as MEP Tavares claims. If it were, it would be entitled “Draft Report on the situation of fundamental rights: standards and practices in the Member States of the European Union”.

  9. Some1 :

    “Around 30 people interrupted a conference at Zurich University late Friday to protest against Hungarian Minister for Human Resources, Zoltan Balog, local police told the Swiss news agency ATS.

    A footnote to the news. MTI didn’t reported the incident. MTI simply said that Balog’s speech was received with frenetic applause. These guys are really ridiculous. They really think that you can stop the flow of news at the borders? Hungarian papers naturally picked up the story from the publication Some1 quoted here.


    “Orban is putting his people everywhere,” is a constant lament in Budapest.

    HRW was especially critical of how the government has clipped the wings of the constitutional court, which lost its prerogative to review the substance of constitutional changes. “There is no clearer example of the Hungarian government’s contempt for the rule of law,” according to HRW.
    Independent institutions, checks and balances?…you do not care, do you Firefly….the Tobacco Gate scandal…is NOT dealt with, no prosecutors, no anything?
    Buuut you do not care. No credibility at all in what you say.

  11. I don’t think MTI are ‘ridiculous’, except from a purely moral angle. They and their masters care little for what is said beyond the border – and besides, they have regular on-message columnists at outlets such as the Guardian and the BBC to further distort. No, what matters is what their generally mono-lingual supporters within Hungary believe. Control of the Hungarian media is everything, and carries all authority. Here, as people watch the floods coverage, there generally seems to be a genuine belief amongst the viewers that OV is personally holding the waters at bay, both trough his own superhuman efforts and also through his special ability to ‘unify’ the country at a time of crisis. Ridiculous, sure, and baseless, but yet more electoral dynamite – thanks to a thoroughly slick and dishonest media barrage. If I try and put any kind of different take – ON ANYTHING – then the old talk of ‘international conspiracy’ immediately surfaces. News from outside the borders is thus dismissed, carrying no authority at all. Hopeless.

  12. If you think that all of Fidesz’ and Orban’s actions regarding “saving Hungary from the flood” is selfless acts, you still did not learn to much about Fidesz.
    Once upon a time there was a mayor in Esztergom, his name was Tamás Meggyes, running in the colours of Fidesz. THe citizens of Esztergom found out that Meggyes is more occupied to make things better for himself then for the city. When the next municipal election came about many opposition parties (Jobbik, LMP, MSZP) supported Eva Tetenyi an independent candidate running for mayor versus the Fidesz candidate. She won. Well, Fidesz and their minions were up an arms, and they decided to make Ms Tenyi’s life as a mayor living hell. (Eva wrote about this before, so I am not going into detail.)
    NOw as the flood is coming, Fidesz decided not to keep the mayor of Esztergom abreast on what is happening and what actions will they take in order to save the city. It did matter how much Ms. Tetenyi (who is by the way an architect, and was the member of the Executive Board of the Architects’ Council of Europe) tried to stay on top of things, she received no updates were forthcoming from the National Directorate General for Disaster Management, Ministry of the Interior (NDGDM) lead by (you guessed a Fidesz minion).
    Well, Ms Tetenyi finally told them that he will contact the press, so that made some improvement in the communication between the government and the mayor.
    On June 6th and 7th a flyer was distributed without any signatures to 6200 households unbeknown to the mayor, telling citizens what to do when the evacuation is coming. For good measures the flyer also included the contact information of the mayor’s office, and a suggestion to get sandbags from there. A panic broke out, stores closed, people moved out and people run for sandbags wherever they could find them. Banks and other places started to erect sandbanks around their buildings. THe police could not do anything as there were more then a hundred people came for the sandbags and there is nothing they can do, even though it is stealing.
    So, who distributed those flyers? One of the members of the local Disaster Management unit seemed to know that it was distributed the “people of the government”.

  13. Re Esztergom. Yes, this is what happens if the citizens of a town don’t vote for Fidesz. They get punished. They should know by now that it is much safer to cast their votes for the government party’s candidates.

  14. Eva S. Balogh :
    Re Esztergom. Yes, this is what happens if the citizens of a town don’t vote for Fidesz. They get punished. They should know by now that it is much safer to cast their votes for the government party’s candidates.

    Actually, I just happened to read some comments maybe on NOL (but I am not sure), and one of the Fidesz supporters wrote that everyone will see what will happen after the Fidesz will win the next election. Those who did not support Fidesz will have to live through more then the fear of the flood. He honestly thought this is positive thing, to install fear in people who would not vote for Fidesz and do not support Fidesz. One thing for sure, I think he was bang on!

    The Government’s website…where the Fidez PR machine is working full time to promote the “dear leader”.

    Connected to this….In Vác the EU will be paying 5 million Euro’s to build an advanced system to protect the city against floods in the future. Building will start in march 2014. They will pay it ALL!
    The Fidesz city council however… claiming it is a gift from
    (surprise, surprise) the Government!
    Fidesz in a nutshell.
    Nasty, corrupt….con-artists.

  16. Fidesz, Esztergom, Orban

    Last evening we were watching the news on M1 and the coverage was interesting: the mayor of every hamlet along the Duna shore was interviewed and given his ‘free’ plug. When it came to Esztergom, there was no mention of the mayor and of course, no interview. In the meantime, our heroic Viktor was on the ramparts facing down an army engineer. Now, a normal human would be shown listening to the expert…but not Viktor!
    He was gesticulating and mouthing lord knows what inanities as their was no voice, but the dumbfounded engineer was shown sheepishly listening.

    Could Papa Putin have done it better? (He might’ve been stripped to the waist…)

  17. Gyor Calling!

    Completely O/T. With the Danube level near me subsiding from a peak of 907 (with a previous peak of 825); with all valuables safely stowed in the attic; with limbs recovered from extreme effort helping neighbour with same task; and now just waiting for the evacuation if it comes I can thank Ron for his kind words and thoughts. Thank you Ron.

    With a house 100 Metres from a towering dyke, to an Englishman, seeing the sheer volume of water, fast flowing, and nearly to the top is enough to scare the living daylights out of him. Especially when you know how far the usual river is with beautiful walks and trees along the banks where my partner and I sit and play music and watch the flying swans land and fish jumping out of the water. Truly awesome and frightening in equal measure..

    Whilst the immediate threat wanes a nearby dyke collapsed (‘sagged’) and helicopters have dropped sandbags 24hrs a day – with the threat of swamping two villages – one of them mine. And where my nearby dyke will act as a ‘water-stop’ with horrendous consequences. To ensure a fast exit the infirm have been evacuated and buses are parked nearby on standby.

    However St. Orban is ever present and with his direct line to God we’ll be OK. Goodness me as if the workers and volunteers haven’t enough to do. The ‘personality-cult’ videos are reminiscent of Kim I’ll Young touring the area – truly sickening. You just know that if there is a disaster you won’t see him for dust (and there could be – there’s a dyke further downstream that shares a dyke wall with red sludge one side and water the other – imagine the contamination if that breaches?) and yes he came here; just as well I missed him.

    Sandbags have contained a leak 50 metres along from me and there is always the threat of a dyke collapse at these un-stress-tested levels.

    The local ‘dyke-police’ went berserk when they saw my still-connected pump in my very very large well which extracts water from a more usual level of 8 metres below. The level is now at ground-level (overflowing slowly, but I am on the watch-list!) and if I started using the pump (I had no intention until September which was my planned next visit) then there is a risk that the flow could connect under the dyke and swamp the village in a very short space of time. I removed all pipes and pump and Attila and Lotzi managed a smile. I did not tell them about a smaller well at the rear which had started the process and which we had managed to ‘sleeve’ with a large diameter heavy duty pipe driven into the ground to some depth – with the overspill drying up in the beautiful hot sunshine, confirming our efforts were successful.

    The road outside my house – a dead end at the dyke – has been as busy as a London street even during the small hours – and clusters of gossip groups chat along it. Oh! to be able to understand Hungarian. But there are plenty of smiles for the interloper. “Angol?” “Igan!”.

    To this panicking ‘Angol’ he is amazed at the calmness of fellow villagers. Very few it seems, have taken similar steps: “No problemo, no problemo” they say in broken English.

    So I wait with my evacuation panic bag knowing I have done all I can in the event of a disaster. There is no intermediate stage – just nothing, or a disaster on a beautiful sunny day as the swallows chirrup to me just a few metres away in the beautiful garden which could look so different soon……

    The dykes contained the surface river, unfortunately now the inland water is coming up through the ground to fill peoples’ homes. I’m off now to offer my services at the ‘village house’ as they need volunteers until Tuesday.

    Great to see Attraction winning. Hungarians evoking the ‘wartime’ spirit of England was heart-rending and yet strange. Is this the beginning of a change of attitude to how they perceived these events? Interesting psychology at work maybe!

    Thanks for reading.



  18. Thank you Tawares… nothing to add to the comments above except that Hungary need to be saved from it führer Orban, but there is no change of this happening domestically. Therefore, we can only rely on the international press and politics.

  19. Thank you, Mr. Tavares, I hope, Europe will continue to keep an eye on our governement, and won’t leave us alone!

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