Barack Obama’s letter to Viktor Orbán: The original and the Hungarian summary

A month after the election, President Barack Obama wrote a letter of congratulations to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. Here is the English original.

Dear Mr. Prime Minister:

Congratulations on your party’s strong showing in the April parliamentary election. I wish you all the best as you begin a new term in office and continue to bear the great responsibility that comes with leading your country.

The friendship and alliance between the United States and Hungary is built on our partnership as NATO allies and our cooperative efforts over the last two decades to build a Europe whole and free. I appreciate our strong bilateral ties and our shared commitment to advancing peace and security from the Balkans to Afghanistan.

It is important that the United States and Europe stand together for democratic principles, particularly in a time in which the peace and security of Europe is being tested. As we work with Ukraine to instill rule of law, transparency, respect for individual liberty, and a system of checks and balances, we must remain dedicated to the same ideals at home. I hope you will use your new term to recommit yourself to building Hungary’s democratic heritage.

Let me also take this opportunity to assure you of the importance I attach to our NATO alliance and the unwavering commitment of the United States to defending our shared security.

Sincerely,

Barack Obama

* * *

The prime minister’s office decided not to release a translation of the original. Instead, the prime minister’s office released the following summary, which was subsequently published by MTI, the Hungarian news agency. I am reproducing MTI’s English version of the text.

In a letter to Orban, Obama referred to the friendship and alliance between the US and Hungary, which he said were based on both countries’ membership of NATO and on joint efforts to build a unified and free Europe in the past two decades, Bertalan Havasi said.

The letter expressed Obama’s appreciation of bilateral ties and the two countries’ joint commitment to creating peace and security “from the Balkans to Afghanistan”, the press chief said.

The US president also called it important that his country and Europe were supporting democratic principles, especially in difficult times trying Europe’s peace and security.

Referring to Ukraine and international efforts to enforce a rule of law, transparency, freedom rights, as well as checks and balances in that country, he noted that it was just as important to retain all countries’ commitment to those ideals, Havasi said.

Obama voiced hope that Orban would use his position to renew his commitment to further building Hungary’s democratic heritage, Havasi cited the letter as saying.

Obama also assured Orban of his country’s commitment to NATO and to protecting the security of all members states, Havasi added.

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45 comments

  1. Hungary would make a great study in the pathology of rampant, societal, inferiority.

  2. @ Johnny Boy: THe above Blog Entry is FACT. You know the one you are always basing your comments on supposedly to support Fidesz, and the one the readers of this blog do not provide. lol

  3. I think the translation of such a “long” document would be a far stretch for Fidesz. I remember some shills on this blog proudly posting that in deed how happy was the USA with Orban….

    I think the key is on this fact: “I hope you will use your new term to recommit yourself to building Hungary’s democratic heritage.”

  4. In order to save the ‘whitened’ skin on the face of the Felcsutian, Merkel allowed the press conference to go BEFORE the meeting with the Orbaner…thereby preventing any pointed questions over the topics covered and the tone administered to Viktor’s backside.

    The Felcsutian going to Germany after his idiotic statements over the monument…what monstrous nerve. Yet, this is what the Hungarios admire: not any signs of intelligence, or
    eloquence, but the comeuppance of spitting in the tiger’s eye.

    Give them ‘anger’ and save the bread…and the cash…A classic case of belligerent servitude.

  5. The Pulchritudinous Putin

    Vladimir bemoans the growing nazi ideology in Europe, while his dopelganger in Hungary
    edges on the very same forces. Neat.

  6. The meeting between Mrs Merkel and Orbán must have been very short – the press conference was even shorter …
    http://www.spiegel.de/politik/deutschland/ungarn-regierungschef-orban-dankt-merkel-a-968398.html
    “Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel verzichtete auf kritische Anmerkungen. Sie wies bei einem gemeinsamen Auftritt vor der Presse nur darauf hin, dass das Vertrauen der Bevölkerung auch mit Verantwortung verbunden sei.”

    The people’s trust implies responsibility …

  7. Merkel and Orban really are not that far apart on the Ukraine. Both are pretty frightened of getting the oil cut off. Although I did notice in the report in Népszabadság that Orban mentioned his concern about Hungarians in Transcarpathia. He is also reported to have said “it is not yet known when and how Ukraine will be stable and prosperous country.”

  8. I am confused. The press release seems to me to be a fair summary of the letter. Am I missing something?

  9. @Paul

    US ” I hope you will use your new term to recommit yourself to building Hungary’s democratic heritage.”

    Fidesz “to renew his commitment to further building Hungary’s democratic heritage”

    I think the difference here is the the US language implies a loss of commitment that needs to be reestablished. Whereas the Hungarian government’s phrasing implies that they renew something they were already doing i.e.”to further”.

    In addition, by alluding to the Ukraine’s failures and suggesting these ideals need to adhered to at home, it also suggests those components of a strong democracy have been eroded in Hungary.

    US “As we work with Ukraine to instill rule of law, transparency, respect for individual liberty, and a system of checks and balances, we must remain dedicated to the same ideals at home.”

    Fidesz “efforts to enforce a rule of law, transparency, freedom rights, as well as checks and balances in that country, he noted that it was just as important to retain all countries’ commitment to those ideals”

    “at home” versus “all countries” specific versus general

    Those are the two important differences in language that jumped out at me. I am not trained as a diplomat, but I understand it is these types of subtle differences that can communicate a substantially different message.

  10. Communication has relevance if the message has relevance.

    Messages just lost their relevance in Hungary, Russia, Turkey etc.

    These countries and the top burocrats, for years carefully selected for loyalty and ideology, just couldn’t care less about what Obama and Merkel say, really. They just don’t.

    These leaders only respect power and toughness, they look down on weak people, they have nothing but contempt for weak leaders and weak responses.

    These weak Western responses to Ukraine and really to any and all problems or to Orban now, where you have to read between the lines or now they get “really angry”, irgumburgum, will only strengthen their conviction that the West is a hopeless, decadent place to be taken advantage of, to which advantage they feel entitled to, by the way, because they think the West isn’t any better than them and it is just unjustifiable that they live so well (however, living too well also means, as the example of West shows, becoming complacent, at least politically, which needs to be avoided). And weirdly, the West agrees, such as Germany, and they don’t mind getting ripped off.

    The Germans obviously do not only apologize for WWII (still, after 70 years, the mind boggles), but also for being so successful now.

    And to make a full circle, the East looks even more down on the West exactly for letting itself (ie. the West) ripped off. And they also know that one just can’t rely on the Western ‘friends’, because they will never ever help their supposed ‘friends’. So tell me now, why wouldn’t Orban and Putin and Erdogan continue their regimes, especially as they have substantial internal support? Isn’t this the best of all worlds for them?

    All these letters to Orban are great, at least they show that people are not complete idiots in the Cameron or Obama administrations. But that is all. Orban and his people will not lose a moment’s sleep on these.

  11. OT,

    Another test for the Norwegians (see article link below).

    János Lázár wrote yet again to the Norwegian minister of EU affairs and now he wants to “freeze” the Norwegian EEA Grants Fund “until such time as the contentious matter is resolved to the satisfaction of both parties.”

    Like the Norwegians are not entitled to give their money or they cannot outsource the decisions about their money to entities which they decided about.

    Fidesz and Lázár will just not give up, they are born bullies and they get off on these games. The Fideszniks believe that the Norwegians, just like all gentlemen Europeans at the Commission or in the EU Parliament, are probably well-fed pussies, who will sooner or later just roll over.

    If the Norwegians answer to Lázár, Lázár will write again — until the Norwegians will blink. I hope they will not, but probably they will, they just don’t know how to deal with Eastern European lawyer bullies. As Mike Tyson put it: “You wouldn’t last a minute in my world, bitch”. Excuse my language. Well, we well see, as this fund is probably the only remaining source of funding to many independent projects to which Fidesz cut funding and transferred them to stadiums and Fidesz-loyal projects. (As I imagine the Norwegians will let Ökotárs know that they would not be upset if Ökotárs resigned, that is how much the Westerners support their friends).

    More likely Orbán and Lázár will have a great lough in the end, for the 100th times they will push down those hopeless Western Europeans, they always give up eventually. There will be a “compromise” as the Western Europeans love it, which means that they will accept Fidesz’ will unconditionally.

    http://hvg.hu/itthon/20140509_Nepszabadsag_Lazar_felfuggesztene_a_Norve

  12. @Roy

    The fidesznik turned MSzP campaign manager Zsolt Molnar seems to be one of the Fidesz moles in the parties of the democratic opposition.

  13. Difference between the election system of 1989-2011 and the 2014 Fidesz system.

    Party list votes ——> seats in Parliament

    2006. MSzP: 43.21% ——> 49.22%

    2014. Fidesz: 43.55% * ——> 66.83%

    * without the votes of the new citizens without Hungarian addresses.

    In details

    2006. MSzP: 2,336,705 / 5,408,050

    2014. Fidesz: 2,142,142/ 4,918,934

  14. @Petofi

    “Vladimir bemoans the growing nazi ideology in Europe, while his dopelganger in Hungary
    edges on the very same forces.”

    You forget to mention the extreme-right-wing groups that Putin and his party openly support right inside Russia, starting with Nashi. The only real difference in ideology between them and Svoboda, Right Sector, Jobbik, etc. is the name of the Fatherland.

  15. tappanch:

    MSZP wholeheartedly supports Molnár. But of course. There is no medicine for stupidity as they say.

    http://nepszava.hu/cikk/1019733-el-a-kezekkel-molnar-zsolttol/

    Of course not only the campaign was impotent but the previous 4 years. Somehow MSZP just never used any potential stories against Fidesz and gave up fighting. Why?

    Anyway isnt’t Molnar the head of the national security committee because he himself is (was) an asset/source/agent and as such a reliable overseer? I can absolutely imagine that too. He used to work at the prosecution and it is common knowledge that it is very much connected to the national security administration. Probably the security agencies can’t have a better committee head than him: conformist, opportunistic and dumb.

  16. Re: Norway’s money and Lazar’s chutzpah

    According to the article below, Norway gives 162 million euros to Hungary. More than 90% of the money, 150 million euros, is distributed by the Orban government.

    Orban’s Chief of Staff is upset that the remaining 12 million euros is distributed by an independent body, and demands that Norway stop funding them.

    http://nol.hu/belfold/lazar-gancsolja-a-norveg-alapot-1460919

  17. @tappanch:

    Merkel has to tread carefully with the EPP in Brussels – but if you look carefully you’ll find that she’s not happy:
    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-05-08/merkel-upbraids-hungary-s-orban-as-two-leaders-meet-in-berlin.html

    “German Chancellor Angela Merkel reproached Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hours after the visiting leader gave a speech touting nationalism and exhorting European leaders to respect his political reforms.

    At a conference in Berlin held by German broadcaster WDR, Merkel was asked about the speech, in which Orban decried immigration and celebrated Europe’s Christian identity. Without citing details, Merkel said she often disagreed with Orban.

    “I often don’t completely agree with his tonality, because he’s among those who at least give the impression that he knows things 100 percent exactly,” Merkel told the audience. The two leaders later met in the Federal Chancellery. ”

    Of course being a member of a party that has “Christian” in its name she can’t be too openly aggressive against another “Christian” – and don’t forget that she grew up in East Germany, where she stayed out of politics until reunification.

  18. Re: Norway’s money and Lazar’s chutzpah

    The saga continues, May 9.

    “Norway has decided to suspend further disbursements of funds to Hungary under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme. The reason for this is that the Hungarian Government has moved the implementation and monitoring of the Grants scheme out of the central government administration. This is in breach of the agreements that have been entered into.”

    “Hungary’s actions in this matter are unacceptable. Unfortunately, the Hungarian Government has shown little willingness to find solutions that comply with the agreements Hungary has entered into. We have therefore decided to suspend payments until this matter has been resolved,”

    “Hungary is a relatively large recipient of EEA and Norway Grants. For the current period, EUR 153.3 million has been allocated (approximately NOK 1.3 billion). Almost EUR 12 million of this amount has already been paid out.”

    http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/press/news/2014/hungary_suspension.html?id=758873

  19. Norway is just discovering: Hungary, a country filled with strutting little colonels.

  20. So, after the EU decided to suspend the free money to the Orban / Fidesz government, now Norway also closed the free flow of money. The Orban government certainly perfected the game of biting the hand that feeds you.
    “Hungary is a relatively large recipient of EEA and Norway Grants. For the current period, EUR 153.3 million has been allocated (approximately NOK 1.3 billion). Almost EUR 12 million of this amount has already been paid out.”
    I have to say that the Fidesz cult followers at the same time are much smarter as they support these bunch of “incompetents” does not matter what.

    I am also curious to see when the Peace Marchers / COF / Fidesz will start their March in support of Orban for successfully stopping the inflow of free money. I hope that those posters “respect for HUngarians” (probably financed by EU money) is working out fine for Orban in order to put more Fidesz buddies in the EU in order to secure Hungary’s independence from any outside influences.

    FACTS
    Brussels suspends funding to Hungary over alleged irregularities
    http://www.ft.com/intl/cms/s/0/9b85c228-04f1-11e3-9e71-00144feab7de.html#axzz31DWzK3aq
    Suspension of EEA and Norway Grants to Hungary
    http://www.regjeringen.no/en/dep/ud/press/news/2014/hungary_suspension.html?id=758873

  21. Anyone remember the story of the Swiss who wanted to give money to that town for a water distribution, where the Roma have no drinking water?

    What became out of it? The clever Swiss said they’d only pay after the water line was ready which made the mayor very angry …

  22. Regarding the money coming fem Norway: “As of 1 January, the Hungarian Government transferred the implementation and monitoring of programmes and funds under the EEA and Norway Grants scheme from a ministry to an independent, state-owned company.”

    Here is my understanding: Orban created a scheme back in January in case his 2/3 majority in parliament would not materialize at the elections. He made sure that the free money coming from outside will be still distributed according to his vision (his friends, his supporters). He just had no time to clean up the mass yet. Now all the money will be transferred back to the government as he has no use for the outside company any longer. Fidesz will report on an other success story because Norway will transfer the money as soon as the “power” is back at the government. Orban will have a big press release on how he told Norway off, and got the money to Hungarians.
    I think Hungary is not a colony of the EU or Norway. It is not what Hungarians should be afraid of, as Hungary became a colony of Viktor Orban

  23. some1, while there may have been some doubt whether Orbán would secure a 2/3rds majority, which gives him absolute power, there was no rational doubt that he would win the election, so I don’t think he was making contingencies as you suggest. I also don’t think the Norwegians are going to play ball either. Hats off to them

  24. @Roy: I wonder how many Fidesz moles are there in MSzP and in other parties. Molnar may not be a mole in the classical sense; he may not have purposefully joined MSzP to serve Fidesz (though I wound’t entirely rule that out either), but through his connections to Fidesz and through his possible involvement in “deals,” Fidesz was using him to their own advantage.

  25. HiBoM
    May 9, 2014 at 8:22 am
    some1, while there may have been some doubt whether Orbán would secure a 2/3rds majority, which gives him absolute power, there was no rational doubt that he would win the election, so I don’t think he was making contingencies as you suggest.
    _____

    He is making contingencies from day 1. His basic law is all about he taking control even when he is gone. He is essentially implanted Fidesz buddies in every single position for the long term. He created positions that overrides positions he could not get rid off. Orban wants absolute power and he is acting accordingly. Can you bring up a single instance otherwise?
    You suggesting that he wouldn’t of create the loop of transferrin the money out of the government as a contingency? So then, why? Yes there was a doubt about if Fidesz would come to power, but by the time the new government would of been able to clean up the mess created by Orban, all the money from the EU and Norway would of been transferred out to “friendly” Fidesz supporters. It is my humble opinion of course but everything point in that direction.

  26. An: it does not really matter. MSZP is anyway a bunch of amateurs and this is their image too. They are hopeless against the merciless Fidesz, it’s incredible how impotent they are. There are probably many moles too. It’s really a gittegylet if there ever was one.

  27. Let’s just wait to see who has the last lough in the Norwegian Fund case.

    Orban has never backed downed so far in anything.

    Never. Remember that.

    Compromise is for losers.

    In any ‘compromise’ with the EU Orban got to keep what he intended from the beginning.

    His tactics is always upping the ante, and then not doing that, so that the ‘compromise’ will be what he wanted from the start.

    I would not be surprised if Lazar announced that the government will tax the Norwegian fund recipients by say 50% of their receipts. Completely legal tax power, if necessary it will be enshrined in the constitution. Completely legal, you can go raise the issue with Hitler.

    The Norwegians will be livid and the “grand compromise” will be that Lázár will keep the decision over the entire funds just as he wanted from the beginning (ie. they will channel most of the money to Fidesz loyal projects).

    I just don’t trust the Norwegians enough to think that they can defeat the Orban-mafia.

    Let’s hope I am wrong and the Norwegians will crack the ice, but one should never underestimate the power of the dark side.

  28. Tzar
    May 9, 2014 at 9:45 am
    Let’s just wait to see who has the last lough in the Norwegian Fund case.
    Orban has never backed downed so far in anything.
    —————-

    I am not sure what you saying. It is clear. Orban can transfer the money back to government distribution or not. Same wit the EU funding. Are you saying that he will not do that? THen simply he will not get the money.
    If he will do that, then he compromised. It is black and white.

  29. HiBom seems to be a hostage of a misunderstood objectivity.
    Try to be bold and develop a healthy positive loathing against of the orbanian colonization.

  30. “I just don’t trust the Norwegians enough to think that they can defeat the Orban-mafia.”

    OK, a truth that will not please the Orbanists apologists on here- Fidesz, with one or two exceptions, are a party that completely lacks any sense of humanity or common decency.

    Orban, due his incredible inferiority complex and his instinctive cruelty would quite comfortably sit back and watch, for example, disadvantaged kids suffer to prove a point against democrats.

    That is the advantage Orban and those of his authoritarian ilk always have against any opponents who are inherently civilized, humane and democratic.

    I suspect Norway like the EU will step back on the premise that they can’t punish sick kids or starving families due to the fact that they have a Little Hitler as a PM and in a nutshell that is democracy’s weakness when faced with a heartless dictatorship.

    It plays right into the hands of Orban and Lazar because make no mistake once the mafia regime has their grubby mitts on such money as this then it will be going to their loyal gangsters and oligarchs and nowhere near orphanages and starving families

  31. I was going to add that it takes a particular talent to upset a country like Norway.

    Wonder what is the next front the regime are going to open?
    The Red Cross and Save the Children are going to follow the banks, the EU, Norway into the “enemies of the Hungarian people” narrative?

  32. “Hungary will persuade the Norwegians”. I have no doubt that this will be the case.

    “Hungary will allow the transparency of the decisions”. Sure. But we never said that the money will not flow to Fidesz-loyal projects or would surely go where we don’t like the people because they are just troublemaker liberals and jews. Muhahahaha.

    Like with all public procurement projects which are all formally legal and somehow all end up going exclusively to party friends, down to the last napkin procurement in a rural schools, these projects will also go to projects which have great relationships with Fidesz.

    NGOs which have ‘problems’ with the government will not get the monies, but, hey, we have all the paperwork, so it’s all legal. We only promised transparency (whatever that means in actuality).

    Lazar is a lawyer, so what is important is what is written down and then the Norwegians would still have to figure what is not written down, because that is what Lazar will do.

    I am not sure the Norwegians can win this, weird as this sounds.

    I know firsthand that the Fideszniks will not budge (what we have in the media is only for show but it worked with the EU splendidly before numerous times) and when the storm is over they will continue everything as before.

  33. segesvari: What is here to win? It is money that is given by Norway to Hungary in exchange for nothing. If they want to stop giving, they just have to stop. What would happen if they stop? Will Hungary sue Norway?

    Lazar by the way supposedly working to stop the money coming from Norway. I thin Hungary will be the first country in the world who will stop aid money. Lazar apparently officially asked Vidar Helgesen to stop paying!

    Who will save Hungary from Orban’s colonization at this point I have no idea.

  34. Hungary shall reject any development funds, we are not a third world country, we are a 1,100 years old nation!

    This tempest in a teapot is really about the decline of the West.

    Now that the oil money is running out, the Norwegians will need to cut costs and they did that by singling out poor, humble Hungary.

    It is really they, the Norwegians who provoked Lazar into arranging this, knowing full well that the righteous Hungarian Government just cannot allow allegations of misconduct without a resounding reply. All because the Norwegians need the money at home, but this way they can save face.

    The world shall see that nobody can mess with Hungary.

  35. Jozsef, you’re a bad, bad guy – but I like your style!

    OT: We got running water again …

  36. Great to see this propaganda website! It is a closed circle of people who have no idea about anything else outside. So it is difficult to argue. Maybe, you will get a straight message.

    Your corrupt post-communist friends, due to the will of the people, are out of power. And they will probably NEVER come back. NEVER. NEVER.

    And you, Soros-droids, do not let any other political forces to appear on the left in Hungary. That is the reason, there is no normal left-wing.

    So at the end, maybe, Orban is paying you.

    In any case, the economy is super, the country is out of the recession what your comrades were making.

    So we can finally pull ourselves together!

  37. Normally I don’t answer that type of troll, but I wanted to test if wordpress is having problems again.

    @Steven: Good for you if you believe all that crap “the economy is super” – I’m sure there are many people that would be happy about that. Do you live here in Hungary?

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