The Seehofer-Orbán interview redux: Four questions to Seehofer from Hungary

When three days ago I summarized a double interview with Bavarian premier Horst Seehofer and Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán which appeared in the internet edition of the conservative Die Welt, I did not anticipate what followed. I simply pointed out that although Seehofer is a conservative politician, he disagrees with Orbán on some key issues: the European Union, the eurozone, and Russia. I spent time on this particular interview because I wanted to call attention to what I perceive as the generally deteriorating German-Hungarian relations.

What happened afterward was indeed unexpected. A regional Bavarian paper, Oberbayerisches Volksblatt, published an article saying that the interview was originally supposed to appear in the Sunday edition of the paper, Die Welt am Sonntag, but because the interviewer neglected to ask really important questions from Orbán, the editors decided not to publish the interview in the print edition of the paper. According to the Bavarian paper, the representatives of the Hungarian government were outraged and accused Die Welt of censorship. At this point, the complaint got as far as Edmund Stoiber, the honorary chairman of the CSU, who contacted the CEO of Axel Springer, the owner of Die Welt. However, says the journalist responsible for the article, Stoiber’s intervention was in vain. The interview did not appear in Die Welt am Sonntag.

Well, this was the version that came from Bavaria. The following description of what happened comes from the press department of the Hungarian Prime Minister’s Office. The interview was approved by both Seehofer and Orbán, but the next day the editor, through the Hungarian embassy in Berlin, asked Orbán to answer three more questions. The head of the press department claimed that the editor admitted that “the Hungarian prime minister performed too well,” so they would like him to answer three additional questions: (1) about Orbán’s anti-European Union rhetoric; (2) about his creation of an authoritarian democracy; and (3) about the firing of hundreds of journalists not to the government’s liking. Viktor Orbán called these queries “false accusations masked as questions” and refused to answer them. The Hungarian government considered Die Welt‘s behavior unacceptable and unethical.

And finally, here is Die Welt‘s version of the incident. The editors of the paper saw things differently. Their journalist did not do a good job, did not put the right questions to the two politicians, and therefore the interview turned out to be dull. The editors wanted to ask a few additional relevant questions but, since they received no answers, they decided not to publish the interview in the print edition of the paper. They added that this particular issue was published during the weekend when the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall was being celebrated and that this “incomplete interview was not up to snuff.” Asking questions later if necessary is a common practice in German journalism, claimed Christian Gottschalk, editor of the Stuttgarter Zeitung.

I might add here that recently there was another “journalistic scandal”–this time in connection with Imre Kertész, whose interview was not published in The New York Times. Kertész complained that the paper censored the interview because he refused to call the present Hungarian regime a “dictatorship.” According to David Streitfeld, the New York Times‘s Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist, Kertész simply told him that he is in bad physical shape and therefore does not participate in public life and is not really interested in politics. In brief, the interview was not “interesting” enough to publish.

Question

In connection with the Bavarian-Hungarian encounter and interview I would like to summarize an article that appeared in today’s Galamus by Gábor Endrődi. Since Horst Seehofer defended Viktor Orbán when he encountered criticism from opponents on the left, Endrődi wrote that he would like to pose four questions to Seehofer.

Question 1: Bild Zeitung is the most popular daily in Germany. According to statistics, it sells more than 2.5 million copies daily while the next largest paper has fewer than a million readers. It is a well-known fact that articles in Bild Zeitung had a role to play in the eventual resignation of the German president at the beginning of 2012. Could you find it conceivable that, instead of the president’s resigning two months after the appearance of these critical articles, the Bundestag would pass a law stipulating that every newspaper that sells more than a million copies a day must pay in the form of a tax half of its revenues, a tax that is one hundred times greater than the taxes paid by newspapers with smaller circulations?

Question 2: Is it conceivable that a legislative proposal about tobacco concessions was actually written by one of the tobacco companies that subsequently received ten percent of the concessions and then as manufacturer pays only one-twentieth of what its competitors must pay?

Question 3: Would you submit and vote for a piece of legislation in the Bundestag that would impose sixty times more “extra” levy on the leading firm in a certain area of business activity, let’s say on Neckermann, than on its smaller competitors?

Question 4: If the answers, even in part, are in the affirmative, then we have no more questions. If, on the other hand, they are in the negative, we have a final question: can a country with such a system of taxation remain a part of the euroatlantic alliance? Would you vote for this country’s membership in the European Union?

Endrődi at the beginning of the article expressed his hope that one day a German journalist will pose these questions to Horst Seehofer, the defender of Viktor Orbán. Well, I decided not to wait for that moment. These questions, to my mind, deserve a wider audience than a Hungarian-language internet site can provide. Perhaps their message will resonate with the politicians who have a say in European affairs.

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44 comments

  1. Nice job as usual Éva, but there’s a translation error in the first question: Endrődi uses the phrase, “lapértékesítési bevétel,” which I suppose would be “revenue from newspaper sales,” not “profits” as listed above. The distinction, I think, is key, and of course reflects the real situation RTL Klub finds itself in.

  2. Bravó Éva. Would there be someone, who could competently translate the four question in German. It can be forwarded to Herr Seehofer’s office and also posted on his website and Facebook page?

  3. OT: The famous Hungarian poet killed by the nazis, Miklos Radnoti’s estate will be auctioned off now that his wife passed away. What will happen to the apartment is unclear. Overheard today “If it would be Horthy’s heritage, probably Fidesz would keep the apartment, buy up the the estate, and make a museum out of it, honouring the “great man”.

  4. OT – BBC radio midnight news has just reported anti-government demos across Hungary, including one in Bp where “riot police clashed with protestors”.

    Has the resistance finally begun?

  5. Bitteschön:

    Vier Fragen an Ministerpräsident Seehofer:

    – Die Bild-Zeitung ist das Tagesblatt mit der höchsten Auflage in Deutschland. Der Statistik nach werden davon täglich zweieinhalb Millionen Exemplare verkauft, während die Zeitung mit der zweitstärksten Auflage nicht einmal die Millionen-Marke erreicht. Es ist ebenso allgemein bekannt, dass kritische Bild-Artikel in gewissem Maße zum Rücktritt des Bundespräsidenten, Anfang des Jahres 2012 geführt haben.
    Könnten Sie sich vorstellen, dass -Anstelle des Rücktritts des Bundespräsidenten- sagen wir, zwei Monate nach Erscheinen der beanstandeten Artikel, der Bundestag ein Gesetz verabschiedet, nachdem jede Zeitung mit einer Auflage über einer Million, die Hälfte ihrer Verkaufseinnahmen an das Finanzamt abführen muss, also das hundertfache des Steuersatzes für auflagenschwächere Zeitungen?

    – Könnten Sie sich vorstellen, dass das deutsche Gesetz zur Regelung der Tabakhandelskonzessionen von einem Tabakkonzern vorgelegt wird, dessen Interessenskreis ein Zehntel der Konzessionsrechte gewinnt, um dann wiederum -als Hersteller- nur ein zwanzigstel der Sondersteuer zu zahlen, mit welcher seine Konkurrenten belastet werden? Würde es der Aufmerksamkeit der bayerischen Behörden entgehen, dass die -eigentlich geheimen- Bewerbungsanträge unter Mitgliedern der örtlichen CSU-Verbände verteilt werden?

    Würden Sie dem Bundestag ein Gesetz vorlegen, oder einem solchen zustimmen, welches ein marktführendes Unternehmen, sagen wir zum Beispiel Neckermann, überhalb einer festgesetzten Einkommensgrenze mit dem sechzigfachen Steuersatz kleinerer Konkurrenten belastet? Das Ganze im Zeichen einer ausgeglichenen Verteilung der Steuerlasten?

    Wenn diese Fragen, selbst teilweise, bejaht werden, haben wir keine weiteren Fragen. Wenn sie wiederum verneint werden, bleibt nur noch eine Zusatzfrage:
    Kann ein Land mit einem wie oben skizzierten Steuersystem Teil des Euro-Atlantischen Bündnisses sein? Würden Sie die Aufnahme solch eines Landes in die Europäische Union befürworten?

    Anybody feel free to proofread, it´s kind of late here…

  6. “And finally, here is Die Welt‘s version of the incident. The editors of the paper saw things differently. Their journalist did not do a good job, did not put the right questions to the two politicians, and therefore the interview turned out to be dull. ”

    What a load of bullshit. If the journalist “did not do a good job”, why was he not fired? If the interview “turned out to be dull”, then why was the interview published on the Die Welt website?

    “The editors wanted to ask a few additional relevant questions but, since they received no answers they decided not to publish the interview in the print edition of the paper.”

    They are free to ask for another interview if they want to ask more questions. The only reason we know about this interview because it was published on the Die Welt Website. And the original interview was published, not a falsified modified version, changed retroactively but the original.

    So in fact the additional questions were not relevant or necessary, because the interview was published without them just fine.

    The war between the Die Welt journalist and the Welt am Sonntag editors is an internal matter. the Journalist obviously felt he was doing a good job and asked the right questions. That is why he asked them… It is highly unprofessional to have an internal conflict within the newspaper and try to draw outside parties into that conflict with attempted extortion.

    And this shows the importance of doing a joint interview with the Prime Minister of Bavaria. A joint interview like that is not so easy to manipulate, falsify or change after the fact. Because several people were present and have tapes of the original interview it is much harder to create a falsified version of the interview, later.

  7. Éva: I wrote an e-mail to Mr. Horst Seehofer and also put the questions in English and German on his Facebook page also. I hope someone will take the time and notice it.

  8. The original interview was made by a completely different team and the report was low quality, boring, they did not buy it. That’s all.

    Orban is the second less known prime minister in the EU (the Croatian prime minister is the less known one). Orban is like the bullfrog he wants to seem bigger than he really is. Boooring.

  9. TOMMY: The Editor makes the decision what article gets published in his paper, not you or I. That is his job. Our job is to read it. If you or I don’t like, we don’t have to read it. He’s got over a million readers, one or two less will not make a dent.
    Personally I am glad, the MINI-Mussolini did not get free advertising in Germany.
    Today, tens of thousands of people in Budapest, and thousands more in smaller cities and Hungarians around Europe demonstrated and told him where to go. It is not a printable word in civilized circles.

  10. Maybe you do not understand the English language well enough.

    The editor published the article. The editor published the article after all was said and done. This is why we are discussing this article in the first place, because it was published.

    The editor had a disagreement with the journalist and attempted to rewrite the interview that the journalist did.

    However this attempt failed and the original interview was published, written by the journalist.

    So in that sense it was the journalist not the editor who decided what the content of the article should be.

  11. Victor Orban had a very good reason for not answering those three questions. They were worded to sound like accusations. Any answer would raise issues and controversy. I guess that makes them good journalism. No answer is a good answer to to be politically correct..

  12. tommy: I may not understand the English language well enough, but I do speak and understand American English for almost five decades now. I am not going to debate the issue with you, because Eva summarized it well.
    The interview only appeared in the Internet edition of the Die Welt so far and did not appear in print anywhere. Let’s just stay with this fact and you can make your case to others about your theories involving the journalists and the editor?
    I am still glad, the viktor’s insincere answers and outrageous lies did not get printed and that’s what counts.

  13. These Bavarian politicians are the idiots Orban hate the most, which is not to say he wouldn’t take advantage of them.

    Rich beyond belief and absolutely clueless about reality.

    If you sit down with them and together start to hate “the communists” they will believe everything you say and will love you.

    Yet, there’s no CDU government in Berlin without the CSU and this is known painfully well by Merkel and other non-Bavarians.

  14. Tommy seems to be our latest troll …

    Re Seehofer:

    I wouldn’t expect too much from him. He’s the one who always talks about “Christian family values” but he got his secretary in Berlin pregnant and then left her with the child and returned to his wife and children in Bavaria …
    he also had a corruption scandal in his office – only when the pressure got overwhelming he let go the woman involved …

    And his crazy idea of having a motorway toll in Germany only for foreigners (obviously against EU laws) has given the government in Berlin a lot of headaches – they’ve been coming up with all kinds of proposals to make this legal in the EU and at the same time reduce the Germans’ tax load. There have been several ideas about this – one even madder than the other …

    So Seehofer is not very popular with Mrs Merkel right now and the majority of the CSU in Bavaria is dwindling.

    PS and OT:

    There’s an old joke about the power of the CSU :

    They could even put up a black garbage can as candidate for parliament – and it would be elected …

  15. Hmmmm.

    Mindenesetre érdekes szomszédjaid vannak a lap alján:

    : Die Welt, European Union, Gábor Endrődi, Horst Seehofer, Imre Kertész, New York Times, Viktor Orbán

  16. Paul
    November 17, 2014 at 7:30 pm
    OT – BBC radio midnight news has just reported anti-government demos across Hungary, including one in Bp where “riot police clashed with protestors”.
    Has the resistance finally begun?

    There were no clashes. The police lifted out one person, a woman who did not feel well. The police pushed back the crowd but it was not a violent action. The question today that most media (and people) have is what do the protesters want? The good news is that there are some civil groups, just like Fidesz had prior, that seem to becoming very active. This is not only in Budapest any more.

    Orban made sure that there would be a cordon at the parliament, that was taken down by the crowd. In 2007 Orban in an interview accused the then Hungarian Government with taking anti-demoratic measures when after the 2006 riot, they put cordons around the parliament.
    1:48

  17. “I might add here that recently there was another “journalistic scandal”–this time in connection with Imre Kertész, whose interview was not published in The New York Times. Kertész complained that the paper censored the interview because he refused to call the present Hungarian regime a “dictatorship.” .. In brief, the interview was not “interesting” enough to publish.”

    Kertesz is a nobel winning writer, it is an absolute scandal that he was censored. Kertesz was censored after the journalist traveled to Hungary for the sole purpose of interviewing him. And this “explanation” of the interview not being interesting enough is the most weak and cowardly explanation I’ve ever seen.

    The New York Times writer committed political censorship against a nobel winner Jewish writer. He should grow a spleen and admit it. Admit what he did, instead of trying to accuse Kertesz of various things. Otherwise people will start to wonder if antisemitism played a part in this censorship.

    This can also be interpreted as intimidation against intellectuals. If you don’t say what I want you to say, you do not exist at all. It is as if that interview never happened.

    And with zero integrity, the “journalist” denied handing over the tape of the interview which would CONCLUSIVELY show what went on and what was the truth. For some reason he is only interested in burying the truth, and not revealing it.

  18. Thank you Eva. I am a minor political activist, since 2010.
    I had high hopes for the Stadionbuilder viktor in the beginning of 2010. It is interesting perhaps, that I use this name for him for over 2 years on all my comments and yesterday I noticed other publications used it too. It was the first time I saw it in print.
    =======
    I was listening to the viktor in 2010, I think it was in August, when he had his big speech in the Parliament. Between major passages, he said a joke about Kodaly and the pupil, who was learning to play the piano for 8 years without success, like the previous Government. This served as a break between the portions of his speech, so people could not think and digest what he said about a given subject. Comic relief is a good way of not letting the listeners absorb and critic what they just heard, their attention was yanked away with a joke. They laughed on the joke and then came the next subject. Good tool for a public speaker. Anyway, I listen carefully what politicians say in their speech, especially when the viktor was supposed to outline his plan and his Government’s. (the emphasis is on HIS)
    The viktor said a sentence that almost made me fall off my chair. He said; “The public interest is more important than the private interest.” (A közérdek fontosabb, mint a magánérdek.) The he went on that opposite to the previous Governments, public interest will override private interests. He got standing ovation and applause unnamed. (vastaps).
    =====
    I just sat then and there flabbergasted. Do these people know, what they just heard? Do they know, that this marks the end of the little democracy they have? No, they did not. They still don’t know what this sentence meant. They applauded that they will be made slaves.

    In a capitalistic system in a democracy, it is the private interest, that creates ALL businesses, all wealth, all taxes with the Constitution protecting the individuals private property ahead of all others.
    Already the Magna Cartha (1215) and soon after, independently and coincidentally, the Hungarian Golden Bull (1222) established the protection of private property. To paraphrase it, the King could NOT enter and use anyone’s property without that person’s permission and this right included ALL of the people in the Kingdom, even the serfs and peasants.
    This was now dismantled by the Stadionbuilder viktor and his gang.
    This was a clear manifestation, that the man, who dares to say such things will turn things upside down and he does not have an ounce of democratic thinking in his veins, least of all respect for basic human rights.
    Without the protection of private property, the Government becomes omnipotent and it can take away anything it wants to, without the individual being able to defend his/her business property and/or private interest. (Eminent domain exist in all democracies, within the strict confines of the laws.)
    This “common interest” (his and his gang’s) is the basis of the new “Fundamental Laws” (the Tákolmány) which they ratified in two minutes with 2/3 majority and voted in to replace the 1989 Constitution.
    I studied the Fundamental Laws when they published it for review in 2010 and I was reading it with horror. Nobody read it, nobody cared and paid attention to it in Hungary, they did not know, that the Basic Laws will make the people slaves of a dictator and a Government of criminals. A Government, which cannot be kept in check, because the Constitutional Judges and the Courts became trappings and powerless and the people lost their rights to oppose, and to inquire about the actions and the spending of tax money of the Government. Anything and everything can be don in secret, if they say it is :in the interest of the state”. We see now, that the viktor not only organized a dictatorship, but he lost even the little sense of reality he had, now he speaks in first person narratives; “I took 1,300 Billions from the banks and I gave it to the people.” The “I” and “Hungary”, the “Nation” means the same notion to him. Napoleon wasn’t as arrogant and self-conceited when he was a true Emperor and the most successful General, than this little soccer crazy prick.
    So, I am doing what little I can to fight this half-wit MINI-Mussolini and the spineless thieves and robbers brown nosing him.

  19. @Gabor the troll:

    There was news on Kertesz when he was still healthy two years ago (now he’s a sick old man who just wants his peace and quiet):
    http://www.politics.hu/20120210/hungarian-nobel-laureate-kertesz-likens-pm-orban-to-pied-piper-says-country-today-in-same-state-as-during-communist-era/
    “Viktor Orbán has enchanted Hungary like the Pied Piper of Hamelin, and the country is in the same state today as during the rule of János Kádár, Nobel Prize-winning writer Imre Kertész asserts in an interview with the French newspaper Le Monde.

    The government places itself in opposition to Europe in the name of defending Hungarian interests, Kertész said, adding that this may look like a return to sovereignty, but is just another mistake.

    He asserted that democracy has never prevailed in Hungary as an organic process mobilising the entire society, rather than just as a political system.

    Speaking about hatred of Jews and Roma, Kertész said this is essential to a simple-minded image of the nation.”
    You should also read the comments by your friends in Fidesz on this!

  20. Hopelessly naive Germans (Western Europeans), part 726.

    The government is about hit with yet another special tax Aldi, Lidl, Spar as well as Tesco and Auchan.

    Very informative post in Hungarian about how these companies have been licking into the anus of Orban reaching warm feces in the naive hope of getting along with the government and yet they are being hit by a giant special tax bill.

    Appeasement is never ever a good strategy. I can only hope that sooner or later these amateurs will learn the lesson. They never will.

    http://socialdance.tumblr.com/post/102968395311/nagyon-jo-ahogy-az-eddig-egyebkent-eleg-sok-mindenben

  21. @Jakab:

    I wouldn’t call those companies naive – they are in all the new markets and make some money (or they would leave …) and still sell at prices which are generally at least 20% lower than CBA’s!

    And if Hungary should be no longer attractive to them, they’ll leave. The Hungarian market is not that important – my favourite example:

    When I buy a product at Lidl or Aldi (whether food or electronics) I usually get the description in ten, sometimes even more than 20 languages, Hungarian is just one of them …

  22. Wolfi: that’s exactly what Orban, sorry CBA and Coop want. So that CBA and Coop could continue with their shabby and disgusting, Romania in the 1970’s style shops full of products with forged sell by dates and rude employees (and their prices are also high). Instead of investing and acquiring know-how the lawyers got to working as they always do at Fidesz. By the way it’s very easy to comply: the sales prices need to be increased (just like the banks increased the fees), ie. these companies will need to sell at higher prices so that they become uncompetitive.

  23. We’re getting OT:

    Gabo, even if they have to raise their prices 10% they’ll still be much cheaper than CBA!

    Right now we’re even getting coupons from Spar/Interspar (last month it was Tesco) for another 10% discount (actually it’s 500 HUF back if you spend more than 5000) and I’m sure people would go to the streets if all/many of them global players would leave Hungary.
    Seems (as the i-tax scandal showed) that Hungarians are touched when their purses are – not when democracy is in trouble!
    Probably in the long run the economic troubles will be the downfall of Fidesz.

  24. tommy,

    You wrote: “What a load of bullshit. If the journalist “did not do a good job”, why was he not fired? If the interview “turned out to be dull”, then why was the interview published on the Die Welt website?”

    First of all, why is the profanity necessary? You have the manners of a troll.

    Next: where you work, do people get fired for making one mistake or for not doing one task well enough? If so, your company must have extremely high turnover, since humans make mistakes (computers do, too, though perhaps not as often). In most companies, one or two or even thre mistakes are not enough to get a talented employee terminated. That is one possible explanation for the continued employment of the journalist (as far as we know, since it’s possible that the journalist in question has indeed been fired). Another possible explanation: in journalism, in case you didn’t know, many stories are submitted that don’t get published. It’s just part of the nature of the medium, since one never knows how many stories will be available to be published on a given day, and how interesting they will all be compared to the others that are submitted by other journalists.

    Finally, since you don’t seem to know very much about newspapers, there is only a finite amount of space available for articles in each publication. On the web, however, there is a lot more flexibility, so some articles that do not fit in the newspaper can still appear on the website of the publication. This is true for most of the periodicals that I read, but apparently you don’t read much, or you only read online newspapers, since this is quite obvious to anybody who reads a lot of news.

    Any more questions?

  25. Gabó – very true. I used to go to a Coop nearby. “Shabby” is indeed a good description of the place, but that didn’t bother me too much. I finally stopped going completely because, as you correctly said, the cashiers were frequently extremely rude. Well, those people aren’t going to change, so I vote with my feet and go to a Tesco Express instead. But it looks like very soon that option won’t be available to me and I’ll be forced to go back to the Coop.

    And I have to say, in all these years I have never had a rude encounter with a Tesco employee in Hungary, or even seen one. It makes me very sad to admit this and I don’t want to believe it, but deep down I know it’s because Tesco is a foreign-owned company and has higher standards.

  26. Gabor,

    You wrote: “Kertesz was censored after the journalist traveled to Hungary for the sole purpose of interviewing him. And this ‘explanation’ of the interview not being interesting enough is the most weak and cowardly explanation I’ve ever seen.”

    See my previous comment directed towards Tommy for an explanation as to how the newspaper might very well have declined to pring the article because it was boring. Just because you find the story interesting doesn’t mean that the readers of the newspaper in question would agree with you. Articles that are interesting are what sell newspapers, and selling newspapers is what editors do, despite what you wish they would do.

    “The New York Times writer committed political censorship against a nobel winner Jewish writer. He should grow a spleen and admit it. Admit what he did, instead of trying to accuse Kertesz of various things. Otherwise people will start to wonder if antisemitism played a part in this censorship.”

    No, I highly doubt that anyone would suspect the New York Times of anti-semitism, despite what exists in your fevered dreams. Your charges of anti-semitism ring hollow to my ears, but I will assume that they are sincere, and explain that just because someone doesn’t print an article by a person of Jewish extraction doesn’t mean that said extraction is the reason behind the failure to print. If you used logic, you would have to realise that the writer would not have bothered to travel all the way to Budapest to interview Kertész in the first place if he/she were anti-semitic at all. You might protest that somehow the writer was unaware of the ancestry or religion of Kertész until after the interview was conducted but before there was a chance to print it, but that would assume that a professional journalist would not know his/her subject at all before going to interview him, and that would be much too much for anyone to believe (except, perhaps, for you).

    “This can also be interpreted as intimidation against intellectuals. If you don’t say what I want you to say, you do not exist at all. It is as if that interview never happened.”

    So you’re averring that without the publication of this one interview, Kertész doesn’t exist. I had no idea the New York Times was so powerful! (Please forgive the sarcasm, I couldn’t resist, and the comment was too unserious to address in any more polite way) Besides, there are plenty of people who are quoted in the New York Times who say things the editors and journalists don’t want them to say. If you really can’t find any examples on your own, let me know and I’ll quickly find a few for you. What you’re accusing the New York Times of is much more true of Hungarian newspapers, I’m sorry to say.

    “And with zero integrity, the ‘journalist’ denied handing over the tape of the interview which would CONCLUSIVELY show what went on and what was the truth. For some reason he is only interested in burying the truth, and not revealing it.”

    I don’t think anyone but you or someone else trying to invent a scandal would care to hear the tape of the interview. If you contact the New York Times or the interviewer, I imagine you could use your powers of persuasion to get them to release the tape.

  27. Re: new Fidesz taxes & other measures against foreign-owned retailers

    Here is the Fidesz algorithm

    1. the foreign-owned retailers are hit with huge new fees and taxes

    2a. If they do not raise their prices, they lose money.
    If they go in the negative for two consecutive years then (new law!)
    their stores will be closed down automatically!

    2b. If they raise their prices, they become more expensive than the CBA.

    3. The European Union is asleep, as usual.

  28. Gabo: “Wolfi: that’s exactly what Orban, sorry CBA and Coop want. So that CBA and Coop could continue with their shabby and disgusting, Romania in the 1970′s style shops full of products with forged sell by dates and rude employees”

    And the Hungarian customer, he is still going there in the national interest, or because nothing can be done about it? Why is everything judged according to whether it is what our “very smart lawyer” wants? Why is there never a question of whether the average citizen likes that and why he has no say in it?

    I do indeed put some hopes in the current demonstrations but as Some1 writes, there should be a positive message, aim and programme

    And about the questions to Horst Seehofer. Apart from the futility of a question like “Would Hungary in current circumstances be admitted to the EU” (of course not, but it is a different matter to expel a member which is somehow useful for some political balance and to take new members on board), in this big friendship the fact that the location of Audi headquarters is in Bavaria will also play a role (probably there are other interests too). It should also be noticed that among the German Bundesländer, Bavaria has quite a reputation in cronyism and conservatism. Perhaps it has improved during the past 20 years a bit and it does not apply to each and every Bavarian town, but the CSU networks (being in government uninterruptedly since WW2) have been and are still very strong. I would not expect them to be the most active defenders of democracy and transparency; they are more famous for their defence of “traditional values” and Bavarian networks. It is already quite a message that Horst Seehofer did disagree openly with Viktor Orban.

  29. @gybognarjr I remember that speech very well and remember thinking the exact same thing as you but when I tried to point it out to family members what I was acknowledging and hoping they would too, I was amazed by the blind faith so many had in him. But he essentially said to all that he was taking us back to communism in the sense that he wants to centralize everything in order to control everything. When the new constitution was introduced, again I was shocked how no one seemed alarmed by the changes, the taking away of many rights and then the getting rich of the cronies and average Hungarian people becoming poorer and still, it was like no one noticed, they were still in love with him. Then the elections in the spring, I thought for sure, there would not be a 2/3 majority, or at least I was praying and yet again, Hungarians would say things like, “oh well, this is how it is”, or say they weren’t going to vote because there was no one to vote for and they didn’t want to give Fidesz their vote, etc. They didn’t seem to understand that by letting that happen, they sealed the fate of the country. At least until 2018. I think it is so important to get the truth out to Hungarians, to let them know there is something they can do, they can get rid of him. Because if action isn’t taken it can be too late for Hungary, the damage will be done, then what? I would never wish for Hungary to be in the same state as Ukraine, but if it means freedom, then you have to take action.

  30. Liz Aucoin: Thank you for your excellent answer and the observations.
    My opinion is, that one can not expect the same kind of understanding, intensity of political activism, the attention to legal issues and human rights from the average Hungarian as one can, from Germans, Brits, French, Scandinavians, Canadians, Americans and many other nationalities, who live in democracy.
    As I said earlier, in Hungary there is democracy only one day in every four years, when they have rigged elections. It last from the end of the line at the polls to the ballot box. Once the citizen drops his vote in the box, democracy is over. The representatives he/she elected are now strictly responsible to their parties and party bosses. The people have no say so beyond that time, NOBODY listens, the politicians got a free license to lie, cheat and rob them. Therefore the average person does not get involved in politics, because he/she can not be heard. Volunteerism is also very low.
    The other reason Hungarians don’t care, because they are not participating in the workings of the courts, they are not taught the Constitution and their basic rights, so they are not well versed and not interested in legal matters.
    We on the other hand have a legal system, that is independent, open and we have to serve as jury members every two years, when we are selected by the attorneys. It is our civic duty to be jury members when selected. We have to be able to be impartial, to set aside prejudices and be able to bring a just and fair verdict after determining guilt beyond the shadow of the doubt. Our civil criminal cases are 85% handled by jury trials, business related trials which require technical expertise are handled only 25% by jury.
    We can actively participate in our political system, we can recall elected officials, they get punished when they are found guilty for crimes. We can participate in directing our political system and our lives.
    Not so in Hungary. They can go out on the streets to demonstrate or have a revolution. Nobody listens to them, especially now with the little dictator and the filthy gang having a false 2/3 majority.
    I think there will be trouble ahead. People in Hungary are are angry now for the many different injustices being done to them, for the uninhibited, unscrupulous robbery and a whole list of crimes committed by the viktor and his supporters. Once the people find a leader, I think they will bring down this dirty, filthy maffia government in no time. I don’t think they will serve out their time until the next election, I hope they serve lifetime sentences without parole.

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