March 26th, 2012

Hungary’s prime minister bites the hand that feeds him

Since his right-wing Fidesz Party swept to power in 2010 with an overwhelming parliamentary majority, [Orbán] has repeatedly instigated conflict with international partners. But in choosing now to channel his ire directly at the European Union, he may be signaling that his political intentions are even more reactionary and revisionist than we had previously imagined.

Follow Politics.hu on twitter at @politicshu.
Topics
Share
Please note that due to a large volume of trolling and false abuse flags, we are currently only accepting comments from logged-in users.
  • Leto The Almighty

    Commie talk. The New Republic should be renamed Back To Totalitarianism.

  • Leto Muad’dib

    On March 15, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán actually stood before about 250,000 of his fellow countrymen in Budapest (not “nearly 100,000″)

    “even more reactionary and revisionist ”

    WTF :D :D :D

  • Viking

    Prime Minister Orbán, who was democratically elected, is permitted, of course, to say whatever he wishes about the EU; he can rouse nationalist passions all he likes; and he can draw absurd historical comparisons between the European and Soviet Unions. One wonders, however, why he expects to do so on the dime of “foreigners” he claims to despise

    A very good question, for which the Hungarian people will pay to get the answer

  • Enough

    Ok, let’s see who feeds whom here.

    Those representing foreign interests inevitably will say: it is the EU and the IMF who feeds Hungary, so Hungary should shut up and do as it is told. Upon examining this Hungary vs. EU & IMF relationship, it is easy to detect that it is a relationship based on power (with all its inherent power dynamics) and not on mutual respect. The ugly downsides of these kinds of relationships are the same, regardless of their colour or political affiliation (EU, Soviet Union, USA, IMF): there is the one who dictates and the other who obeys. This is not healthy, this is not democratic and it is dehumanizing.

    However, looking more closely at the Hungary – UE&IMF relationship, the picture is not so obvious. While it is true that it is the EU and the IMF who is able and does have the means to provide help in forms of loans, what the EU and the IMF forgets to mention is that the majority of the most profitable businesses in Hungary are representing foreign interests and not Hungarian national interests. In other words, the shareholders of most of the banks and of the majority of big business in Hungary are not Hungarians. Adding this to the fact that all of these businesses made very high profits in Hungary in the recent years leads, to the conclusion that Hungary in fact is a good place to get rich if you are not Hungarian.

    Now, the question of who feeds whom is not so clear anymore, yet the above mentioned unhealthy power-based relationship remains dominant. To not to take this into consideration is disingenuous and shows duplicity.

    • Szabad Ember

      @Enough

      Sadly enough, this situation is true in nearly every small country, and has been ever since European nations built up their empires. Fortunately, in the EU, small nations have more power than they have for a long time (excluding oil-rich ones). Hungary also benefits from its own MNCs’ activities in other countries, as well as Hungarians who own stock in those profitable companies you mention, so, at least economically speaking, things are much more even than your account portrays.

      Besides, those companies don’t necessarily have the national interests in mind of the people who own a majority of their stock, nor even the interests of the stockholders themselves; they are run by their management with short-term profit and market expansion being their only interests. Therefore, Hungary is not necessarily being treated much differently than large countries.

      • Enough

        My point was simply that the question of who feeds whom, is far from clear. To swing the big club of “wed give you the loans, hence you do as we say” is reminiscent (even if in a milder form) of the times when the, as you put it, European nations were building their empires on the back of small nations.

        For example, while Greece is on the brink of total collapse, the EU approved its multibillion euro arms acquisition budget item, and it did so for a simple reason: Greece is buying all those arms from France and Germany.

        Also, while yes, Hungary has a few MNCs, where Hungarian shareholders also benefit, as I pointed out, the great majority of the banks and the majority of the MNCs operating in Hungary on a high profit rate are representing the interests of foreign shareholders. You are wrong in suggesting that these companies do not have the interest of their stockholders as a primary interest. By definition the primary duty and interest of a corporation is to satisfy its shareholders’ interests.

        Both the Greek and the Hungarian examples show that an appeal to the “hand that feeds” Hungary is disingenuous at best.

        • Szabad Ember

          @Enough

          As individuals, if we want a loan, we have to agree to conditions, and suffer the consequences if we don’t live up to them. Large wealthy countries also have restrictions on their actions, if they have debt. The wealthiest in the world, the US, recently was downgraded by the ratings agencies for its political moves. That affected many things, and caused great consternation. The only country that might conceivably have complete sovereignty is North Korea, and even it must keep outsiders’ opinions in mind when it decides how to act. Plus, without China, it would probably eventually either be invaded or suffer an internal revolt. Therefore, it’s not colonialism but human nature, and has been this way ever since humans have existed. The only exceptions have been societies that managed to be cut off from contact with other societies, usually deep in the Amazon forest. Colonialism was a much more extreme version, and more out in the open (because it was official, with flags and other official symbols). Every other international transaction is somewhere on the continuum, and shares some elements of colonialism.

          “By definition the primary duty and interest of a corporation is to satisfy its shareholders’ interests.”

          Yes, but who defines its shareholders’ interests? Almost always, that interest is defined the way the management of of the corporation wants it to be defined, which is to say short-term profit. If the majority of those stockholders would be willing to give up a little short-term profit for longer-term viability, or for conscience, that will rarely be taken into account in the definition that management assigns to their “interest”. Shareholders have little sway over who gets into management, too, which is part of the problem.

          “an appeal to the ‘hand that feeds’ Hungary is disingenuous at best.”

          I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here; an appeal by whom? Why is it less than honest?

          • Enough

            Your first paragraph is completely irrelevant to what I had to say, and as such it does not address any of the points I made.

            “Yes, but who defines its shareholders’ interests?”

            The shareholders. Have you ever been to a shareholders meeting?

            “Almost always, that interest is defined the way the management of the corporation wants it to be defined”

            No, the shareholders’ interests are articulated, actualized by management, and not defined. You obviously never participated in a shareholders’ meeting where issues and reports by management are voted on.

            “Shareholders have little sway over who gets into management”

            True. But if shareholders complain, the board of directors acts quickly.

            “I don’t understand what you’re trying to say here; an appeal by whom? Why is it less than honest?”

            It is understandable that you don’t understand since in your reply you did not address my relevant points. An appeal to the principle or image of ‘you don’t bite the hand that feeds you’ in Hungary’s (and even in Greece’s) case is disingenuous at best, because there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.

          • Leto Muad’dib

            @Enough:

            Hey, don’t expect “Szabad Ember” he would understand so complex things like “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

            BTW, great posts, thanks.

          • Szabad Ember

            @Enough

            I see you are just another internet troll who would rather attack people personally than engage in honest debate with them. Fine, I can fight back.

            You wrote, “if shareholders complain, the board of directors acts quickly.”

            You obviously haven’t been reading the literature on this subject. Here are some links that show that corporate boards do not, after all, need to listen to any but the very richest and most active shareholders, and even then often don’t address their concerns. One of the biggest indicators is executive compensation.

            http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_hb262/is_1_30/ai_n29418408/

            http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/opeds/FTjuly06/wFToped.htm

            http://www.law.harvard.edu/faculty/bebchuk/pdfs/04.Bebchuk.case-empowering-shareholders.pdf

            A quote from the first article:

            “…in a public company with widely dispersed share ownership, it is difficult and expensive for shareholders to overcome obstacles to collective action and wage a proxy battle to oust an incumbent board. Nor is success likely when directors can use corporate funds to solicit proxies to stay in place.”

            You wrote, “Your first paragraph is completely irrelevant to what I had to say, and as such it does not address any of the points I made.”

            It’s typical of demagogues to just dismiss arguments of others as “irrelevant”, but I will give you the benefit of the doubt and act as if you just didn’t understand what I was trying to state. I’ll make it easier for you to understand: that paragraph addresses the first sentence of your post “…is reminiscent (even if in a milder form) of the times when the, as you put it, European nations were building their empires on the back of small nations.” My response is that your description of the current situation as being “reminiscent” of colonialism is false, since the current situation is just the same situation that existed before and after the period of classic colonialism, except not nearly as extreme in scope. If that’s not clear enough for you, I’ll try again.

            You wrote, “It is understandable that you don’t understand since in your reply you did not address my relevant points.”

            Your sentence “an appeal to the “hand that feeds” Hungary is disingenuous at best” is poorly constructed. You didn’t specify what “appeal” you were talking about; you could easily have been referring to some request by Hungary to the EU, since the word “appeal” is more likely to have that meaning. If you don’t write clearly, most people will just make assumptions about your meaning, and that’s a major problem in rational discourse such as what I hope (but doubt) you are trying to promote.

            Additionally, I did address all of your points, more than adequately. Just because you didn’t understand my responses doesn’t mean that I didn’t offer counterarguments. Also, just because your writing style is unclear, doesn’t mean that I have difficulty understanding the concept you are trying to convey. Your elucidation did make it clearer, however. You’re trying to say that the writer of the article is being disingenuous by using the “hand that feeds” argument, since Hungary provides as much to the rest of the EU, in terms of profits, as it receives from the EU, in terms of market access, financial and political influence and protection, and subsidies. I disagree heartily, and, as proof, I offer the following thought experiment: imagine the situation if Hungary left or were forced out of the EU. Which group would suffer more, the countries that remain in the EU? The EU apparatus itself? The reputation of the EU? Or Hungary?

            Clearly, there are still plenty of countries trying very hard to get into the EU, and getting rid of a country that is moving away from the central tenants of the EU (democracy, free markets, rule of law) would probably do far more to help buttress the reputation of the EU (among free-market democracies) than damage it. If Hungary left, that would show that the EU doesn’t keep countries in against their will. Countries and companies that currently invest in Hungary because it’s in the EU and has relatively lower costs than older EU members would just move their investments to other countries (Romania, Slovakia, Poland, and, in a year or so, Croatia), where they would make just as much profit, but with more stability. As far as the EU bureaucracy, it would probably come out about even, since it might suffer some from the Fidesz propaganda demonizing it as undemocratic, but it would show that it was sticking by the principles of the entire EU, and would only act if the majority of its constituents (national governments, elected MEPs) wanted it to.

            Hungary, on the other hand, would certainly lose far more. Sure, it would be able to default and intentionally weaken its currency to make itself more competitive, but it would lose a lot of investment and business by leaving the EU common market. Furthermore, it would have to operate on a cash basis for the foreseeable future. Also, much of Hungarian debt cannot just be defaulted on, since it is IMF debt, which insists on holding some collateral. That debt would become much more expensive if the currency weakens further, since it’s not denominated in forints. Plus, there’s the likelihood that foreign banks would withdraw from Hungary, taking with them desperately needed capital; Hungarian banks cannot loan enough, even with government help, to stimulate growth. There are also the losses of reputation and trust in the Hungarian government that would ensue. Russia might come to the aid of Hungary, like it did for Belarus, but that aid would definitely also come with strings attached, probably more onerous ones than those of the EU. There would be many more unpleasant side effects for Hungary (e.g. having to leave Schengen), but these are enough to make my point.

            I don’t like the characterization of Hungary as being fed by some hand, but the concept itself is pretty accurate, especially when the request by Hungary for an IMF loan is included in the picture. The IMF didn’t call Hungary up and beg it to take IMF money. The reality of the situation is, at this point in time, Hungary needs the EU far more than the EU needs Hungary. If Hungary were in the eurozone, it would have the leverage that Greece has, but that hasn’t helped Greece so very much, yet.

            The Hungarian governments of the past decade have been inept and avaricious, so now we are in this unpleasant situation. The current government is just continuing its record of malfeasance by attacking the only institutions that are willing to keep Hungary from slipping further into trouble.

          • Szabad Ember

            @Leto

            “Hey, don’t expect “Szabad Ember” he would understand so complex things”

            Here’s proof that I have little difficulty with comprehension: even though you made two egregious grammar mistakes in your little insult post, I have no problem whatsoever understanding what you wrote, as well as the fact that you are childish, incapable of reasoned discourse, and unable to restrain yourself from taking cheap shots, yet complain when others take cheap shots at you. Did I forget to mention that you are a pathological liar and a hypocrite? Of course, that is clear to anyone who has read more than three of your posts.

          • Leto Muad’dib

            @postcommie liar:

            I can see only one mistake, an extra pronoun “he”. What’s the other one?

          • Szabad-Ember

            @Leto

            “Would” should be “to”.

            Also, “so” should be “such” (a completely understandable mistake for a Hungarian speaker, so not egregious).

          • Leto Muad’dib

            Which sentence is correct? Any native English speaker here, please? A or B? Thanks!

            A/ Don’t expect “Szabad Ember” would understand so complex things like “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

            B/ Don’t expect “Szabad Ember” would understand such complex things like “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

          • Szabad-Ember

            @Leto

            That’s a trick question: neither is correct. One doesn’t need to be a native speaker of English to realize it, either.

            This isn’t relevant, though, since I understood your point despite your mangled grammar, and your point was specious. Your grammar is good enough, no need to worry about it.

          • Leto Muad’dib

            @postcommie moron:

            I asked a native English speaker’s opinion. You’re not one.

          • Szabad Ember

            @Leto

            Ohhh, you sound like you are getting mad! Are you going to call me a name again? That would really hurt!

            Like I already said, you don’t need a native speaker to correct your grammar, you just need someone who knows the grammar rules. Besides, it’s been my experience that most native speakers of English don’t speak their language properly, anyway.

          • Szabad Ember

            @Aloof, American in Budapest

            You guys are native speakers; can you please tell Leto how the sentences he wrote further up in this thread are wrong, and how they should be written, so that he can get back to not answering my questions or addressing my points?

          • Enough

            @Szabad Ember

            Before I even consider addressing your points, let us clarify the name of the game you intend to play here.

            You write: “I see you are just another internet troll who would rather attack people personally than engage in honest debate with them.”

            You claim that I attacked you “personally”. Would you care pointing out all the personal attacks you are talking about?

            You called me a “troll”, a “demagogue”, you deemed my ability to write and express myself “poor” and “unclear”, and you believe in general that my intention is to hinder (not to promote) “rational discourse”.

            The first two are both a negative, unproven characterizations of my person in general. The third and fourth are also negative and unproven general characterization of some of my personal capacities (note, this has nothing to do with pointing out of alleged mistakes). As such, these characterizations have nothing to do with the validity of the point(s) I was making, and their only function is personal attack.

            I will sum this up in three questions:
            Which of my comments constitutes a personal attack (a negative, unproven general characterization of your person or one or more of your personal capacities) against you?
            Why do you attack me personally?
            What are you prepared to do about this?

            As I said at the beginning of this comment, I expect to-the-point answer to these questions prior to responding to you in any way or form.

          • justasking

            @Enough,

            “As I said at the beginning of this comment, I expect to-the-point answer to these questions prior to responding to you in any way or form”

            I hope you’re not holding your breath.

          • Enough

            @ justasking

            No, I am not suicidal :)

          • Szabad Ember

            @Enough

            Ah, so the game you’re going to play is to avoid answering any substantive questions by insisting that I first answer your personal questions; a classic troll-demagogue canard! I’ll play along, just to see how far you’re willing to go to avoid true debate.

            You wrote: “Would you care pointing out all the personal attacks you are talking about?”

            I only need to point out one to show that you employ such tactics, but I will include both. When you wrote: “Your first paragraph is completely irrelevant to what I had to say, and as such it does not address any of the points I made”, you were obviously trying to portray me as not understanding what you were writing, even though I clearly did. You employed the same tactic later, when you wrote: “It is understandable that you don’t understand since in your reply you did not address my relevant points.” In my post that immediately followed, I explained how this was an attack, but you chose to ignore that explanation. You also could’ve just explained what you meant by your unclear statement, since I was giving you a chance to persuade me that you were right; only a troll or a demagogue would answer an innocent question like mine in such an insulting, hostile manner. You had my attention and my sympathies, and my mind was open to your arguments, but you chose, instead to attack me.

            You wrote: “Why do you attack me personally?”

            I would not characterize my comments as attacks, since I was just pointing out your actions. I wrote nothing baseless, and I supported my comments with examples. I made those comments because you attacked me, and I believe you should be made aware of how your actions are perceived. The only things that I wrote that were any different in tone or style than what you wrote were the “troll” and “demagogue” comments, and I supported them by explaining why I felt that they were appropriate. If you disagree with my characterization of you, try to change my opinion of you by sticking to the relevant points and not insulting me.

            You wrote: “What are you prepared to do about this?”

            I’m prepared to continue to engage in reasoned discourse without pointing out your personal attacks and failings as soon as you stop attacking me (and refrain from attacking others).

            I expect that you will now engage in an attempt to parse this post while again attacking me personally, rather than address any of the points that I have made that are relevant to the topics being discussed in this thread, since you appear to have no valid answers to them. Hopefully you will prove this expectation wrong.

          • Szabad Ember

            @Justasking

            “I hope you’re not holding your breath.”

            Wow, you’re taking passive-aggression to new heights!

            I remember that you once wrote to me here that you didn’t respect anyone who couldn’t stand up to someone directly, rather than attacking them obliquely (I’m paraphrasing; your comment was, as usual, not very eloquent), yet here you are, doing exactly what you supposedly despise. That makes you a passive-aggressive hypocrite, but that’s not news to me.

            Your refusal to address me directly is welcome, since it makes it clear that you have no answer to any of my rebuttals of your arguments, so, by extension, your baseless, passive-aggressive insults are also welcome. Thanks, and keep up the good work!

          • Enough

            @Szabad Ember

            You consider my sentence “Your first paragraph is completely irrelevant to what I had to say, and as such it does not address any of the points I made” a personal attack, because, according to you I was “obviously trying to portray [you] as not understanding what you were writing.”

            The main clause of the sentence is “Your first paragraph is completely irrelevant to what I had to say”. The subject of the sentence is “first paragraph” (which I identify as “your”, as in, written by you, but it is not “you”), and this subject is characterized by the adjective: (completely) “irrelevant”. However, even this characterization (it is “irrelevant”) of the subject (the “firs paragraph”) is limited to a situation, when it refers to “what I had to say”. In other words, I made a judgment about a paragraph written by you, and not a judgment about you. Even if the judgment would be wrong (which I don’t think is the case), it would be still a wrong judgment about a statement and not about you.

            The subordinate clause of the same sentence is “and as such it does not address any of the points I made”. This does not ad anything to the main clause. It simply states that if the main clause is true, (that your first paragraph is irrelevant to what I had to say), the subordinate clause is also true, i.e., it does not address any of the points I made.

            Where on earth do you see in this sentence any (as in, any) reference to your person? I simply found one of the paragraphs of your statement irrelevant to what I had to say, and that says nothing (as in, nothing) about what kind of person you are in general. Therefore, it cannot be construed as a personal attack.

            Also, you found the sentence “It is understandable that you don’t understand since in your reply you did not address my relevant points” insulting.

            I am not sure what you could construe as “insulting” about this. If my first sentence was correct (which I believe it is), this statement is simply a logical consequence: since you missed my relevant points, it is “understandable” (as in, plausible) that you did not understand my points. This sentence lacks any characterization altogether. It is an explanation. As such, it ‘explains’ one particular action of yours in the light of another, but just as the previous sentence, it is void of any personal characterization either of your person or any of your general personal traits.

            I am at complete loss here, as to how you could construe from this that I leveled multiple personal attacks against your person. And I am even more puzzled about what could have warranted your repeated, general attacks against my person by calling me names (such as stroll, demagogue, or simply a “a classic troll-demagogue canard?

            Without providing a satisfactory answer to these accusations of yours, your reasoning is unjustified.

          • Enough

            @ Szabad Ember

            Ps.: Your statement that I am “obviously trying to portray [you] as not understanding what you were writing” is also puzzling, to say the least. First of all, as I pointed out in my previous comment, I was talking about one paragraph of your comments. Second, I am not sure how you could consider a claim that someone does not understand something a personal attack? Please, explain.

          • justasking

            @Enough,

            “I am at complete loss here,”

            Well, you were warned :D
            ———–

            “No, I am not suicidal”

            Go a couple more posts with him and you will be :D

          • Enough

            @ justasking

            Thanks for the warning :)

          • justasking

            @Enough,

            “Thanks for the warning”

            Hey, if nothing else…it’ll be an experience.

            One that you might regret…buuuut, ‘when you know better, you do better’ as Oprah would say. :D

            God speed my good man!

          • Enough

            @ justasking

            I don’t think Szabad Ember is interested in well-reasoned arguments. He likes to call people names and attack them personally, and then turn on them and accuse them that they have attacked him. I wonder, what could one call such behaviour. :)

          • Szabad Ember

            @Enough

            Ah, so I see that you’ve taken a page from justasking’s book and decided to become passive aggressive. Also, you’ve proven both my point about you being a troll and my prediction that you would parse my statement without addressing the points I made. The latter is further proof that you are a troll, since that is a classic troll-demagogue move.

            You wrote, “it would be still a wrong judgment about a statement and not about you.”

            You’re pretending that you are innocent, but your logic is faulty; what you wrote was an attack on me through a remark about what I wrote. Surely you don’t expect anyone to believe otherwise?

            Of course, all the remarks about not being suicidal, etc. are not the kinds of things that those who are not trolls would write, especially if they really were interested in having a reasonable debate about facts and opinions.

            My earlier refutations of your arguments still stand, if you would like to counter them in any honest way (which I doubt you will).

          • justasking

            @Enough,

            “I don’t think Szabad Ember is interested in well-reasoned arguments’

            No, he just likes to hear himself talk, and talk, and talk and talk.
            ——–

            “He likes to call people names and attack them personally, and then turn on them and accuse them that they have attacked him”

            Only when you don’t agree with him.
            ————

            “I wonder, what could one call such behaviour”

            I’m not even interested enough too guess.

          • Enough

            @ justasking

            You were right about Szabad Ember. But it is still nice when he himself proves the kind of person he is and one does not have to try to prove it to him.

          • Dr Kildare

            Cogito/Enough – Thorazine 50mg X 3/1 x 4/52. Justasking should have some extra pills if you’re out.

          • Enough

            @ Dr Kildare

            “Thorazine 50mg X 3/1 x 4/52.”

            Obviously it did not work for you …

          • Dr Kildare

            @Cogito/Enough – increase dosage to 100mg & stop palinka intake IMMEDIATELY! Review in 2 weeks.

        • Cogito

          @ Szabad Ember

          • Paul

            Your best comment ever.

          • Szabad-Ember

            @Paul

            Good one! :D

            @Cogito

            Finally, a post from you that I cannot argue with or discredit!

        • Enough

          @ Szabad

          I am still waiting for you to show how and when, and by using what words did I attack you, that justified your personal attacks on me.

          Usually you claim to be ‘factual’ and ‘sticking to issues’ in your arguments. Now this is your chance. But you seem to hesitate, wiggle, avoide the issues by intorducing new allegations … nice try. It will not work. You either prove your accusations or everyone can see what you are about.

    • justasking

      I appreaciate your post, the way you explained things.

    • Curious George

      “Adding this to the fact that all of these businesses made very high profits in Hungary in the recent years leads, to the conclusion that Hungary in fact is a good place to get rich if you are not Hungarian. …..the question of who feeds whom is not so clear anymore……”
      Maybe these foreign companies made profits because they offered more value to their Hungarian customers than the local companies. I’m speaking from the point of view of a shareholder of a Hungarian company which was acquired, upgraded, and now provides much more value to the Hungarian customer than at any time in the past.

      While I cannot be 100% sure, I think most service based investors have an interest in ensuring that all the stakeholders (ie shareholders, employees, society, and even govt) benefit from socially responsible operations, since most intend to continue operations for as long as they can. If anyone thinks they are making too much profits, the easiest way to limit this is to open up the market, and impose service efficiency standards on all operators.

      The power-play question between equals doesn’t arise because one party only has wants & usually nothing to give. The IMF, as the lender of last resort, is the custodian of the world’s money (in a manner of speaking). It is the ONLY bank which an irresponsible client can approach and be given a hearing. As such, I would agree that these countries should have access to OUR money only if their irresponsible leaders bend over, promise to be responsible, and agree to have their own balls cut off if they try to screw around after getting the money (for some half-ass reason, the IMF doesn’t institute the last condition as part of their general terms – I’m sure if they did, all leaders will take their responsibility & accountability seriously) No one is forced to go to the IMF, EU or anyone else.

  • Really

    According to Hungarian pundits I have read (left and right) Viktor is using the EU and IMF as red herrings to distract Hungarians from the financial problems in the country. However, most are saying that Viktor over stepped on March 15. I suppose that its possible that he can talk himself out of a job. I can’t imagine that he has much good will left in the EU or IMF and I assume there are ways for the rest of the EU to turn on him and create circumstances in which Viktor could not run the country. Whatever Viktor’s game is he is isolating Hungary and it will be up to him to reverse the process which I am assuming would be galling to him personally.

    • Cogito

      Really ?

      • Paul

        @Cogito

        Yep really…walking nightmare of his family.

  • Objective Viewpoint

    Is the European Parliament initiating economic sanctions against the UK because it veto’d one of its major fiscal reforms recently? Do the Germany and France chastise themselves for breaking the Maastrict criteria? Of course not! Unfortunately size matters. Even the Austrians (always happy to put Hungary down) dont think that Hungary is being treated fairly. Can anybody explain to me though, why the IMF is hiding behind the EUs skirts? Isnt is supposed to be a purely financial (non political)institution (except of course when it represents the interests of the USA)!?

    • Szabad Ember

      @Viewpoint

      I wouldn’t call your viewpoint objective at all; just because you use that handle doesn’t mean that it applies to you.

      You have a point about Germany and France not fining themselves for breaking the Maastricht rules, but you forget that they provide the bulk of the funding for the EU.

      If “size matters”, how do you explain the fact that the UK, which has about the same population as France, is being treated roughly?

      Just because Austria is not completely happy with Hungary’s treatment, that doesn’t mean that Hungary is being treated unfairly. Most countries in the EU feel that Hungary is getting what it deserves, based on the Hungarian government’s rhetoric and actions to this point, or the European Council would not allow it to happen. Austria is suddenly on Hungary’s side because it has large banking and other financial interests in Hungary, and is protecting them.

      The IMF is not “hiding behind the EUs skirts”, it is prudently listening to the EU’s advice on when Hungary will be ready to receive a loan. The EU has determined that Hungary’s government is not acting responsibly, and so it feels that the IMF would be loaning its money unwisely at this time. If you disagree, that means that you believe Orbán over virtually all responsible and unbiased experts in this field. As the past two years have shown, Orbán’s strong suit is not economics, nor is it international finance. The IMF also doesn’t just represent the interests of the USA, it represents the interests of its other dues-paying members, such as Russia, China, and Saudi Arabia. If anything, it unduly represents the interests of the EU, since managing directors have always come from countries currently in the EU. If the USA were in control, would Russia and China really be willing to continue giving large amounts of money to the IMF?

      There is valid criticism of the IMF, and I’m not completely happy with it, but the Hungarian government can just go and borrow money from someone else, right?

      • Leto Muad’dib

        “Germany and France not fining themselves for breaking the Maastricht rules, but you forget that they provide the bulk of the funding for the EU.”

        Oh, there must be a special Maastricht rule that those providing the bulk of the funding for EU are exempt from the rules.

        • Szabad Ember

          @Leto

          No, but the ones who front up the money get extra consideration in most cases. For instance, the oligarchs who fund Fidesz get their say before the common person who voted for Fidesz. For proof, check out the constitution and the flat tax.

          I’m not saying this fair or right, but this is how things work in most places. Also, France and Germany didn’t actually flout the law any more than other countries did. No country had to pay a fine for breaking the Stability and Growth Pact rules, since the EU kept finding reasons not to impose them (probably because they were counterproductive). Finally, they just changed the law to reflect the fact that imposing fines just makes things worse. This is probably too nuanced for you, since you prefer to see everything in black and white (black being what everyone besides Fidesz thinks or does, white being whatever Fidesz thinks or does).

  • olga

    @ Szabad Ember

    Once again something doesn’t add up – When Germany felt Hungary was unfairly treated, you came up with some ulterior motive and Ditto for Austria.

    Have you actually considered they may have a point without an agenda or made up your mind that anyone defending Orban is ain’t no friend of mine ( I know the feeling because that’s how I feel about JOBBIK; mind wide shut)

    School bullying is a “big ticket item” in our city and my husband is indirectly involved with the issues and possible solutions.

    Bullies are the main problem but so are the kids who standby and say nothing – a few kids will
    will not tolerate unfairness and speak up.

    It seems that “a few kids” have spoken up on Hungary’s behalf because Orban refuses to “shut the f..up” and be grateful to the EU despite the fact (a) he is indebted to the IMF and need their support and (b) in the big scheme of things he is not the PM of of one the powerful countries who are members of the EU yet he makes waves

    About foreign investments: The little I know about business, I cannot imagine any foreign country investing in Hungary for ultruistic reasons because they love the csardas , barack palinka and the architecture and the people

    One of our friends who works for a company that literally has billions to invest on behalf of large Canadian corporate clients in Asia and in the Middle East gave me a crash course at my request on foreign investment;I didn’t even pretend I understood the details but I got the Executive Summary:

    Companies don’t give a shit about the countries they invest in or its people, they are not social workers nor philanthropists. Money is name of the game

    They invest where it’s safe politically,( i guess Syria is not one of his choices) can make the largest profits and pay the least amount Canadian taxes because it seems Canadian tax implications can vary according to the countries where the investments are.

  • Szabad-Ember

    @Olga

    “When Germany felt Hungary was unfairly treated, you came up with some ulterior motive and Ditto for Austria”

    First of all, when did “Germany” feel that Hungary was unfairly treated? One German politician said something along that line, but Merkel, the Prime Minister, has said nothing to that effect, and the German government has gone along with all the actions initiated against Hungary by the EU. Second, I have been very consistent in my assertions that the EU is not always fair, and hasn’t necessarily been entirely fair with Hungary, but there is a very solid case to withhold structural funds from Hungary because it has refused to fulfill the requirements of receiving them. Yes, the budget deficit is not as far above the agreed amount as that of some other countries, but that is not the only factor that the EU has taken into consideration. The Hungarian government, including its prime minister, has repeatedly defied the EU, both in actions and in rhetoric, and if the EU does nothing, it invites such defiance from other countries. Orbán would be even harsher, if he were in the EU’s shoes, and has done much harsher things to Hungarians who defied him (such as firing those on the committee that recommended not changing Ferihegy Airport to Liszt Ferenc Airport).

    I find it telling that you equate the totally reasonable requests of the EU to bullying. If you were a businessperson, you would know that if a company with which you have contracted has openly broken the terms of the contract, just because you sue that company to force them to conform their behavior to the contract doesn’t mean that you are bullying said company. Hungary is getting off lightly, in my opinion. If the government shows that it plans to bring down the deficit (which doesn’t mean that it actually has to bring down the deficit), the suspension of funds will not happen next year. In other words, this has been a symbolic exercise, because Fidesz (along with plenty of other governments, such as Greece and the U.S.) makes political promises it doesn’t intend to keep all the time.

    There are and have been other EU countries whose governments have “made waves”, but they stuck to democratic principles and generally followed the rules of being part of the EU. Orbán has not. You make it sound like he is just doing what’s best for Hungary, and inadvertently causing the EU to look bad. That’s not the case, not by a long shot, and anyone who says it is, basically is contradicting the vast majority of unbiased experts in the fields of democratic studies and constitutional law. If Germany or France were doing the same, there would be much less likelihood that they would get sanctioned for it, and that’s a shame, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that Orbán is getting exactly what he’s asking for.

    I am not biased against Fidesz at all; if they were to stop attacking democracy and concentrating all political power in their own hands, along with putting an end to all their corruption and dirty political tricks, I would give them kudos and hope that they stop being so incompetent in running the economy. Many people thought that they would institute positive reforms that would finally put Hungary on the right track, but, as all the economic indices show, the exact opposite has happened. I never thought a party would take power in Hungary and make MSZP look good by comparison, but strange things have become normal, lately.

    Your point about companies investing where they feel safe to make money, and not because they like or dislike the country or its politics, was the point I was trying to make; sorry if I didn’t make it clearly enough.

  • Aloof

    Szabad Ember says: March 30, 2012 at 6:48 pm
    @Aloof, American in Budapest

    Well considering that a lot of today’s American “native” english speakers would habe butchered it worse than Leto, “to” and “such” of course would have been more correct to use by far. So I have to agree in this case that you are more correct than Leto is. How’s that for Texas two steppin’ Leto? It’s not what you say but how you say it right? Ahhh… he won’t learn anything from it anyway. He’s already back to the form we should all just be ignoring. I thought there was a glimmer of a chance that he could actually conduct himself in a civil manner but ANY slight at OV sends him foaming at the mouth again. It’s not as if OV doesn’t supply all of us with enough ammunition to DAILY comment what a disaster Hungary is headed for. I think that Leto is actually in love with OV. I’ve never seen such blind obsession unless you’re either paid for it or pay for it. In his case it’s probably both.

    • Leto Muad’dib

      Your judgement on the grammar of that sentence doesn’t seem to be free of political and personal bias, to put it mildly.
      So I’d love to hear from other native English speakers on this issue. Anyone else? A or B?

      • Leto Muad’dib

        Okay, my apologies and I rest my case.

        Since Google doesn’t give any hits for the phrase “don’t expect he would understand so” and there are seven hits for “don’t expect him to understand such” it seems SZE is right. I’ll try to dig up (for myself) what the grammar explanation is.

  • Aloof

    We don’t know what you think because you don’t think. You react with shallow OV pavlov dog responses. You’re incapable to think for yourself. OV dictates everything you do think which says it all about you.

    • Leto Muad’dib

      I suppose it’s me whom you’re trying to be nice to, you Yank moron. Yeah, you’re right, OV personally dictates everything I think indeed. Hmmm, shall I pop out to the loo now or not? Let me ask him first… ;)

  • olga

    @ Aloof (also to Szabad Ember)

    About Leto and his being in love with Orban – I don’t know but Orban could be leaving his wife for him any day now, or Leto could be his brother or might be making his living writing pro-Orban postings on this website but that’s still totally irrelevant.

    Orban won the election by a landslide and I have no doubt he can thank Gyurcsany and Co for that overwhelming majority, moreover he can continue to be grateful to them because like an ugly bad rash they won’t go away preventing a new viable opposition to emerge.

    Leto has every right to defend the PM and unless he is an idiot which I certainly don’t think he is, he knows exactly what Orban’s liabilities are and where he made mistakes, but this website is hardly the venue to admit it for someone who is a FIDESZ supporter.

    When I was involved with the Liberals we only criticized the PM and his policies amongst ourselves and our philosophy was that “we have to circle the wagons”, show a united front and not give ammunition to the opposition. Not exactly my definition of a sneaky underhanded tactic and thankfully we never had to deal with a Gyurcsany but I am sure the Liberals would not have stood for having such a liability continue to speak on behalf of the party

    It would also stand to reason that if all this majority and power went to Orban’s head, there would be nothing more productive than have him fear a strong opposition forcing him to watch his steps or lose the next election; so far that ain’t happening.

    I read enough articles in English to know that Orban gets plenty of criticism but he is also often defended so it’s not all one sided (I don’t give links because they get held up in cyberspace but read “The National Review Online” by Marion Smith dated march 5, 2012. )

    BTW, a couple of years ago there were a number of JOBBIK supporters who were not just racists they were deranged (Double is racist, these people were certifiable nut jobs ) While I am not into conspiracy theories, it was strange that just as one lunatic disappeared , another one took over and I started thinking that JOBBIK may have assigned people to post on this website because it was all the same insanity but different writing styles. I also read that JOBBIK was well organized Internet wise so that led some support to my suspicion.

    Whatever the Media Law did wrong, it thankfully put an end to these postings so at least I can support one clause of the new legislation because the rest I don’t understand without actually comparing how other EU countries’ laws differ and how many clauses are considered to be problems and why.

    I do know that Americans think Canadians are muzzled because we consider some examples of “American free speech” as simply legalized hate speech and frankly, I am happy to be muzzled, so again things are not always black and white and I could name several American laws that are diametrically opposed to democracy but then again, we are not discussing US politics nor am I speaking on behalf of all Canadians – just the sane ones :))

    BTW, Orban has the most awful taste in ties not to mention he is a Z*onist plant on the Soros payroll. The tie is my own opinion, the rest I once read on the Internet. Honestly. I am sure I could find it again if you don’t believe me

    • Leto Muad’dib

      @olga:

      Okay, I think I can afford admitting at least that Orbán has an horrible taste in ties (or dressing up in general) indeed. In his defense, I myself also hate wearing business suites like him. :)
      The Z*onist plant story originates from this: “In 1991 Orbán received a scholarship from the Soros Foundation and spent six months in Oxford, where he studied at Pembroke College.” -http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Viktor_Orb%C3%A1n

    • Szabad Ember

      @Olga

      I am not convinced that the Canadian hate speech laws are a good thing, since it really just drives the hatred underground, where it can fester and grow, but I don’t think that such laws are anti-democratic, and they do make me feel better.

      I do know that most (not all) of the laws that are contested as being undemocratic are seen as being such because they hand too much power to the government, which precludes the ability of a strong opposition to grow. They are also very similar to laws put in place by those regimes that are widely accepted as being autocratic or at least hostile to democracy, such as Russia, Venezuela, and China. Some are uniquely Hungarian, such as the 9-year terms for political appointees. Why does Orbán think that such positions require such long terms? He has even admitted that Fidesz policies should be put in stone for twenty years. How is that democratic? What if the majority of people want those laws to be changed? What about the cardinal laws? He is so sure that he is right, that he doesn’t trust the people of Hungary enough to express their will, which is essentially the definition of democracy. If anyone can explain these things to me in a convincing way, I would love to hear it.

      When you only criticize your own leaders among yourselves, you are just perpetuating the problem, and destroying the trust of anyone who is not in your party. Constructive criticism is healthy, and shows that you are not so biased that you wouldn’t dump your leaders if they started screwing up. Orbán is still the absolute leader of his party even after losing two elections. That’s what you end up with if you toe the party line all the time.

      You’re right, Leto has every right to defend Fidesz, as long as he doesn’t lie or distort the facts or attack people in the process. If you don’t see how obnoxious his constant name-calling is, you might very well be beyond reason. The guy keeps calling everybody he doesn’t like a ‘post-commie’ (whatever that is, he never really explains himself), without once backing up his accusation with evidence of ‘post-commie’ statements. I’ve exposed so many of his lies I have no way to keep count, but you still keep defending him. It really makes me wonder what’s wrong with you, especially since you keep writing things that make me think your real sympathies lie with those who hate what Orbán is doing to our country.

      You go on about how horrible MSZP and Gyurcsány are, yet you don’t have a single word to say about how Fidesz is just as corrupt, and has actually done more damage to Hungary than MSZP has. Sure, the economy tanked under MSZP, and they were inept and avaricious, but they didn’t attack democracy directly, they just discredited it to the point that Fidesz was given a huge opening. Plus, the economic problems were mostly a mirror of what was happening in most parts of the world (and almost all parts of the region), whereas Fidesz is causing Hungary to suffer negative growth while almost all of the countries in the region are experiencing positive growth.

      How can you see all of this and continue to defend people like Orbán and Leto, who are the ones bringing Hungary down? Say what you will about Gyurcsány, but at least he sounded like he wanted the lying to stop; Orbán seems to revel in the lying (and don’t for a minute think that Fidesz wasn’t lying in 2006, too; they just made sure nobody made any recordings of their private conversations). I know you’re better than this.

      • Leto Muad’dib

        @postcommie liar:

        I surely don’t call everybody I don’t like a “post-commie”.

        “whatever that is, he never really explains himself”

        I have explained that several times. It’s someone who pushes the trolley of MSZP/SZDSZ remnants/Gyurcsány and keeps spewing insane anti-Fidesz/Orbán propaganda under the pretext of “defending democracy and whatever”. You just fit the bill perfectly.

        • Szabad-Ember

          @Leto

          Why don’t you give a definition that has some substance; give some examples of “MSZP/SZDSZ remnants”, and explain how your inclusion of Gyurcsány’s name in that weird hybrid term of yours makes any sense?

          Also, why don’t you ever show how I “spew” propaganda, insane or not? I only ever write something if I can back it up with examples, logic, or the work of experts (or all three).

          Oh, I can answer my own questions, nevermind; you are incapable of doing anything except lying to promote Fidesz propaganda.

  • Szabad Ember

    Off topic: I miss Farkas László; whatever happened to him?

  • olga

    @ Szabad Ember

    I think we are going around in circles so let me just say that Canadians do not confuse “free speech” with a license to spew hatred against minorities. While I will continue to think of the US as Canada’s best friend and ally, I will always believe that our laws and our democracy is far superior to our neighbours’ South of the border.

    I think we found a common ground – we both miss Farkas Laszlo. I hope he just took a break and will return because he was such a class act. I don’t think I ever disagreed with anything he wrote, probably because I never had enough background knowledge to disagree with him. Kind of like my listening to the Greek economists I mentioned who were screaming at each other on TV having diametrically opposing opinions on solving the Greek financial crisis. Both solutions sounded good to me. Farkas Laszlo was such a gentleman, polite and respectful of other people’s opinions, that due to my lack of knowledge on Hungarian matters , I simply believed just about everything he wrote.

    Correct me if I am wrong because I am not positive but I recall Farkas Laszlo being of the opinion that “let’s wait and see and give Orban a chance until the next election”

    I did spend 10 minutes trying to back up my claim – I put “farkas Laszlo Orban Fidesz” on an advanced google search and restricted it to this website. I got way too many hits, thus I was not willing to spend the time nor did I have the patience to find what I was looking for.

    This is the closest posting I could find but it’s not what I was looking for but I don’t think FL was much of a Gyurcsany fan.

    Topic: Hungary became single-party system, Gyurcsány says in interview

    Farkas László says:
    September 12, 2011 at 9:49 pm
    Investigation for past corruption by former officials is a ncessary part of reform in Hungary. It serves notice to all, especially to those currently in govt, as the day will come eventually when it could well be their turn. Maintaining a pattern of such prosecutions is necessary, as you have to deal with this problem systemically. It doesn’t do to just go after one or two men.
    Is this why the former PM showed such an immediate interest in again becoming PM right after leaving office? Was it hoping to forrestal such prosecution? Was he crossing his fingers hoping that Orbán would give the 4 years “grace”; that he would remain a free man until the next election? I suspect that a “little bird” told him this was coming; he could hardly have been taken by complete surprise when the papers were served.
    Once a leader gets too “dirty”, he HAS to stay in power or flee the country. To step down voluntarily, as a democratic system requires in the wake of an election, exposes those who have the most to worry about. A plane (one way!) to Costa Rica would have served Gyurcsány well! Now it looks like “that flight has departed” where he is concerned.
    Speaking of “systems” and elections, now is a good time to point out what distinguishes the present “system” from the “other system”. Whether we approve of the decisions of the voters or not, the important thing is that they ARE voters and will be able to vote both man and party out of office when the time comes. The other “one party system” that Hungarians remember all to well, didn’t allow such niceties.
    __________________________________________________

    About the name calling – Leto is in good company because there are a lot of bad tempered males around here who simply go nuts on a regular basis and seem to enjoy the sport.

    While I would love to feel superior and look down on such ridiculously childish behaviour, I recall a few postings of mine , and ” people in glass houses” etc, so sadly I forfeited my right to show proper outrage plus I don’t even have the bad temper excuse.

    • Szabad-Ember

      @Olga

      I agree with you that there are plenty of name-callers around here, but Leto goes beyond that to include vicious attacks on anyone who so much as disagrees with him. If he did it occasionally, I could let it go, but he seems to have made a career out of it (yes, I’m insinuating that he gets paid for it, and there is plenty of evidence that such people do indeed exist). I have never seen you do anything to forfeit your right to show proper outrage, since most of what you write is, at worst, gently sarcastic. Everyone except Farkas László calls people names here, but not anywhere near the frequency of Leto. Even Double can’t come close to competing, probably because he doesn’t get internet access often enough.

      You don’t have to be a Gyurcsány fan to be alarmed at the moves made by Fidesz; I wish Gyurcsány would either go away or somehow make amends for all the things that he allowed to happen all those years (if that’s even possible), but he still looks like a jaywalker compared to the democracy-assaulter who is Orbán. In other words, despite what Leto says, just because I hate what Fidesz is doing to democracy does not mean that I am an MSZP supporter, or even a left-winger. I most admire competent, right-of-center governments like those of Donald Tusk and Iveta Radicova, not loony left-wingers like Fico and Gordon Brown.

      As such, I disagreed with Farkas László quite often, but I did so respectfully. For instance, his opinion about giving Fidesz the benefit of the doubt is just what Fidesz hopes for, since it will give them time to destroy democracy; however, it is a reasoned opinion from a reasonable person, so I have to commend him on it, while disagreeing with him. I hope that he’s right, not me, but I doubt it.

  • Cliff

    As a native speaker of English I would suggest the following is correct:

    A/ Don’t expect “Szabad Ember” would understand so complex things like “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

    A/ Do not expect “Szabad Ember” to understand such complex things as “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

    Don’t is fine but I consider this lazy English. Also, but nit picking, the sentance “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”
    is not a “thing”
    Perhaps a better sentance may have been:

    A/ Do not expect “Szabad Ember” to understand such a complex sentance as “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other.”

    Just my forints worth

    • Cliff

      Doh! The correct spelling is sentence!

      • Szabad-Ember

        @Cliff

        So are you saying that both quoted sentences you listed are correct, or just the second one (I’m obviously not counting the third one, which was your own construction)? Leto seems to think that the first one was, and I can see why he came to that conclusion, but it’s obviously not correct.

        Also, “nit picking” is not correct; according to Wiktionary, it’s supposed to be “nit-picking” or “nitpicking”. I guess this is a good example of that term.

    • Leto Muad’dib

      @Cliff:

      Vow! Thanks a lot indeed. :)
      So it seems my sentence was actually correct. Though I generally love being right, I especially enjoy being right, even in such a nit-picking issue, against a postcommie a**hole like SZE. :D

      • justasking

        @Leto,

        Go ahead…do the happy dance…get it out of your system :D

      • Szabad-Ember

        @Leto

        I checked with actual native speakers, and Cliff is wrong, the sentence “Don’t expect “Szabad Ember” would understand so complex things like “there is no one hand feeding the other, there is mutual feeding on each other” is not correct. You should trust Google before trusting some guy who says he knows what he is talking about. You cannot say “Don’t expect X would understand…”, you have to say “Don’t expect that X would understand…”, or “Don’t expect X to understand…”

        If you want to be right about this to protect your fragile ego, disregard the fact that you couldn’t find your sentence anywhere on the entire internet… maybe you just came up with a new grammar rule!

        Also, as usual, calling me offensive names doesn’t really help your image.

  • DoubleH63

    @Szabad Ember

    “Even Double can’t come close to competing, probably because he doesn’t get internet access often enough.”

    Dik mán vazze! De jóó eltalántad gádzsó. De, kezsit-lábát csókulom naccsád, nem az ean hibám. Ean csak egy szegíny kátrányos hejzetü vagyok neegy elemivel (iagaz etartot nyóc évig aztat esh megcsinányi). Sajnos a segíjbő nem futtya. De a bunko gádzsó madzsarok nem adnak eleget hogy a rák egye ki a belit mindnek.

    [Btw I ain’t no native English speaker (as you can see – unlike you) but if it makes you feel better I agreed with you about that fucking sentence, but when I was writing a post to Leto about his happy dance, I noticed that he apologized, case closed.]

  • DoubleH63

    @Szabad Ember

    ”incapable of doing anything except lying to promote [...] propaganda”

    Like you?

    Reminder: “for every jerk who kills Roma in the name of Jobbik”

  • DoubleH63

    @Szabad Ember

    “Off topic: I miss Farkas László; whatever happened to him?”

    I think it was the doing of the ‘Fascist’ FIDESZ or the ‘Nazi’ JOBBIK. :)

  • olga

    @ Leto M

    re: “Oh, there must be a special Maastricht rule that those providing the bulk of the funding for EU are exempt from the rules.”

    You were being sarcastic but I don’t think it warrants it because it’s probably true

    Maybe I tend to side with Orban when it comes to his defiance of the EU because I tend to support a David against a Goliath and I don’t like bullies.

    I was watching CNN Fareed Zakaria’s show the other day re Norway vs. China and copied part of an article from the CNN presentation ( I cut out many paragraphs and the following info is the salient portion of the “bully aspect”)

    ” Fareed Zakaria, CNN
    In the playground of foreign affairs, you would think that size matters. The biggest bully always wins. This is often true, but I found it interesting to track the story of one relationship where size and clout simply didn’t matter.

    The big country in question is China. But I’m going to keep the little country a secret for now. Because first, look at how China typically dominates smaller countries.
    But as I said at the start – size doesn’t always matter. Because it looks like China’s met its match in a tiny little country to the West. It has a population of just five million, about a fourth that of Shanghai.
    You may remember how in 2010, an independent Norwegian panel considered giving the Nobel Peace prize to a Chinese dissident. Despite intense pressure from Beijing, it wanted to make a decision it thought was right. But Liu Xiaobo wasn’t allowed to go to Oslo to receive his award, so the committee went ahead and presented the prize to an empty chair.
    Beijing of course, wasn’t pleased. So it decided to make Oslo pay. It pressured its friends to abandon the event. The likes of Russia, Iraq, and Cuba didn’t attend.
    But Norway didn’t flinch. So Beijing suspended talks on a free-trade agreement and barred imports of salmon from Norway. The two countries stopped talking.
    But this is perhaps where Beijing overstepped its reach. China’s economy may be 15 times the size of Norway’s, but it accounts for less than 2% of Norway’s exports. The two are about 4,000 miles apart. So consider the irony now. China wanted to bully Norway to do its bidding. Now, when China wants to join the Arctic Council, a powerful forum, which controls energy and security around the North pole, it needs all eight of the Council’s members to vote “yes”. China really wants this membership, so it can chart shorter routes to Europe and discover new energy sources.

    But guess who could vote “no”? Yup, Norway.
    We always hear the narrative of how China’s global clout is increasing. But it has its limits. And the more aggressive and bullying Beijing gets, the more it will discover that being the biggest bully on the playground isn’t the only thing that matters.”

    I love happy endings and while I know the story has nothing to do with the EU and Orban, it has to do with bullying and that was my point when I used the term with Sz. Ember and why I thought some countries’ politicians from Germany and Austria thought Hungary was unfairly picked on by the EU

More content from Hungary's leading foreign-language media network
About Politics.hu | Become an All Hungary Member | Newsletters | Contact Us | Advertise With Us
All content © 2004-2013 The All Hungary Media Group. Articles, comments and other information on the All Hungary Media Group's network of sites are provided "as is" without guarantees, warranties, or representations of any kind, and the opinions and views expressed in such articles and columns are not necessarily those of the All Hungary Media Group.