Brussels has just published its latest plans, and it’s a “collection of horror stories for the Hungarian people.” In his regular Friday morning radio interview Prime Minister Orbán touched on a number of topics, including Brussels’ intention to take away from member states their authority to protect the border, the global conflict between globalists and nationalists and the main driving force behind Hungarian foreign policy.
According to Prime Minister Orbán, the story of Hungary’s survival teaches a lesson to today’s Europe: we should protect our identity, our culture or else “we will fall victim to a creeping pan-European cultural surrender.”
“The security of Hungary is directly related to the stability of Turkey,” Prime Minister Orbán said during a joint press conference after his talks on Tuesday with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Later, he reiterated Turkey’s indispensable role in stopping the flood of illegal migrants and spoke about economic ties between Hungary and Turkey.
Hungary-Ukraine relations have seen better days and Ukraine’s recent decision to expel a Hungarian consul is merely the latest in an unfortunate downward trend. There is, however, one fundamental point that is often overlooked and ignored in the media crossfire.
Labeled the black sheep of Europe a few years ago, with an economy that required IMF emergency bailout, Hungary’s economic success story continues to yield record-breaking numbers. Here’s a brief rundown of some of the latest
The government of Hungary is planning to establish independent, administrative courts that would have the authority to adjudicate disputes in matters of public administration. While independent administrative courts are common to many EU countries, the move to create these courts in Hungary has raised some of the usual questions about judicial reform and independence. This brief Q&A offers some answers.
Last week at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the European Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship Dimitris Avramopoulos, an unelected public servant who is charged with representing our common EU standpoint, presented his own views as if they were the common, European policy. That’s a problem. “This man is our employee,” said Prime Minister Orbán. “It is his duty to represent us.”
PM Orbán has been saying it for years. Europe must make border security the top priority, before any discussion of quotas or anything of the kind. Now, as we heard in Salzburg this week, some are finally coming around to the stark reality that protecting Europe’s border is serious business. That’s generally a step in the right direction, but some of the proposals out there take things off track.
“It is in Hungary’s national interest that cooperation between the two parts of Europe are as good as possible,” PM Orbán said following his meeting with President Putin, adding that Hungary-Russia connections play a special role in this relation. During his joint press conference with the Russian president, the prime minister talked about the expansion of the Paks nuclear plant, future natural gas shipments, economic relations between the two countries and the protection of the persecuted of Christians.
“We will not let anyone take away even a tiny bit of our right to border protection,” PM Orbán said in his address to the opening session of Parliament, adding that Hungary as a country is neither a transit zone, nor a holding camp. He also confirmed that the government will take legal steps against the EP’s decision last week to adopt the Sargentini Report.
“Angela Merkel has said that the plan is that part of the border control should be handed over from frontier states to Brussels,” said Prime Minister Orbán this morning, “which means that “they want to take away from us the keys to the gate.”
News from today’s vote in the European Parliament report that the Sargentini Report proposing an Article 7 procedure against Hungary has passed with the necessary “two-thirds majority.” Passage, however, relied on voting fraud, a violation of clear voting procedures, and the Hungarian government is currently evaluating possible avenues for legal remedy, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said during this afternoon’s press conference in Budapest.
PM Orbán: The Sargentini Report condemns Hungarians because they have decided we will not become an immigrant country
“Hungary will not yield to blackmail,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in today’s European Parliament debate on the Sargentini Report. “It is going to halt illegal migration and defend its rights - even against you, if need be.”
Today in Strasbourg, the European Parliament convenes in plenary to debate something called the Sargentini Report on issues in Hungary. If you’re wondering what all the fuss is about, here’s a short roundup of a few things you should know.
As I wrote in Part 1, the European Parliament will convene in plenary next Tuesday to debate a resolution to trigger an Article 7 procedure against Hungary for alleged violations of the rule of law. Following the debate, it could be put to a vote on Wednesday. According to sources in the EP, liberals and leftists have become so desperate to push through the Sargentini Report that they would resort to an underhanded voting trick.
The European Parliament convenes in plenary next week to consider a resolution to impose sanctions on Hungary for alleged violations of the rule of law. The motion would trigger the Article 7 procedure, the so-called “nuclear option,” against a member state. That’s serious stuff.
As the European Parliament prepares to debate next week a report on the state of rule of law in Hungary, a new charge against the Hungarian government has delivered a noisy and convenient distraction from the underwhelming substance of the so-called Sargentini report.
It is Matteo Salvini’s mission to prove that migration can be stopped not only on land but also at sea, said Prime Minister Orbán, adding that even though Hungary has already shown the world that immigrants can be stopped at the border, Brussels’ migration policy still focuses on “managing” the crisis instead of putting an end to the influx of intruders.
Following the work of the last eight years, the people have given the government a mandate to lead Hungary into a new age, Prime Minister Orbán said in Tusnádfürdő this morning, calling for the rebuilding of the whole region of Central Europe.
With the NATO summit taking place today and tomorrow in Brussels, it’s a good time to review what’s going on today in Ukraine and the very clear reasons why Hungary is saying no to Ukraine’s further NATO integration. This has been going on for several months now, but unfortunately – apart from minor changes in policy and tone – we haven’t seen any meaningful progress.
Late last week, US Ambassador David Cornstein presented his credentials to President János Áder in Budapest. We’re delighted to have a new ambassador from the US, and Mr. Cornstein’s arrival comes at a time when relations between Hungary and the US seem to be entering a new era.
The latest LIBE report is, in fact, nothing other than yet another Soros report, said Prime Minister Orbán earlier this week, and it’s aimed at applying pressure on Hungary to make the country change its position on migration.
Last Friday, the Venice Commission published its opinion on Hungary’s recently adopted Stop Soros legislative package. Regretfully, instead of acting in its capacity as an expert legal advisory body, the Commission seems to be more comfortable repeating political opinions.
The third annual Jewish Art Days Festival invigorated Budapest’s already lively cultural scene between May 28 and June 10. Filling more than 20 venues with dozens of programs across the capital, the festival is becoming an early-summer tradition in the city and yet another sign that Hungary’s Jewish community is seeing a renaissance of their culture.
In his regular Friday morning interview on Hungary’s public radio, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán talked about the Stop Soros package, migration, a “disturbance in the force” within the EU, and the Visegrád Group. “We have never been stronger than we are now,” he said, referring to yesterday’s Visegrád Four plus Austria summit.
Hungary’s new budget serves stability and security, while the upcoming EU budget would regroup funds from poorer states to richer ones
According to PM Orbán, the draft budget for 2019 is “massive and earthquake-resistant” and “in line with the goals of the Hungarian nation.” However, the draft of the 2021-2027 EU budget seeks to reward economic policies that failed to observe financial discipline.
On April 8th, Hungarian voters made it clear that they don’t want to see Hungary become an immigrant country and they reject the idea of being told who may be given the right to live in their own country. Responding to that mandate, the will of the people, the Hungarian government has recently submitted a proposed amendment to Hungary’s Fundamental Law. Here’s a look at the details.
PM Orbán: If Europe can’t tolerate dissenting views on economics and immigration, just wait and see what the next European elections will bring
‘In today’s Europe, one needs Chancellor Kohl’s temper and bravery,’ said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in a speech delivered on Saturday, the anniversary of the passing of the former chancellor and father of German reunification
While the outcome of recent elections and sources of political instability in Europe figured prominently in Prime Minister Orbán’s interview this morning on Kossuth Radio, he also warned about the coming “high tide” of migration and touched on Hungary’s budget for next year as well as the planned amendment to the Fundamental Law
When Steve Bannon spoke at the Future of Europe conference in Budapest recently he mentioned that he had just been interviewed by the BBC and that at the end of what was a lengthy conversation, the reporter had to get in one last question. Her last question was about Hungary and Viktor Orbán, and she was so unnerved, said Bannon, that “her head blew up.”
A stronger, more rigorous Stop Soros bill is now in front of the Parliament: here’s a look at the details
On election day nearly two months ago, the voters of Hungary sent a clear message. They made it clear that they don’t want Hungary to become an immigrant country and that the country’s security comes first. To serve the will of the people and meet this obligation, the Orbán Government has put forth the Stop Soros legislative package. What’s in the new package? Let’s take a look at the details.
PM Orbán: Christian democracy defends us from migration, it helps protect our borders and support families
“We can’t carry out the work of the next four years without inserting it into a long-term plan,” said Prime Minister Orbán this morning in his regular interview with Hungary’s public Kossuth Radio. The PM shared specific plans, touched upon the emptiness of liberal democracy, talked about an upcoming national consultation and explained how the Stop Soros package will bolster Hungary’s security.
Ukraine did the right thing when it recently withdrew a bill that would strip dual citizens of their Ukrainian citizenship. However, as Foreign Minister Szijjártó said last week, this is only “the first step” if the country is serious about its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.
“Back in 1990," said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán yesterday during a parliamentary session following the official swearing in of his fourth government, “Europe was our future, but now we’re Europe’s future.” In his address, the prime minister talked about his new government’s priorities and stressed the importance of border protection.
If you haven’t been to Budapest lately, you should do yourself a favor and visit. One of Europe’s great capitals is going to get even better in the coming years, and this week, Hungary embarks on its first-ever tourist campaign to promote Budapest as one of Europe’s best destinations.
PM Orbán in inaugural address: ‘Rather than fix a liberal democracy that has run aground, we will build a 21st Century Christian democracy’
“Hungary is ready to take on a big challenge” as “the stars above Hungary shine brighter than ever,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in his inaugural address this afternoon, a speech that touched on the future of Hungary and the European Union and taking on the impossible.
The unveiling of the statue of Karl Marx is clearly a salute to the Communist idea and practice. It’s a message of global political significance. If the leaders of the EU do not understand this, it’s a big problem. But if they do understand it, then the problem is even greater because in that case the conflict between us is insurmountable.
According to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó, the recent decision on family supplements by the Austrian Government is unfair and unjust to the people of Hungary. PM Orbán’s government will do whatever it takes to protect the interests of Hungarians abroad.
Speaking at last Thursday’s session of the European Parliament’s LIBE committee, Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó reiterated Hungary’s strong opposition to any pro-migration plan. The draft report – which would call for the nuclear option of an Article 7 procedure to be launched against Hungary – is “a collection of compounded lies” and takes a stance far removed from facts and reality, he said.
“Keep calm,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his interview on Kossuth Rádió this morning, referring to discussions over the EU’s next multi-year budget. The debate will be long and drawn out, but ultimately it has to have unanimous support, and “as long as Hungarians do not say okay, there won’t be any budget.”
Here’s what you should know about the people behind that recent letter asking Chancellor Merkel to condemn PM Orbán
In the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s – albeit perhaps a bit less youthful – a group of “academics, writers and activists” recently called on German Chancellor Angela Merkel to condemn Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and have his party “expelled” from the EPP party alliance.
The mainstream western media put up an unprecedented ballyhoo about the elections in Hungary. It feels good but somewhat funny as well. It feels good because it has been my strong conviction for a long time that Hungary is the centre of the world and a flower on God’s hat, as the old folk saying goes, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that this view of mine is shared by the “whole” West.
The sweeping April 8th victory of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and the governing parties in Hungary’s parliamentary elections came as a surprise to many and not only the political opposition. Among those grieving the loss, we find not only opposition candidates but many who otherwise present themselves as impartial – like members of the international press corps.
Last Saturday, the National Elections Office published the official results of the April 8 parliamentary elections. With all votes counted and a high 70.22 percent turnout, Prime Minister Orbán has secured a third consecutive two-thirds supermajority in Hungary’s National Assembly. Here’s a quick summary of what’s next.
As the dust settles after Sunday’s parliamentary elections, a clearer picture is now emerging of what happened on that extraordinary day. It will take a few days yet before the final results become official, but in the meantime, here are five takeaways from Hungary’s 2018 parliamentary elections.
PM Orbán declares victory in general election and Fidesz makes history by becoming the first party in Hungary to win three consecutive terms
More than three quarters of EU citizens are worried about illegal immigration in their countries, and 78 percent believe that the external borders of Europe should be better protected, according to an EU-wide survey conducted by the Századvég Foundation.
“Sooner or later the main question in every country will be migration,” said PM Orbán, who noted that for the first time since he began calling attention to the challenges of migration, he has begun to see more EU countries devoting serious attention to the issue.
According to a recently uncovered statement by Tracie Ahern, former chief financial officer of the Soros Fund Management, the billionaire financier commands a quasi-mercenary force of at least 2,000 people, tasked with achieving three goals: bringing down Prime Minister Orbán’s government, dismantling the border fence, and promoting immigration to Hungary.
They’re not giving in, those who see quotas and pro-immigration policies as Europe’s answer to the migration crisis. We’ll see a “decisive showdown” in June, said Prime Minister Orbán this week, when the EU’s heads of state and government will gather in Brussels again. Immigration will feature as one of the overriding issues on the agenda.
An article published in today's Magyar Idők - the first in what the author says will be a series of reports - takes a close look at a group called Migration Aid and one of its leaders, András Siewert. It raises some troubling questions.
“They want to take our country away. Not with the stroke of a pen like they did a hundred years ago in Trianon,” said Prime Minister Orbán in his March 15th address before a crowd estimated in the hundreds of thousands to commemorate the 170th anniversary of Hungary’s 1848 Revolution and War of Independence, “but that we voluntarily hand it over to others in the decades to come.”
The European Commission released last week the biannual country report on Hungary. Aside from a few words of praise for the government’s role in Hungary’s economic turnaround, what we find is a disappointing list of old issues and a clear attempt on the part of the Brussels bureaucracy to influence the outcome of Hungary’s upcoming parliamentary elections.
“I believe in simple things – work, homeland, families,” Prime Minister Orbán said earlier this week in his address to the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce. He then reiterated the four pillars that define Hungary’s economy policies: competitiveness, a workfare society, good demographics and identity-based politics. “All decisions made by this government could fit into these categories.”
Hey, POLITICO Europe, you left out some important details – like really important details – about the Ahmed H. incident
When POLITICO Europe published that story this morning on the retrial of a man facing charges in Hungary after an attack on Hungarian border guards, the reporter and editors left a lot out of the story.
The Orbán Government strongly disagrees with the draft of the UN’s Global Compact on Migration, but we have decided to remain at the table and have put forward a list of alternatives to influence the debate.
“If we don’t want to become an immigrant country we’ll have to join our forces and fight this battle together,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, adding that with the upcoming elections Hungary’s future is at stake.
Update to last week’s post addressed to the mic-grabbing political activist posing as a foreign correspondent
Recent reports indicate that workers from the eastern member states of the European Union are returning home following work experience in western Europe. Booming econ-omies in the new member states are creating a pull factor, enticing workers to return to their home countries. And as they return home, they’re shattering a myth that critics have propagated for years.
The robust economic growth we’re now seeing, based on an economic policy that includes tax cuts and wage increases, has produced a significant increase in the Hungarian people’s standard of living, said Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga.
Recently, Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel sent an ultimatum to the Visegrád countries. The essence of the ultimatum was that by the end of June, if a consensus is not reached in the European Council, then the mandatory migrant quota system will be adopted with a qualified majority vote - overruling dissenters.
On Sunday, The New York Times published a 2,500-word article on Hungary, “As West Fears the Rise of Autocrats, Hungary Shows What’s Possible.” It even appeared on the front page of the print edition, featured front and center with photos, under a somewhat less subtle title, “Taking an Ax to Democracy as Europe Fidgets.”
The latest numbers are out. Unemployment has reached a record low of 3.8 percent. According to 2017 fourth quarter data released last week by the Central Statistical Office, unemployment has been on the decline for 66 consecutive months.
An “alliance of common sense” is in the making, said Prime Minister Orbán, countries that ask where it would lead if we accept the right to migration as a fundamental human right and allow the UN to oversee international migration. Hungary will not participate in anything that runs counter to its security interests.
President János Áder has set April 8 as the date of Hungary’s upcoming parliamentary elections. Our electoral system and the changes made to it back in 2011 are once again generating some conversation – and misinformation – so here’s a brief rundown on how it works and a look back at the changes.
This three-step legislative package creates a new situation,” Prime Minister Orbán said in his radio interview this morning. “Everybody, including George Soros, can decide what to do. Stop supporting or continue to organize and support illegal migration.”
The latest edition of Freedom in the World, an annual survey published by the Soros-funded Freedom House, places Hungary among a group of “states that a decade ago seemed like promising success stories” but are now “sliding into authoritarian rule.”
Syrians running for their lives have every right to enter the first safe state they reach, but the EU shouldn’t let them march through Europe. Schengen, one of the EU’s greatest achievements has to be protected because if we fail to defend our external borders then the internal ones will have to be closed again. Prime Minister Orbán in Welt am Sonntag on migration, Europe, Germany and the mutual lack of understanding between East and West.
Hungary’s economic turnaround is gaining steam. Official data from the fourth quarter shows GDP growth will reach 4.1 percent in 2017, and the unemployment rate has fallen to 3.8 percent, Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga said recently.
This week’s shameful example of anti-Hungary bias and ignorance comes to us – I regret to report – from the hallowed halls of the United States Senate. On January 10th, the minority staff – I’ll come back to that in a moment – of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee published a report entitled, “Putin’s Asymmetric Assault on Democracy in Russia and Europe: Implications for U.S. National Security.”
Responding to Romanian Prime Minister Mihai Tudose’s claim that the Szekler people will hang next to their flag, if they dare to fly it, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó said that threatening an ethnic minority with execution is unacceptable
“We didn’t want migrants, you did,” Prime Minister Orbán said in an interview published this week in the German daily Bild, adding that Germany and Angela Merkel’s infamous Wilkommenskultur were at the forefront of support for immigration. Prime Minister Orbán, however, has pushed for a different approach, insisting that the borders of Europe must be protected to preserve the freedoms achieved within the EU and that illegal immigration has a direct impact on security.
The first days of January offer a good time to take stock and consider some life improvements for the twelve months to come. Many are making New Year’s resolutions, including, it seems, the Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum.
Taking out of context and misinterpreting a statement that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán made several weeks ago, an article published recently in Die Welt raises – again – the tired and groundless charges of anti-Semitism.
“We are the economic engine of the European Union,” Prime Minister Orbán said, standing next to his Polish counterpart, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, at their joint press conference in Budapest on Wednesday. Central Europe, he emphasized, is the fastest growing region within the EU.
In a Europe that has experienced acts of terrorism with increasing frequency in recent years, Hungary stands out as an island of security at the heart of the continent. The reasons are many, but important among them is the political will to keep it like that. In addition to the border fence securing an otherwise vulnerable stretch of the European Union’s southeastern border, the Orbán Government bolstered defense forces through the Zrinyi 2026 program.
When the Orbán Government entered office in 2010, the prime minister said that Hungary would offer employment over welfare checks. Critics quickly denounced it as inhumane. Seven years on, 741 thousand more Hungarians have jobs. Tens of thousands that suffered from long-term unemployment have rejoined the active labor force, reclaiming their dignity and self-respect, and it has helped many out of poverty.
I was beginning to wonder where she went. Everyone’s favorite ‘Hungary expert’ is back for her usual pre-election round of so-called scholarly analysis. Once again, Kim Lane Scheppele accuses the Hungarian government of gerrymandering and wonders at Prime Minister Orbán’s “brain melting” powers. I don’t even know where to start.
Recently, the popular, Hungarian weekly Heti Világgazdagság, or HVG, published an interview with Thomas O. Melia, a former deputy state secretary in the US State Department under the Obama Administration. The interview ran under the headline, “Everyone sees what is happening in Hungary.”
The key to a peaceful Europe, as the founding fathers have realized, is that ethnic minorities of Europe are respected and their fundamental rights protected. Those who dismiss the rights of Europe’s ethnic minorities risk fueling a trend that has caused Europe some of its worst nightmares and terrible armed conflicts.
In preparation for Thursday’s EU summit, President of the European Council Donald Tusk has circulated a note to EU leaders saying that “the issue of mandatory quotas has proven to be highly divisive and the approach has turned out to be ineffective.”
European values, democratic principles, rule of law. These are a few of the empty buzz words that the European political left uses in Brussels to justify politically motivated European Parliament hearings on governments they don’t like.
The Hungarian Parliament today rejected the European Parliament’s recent decision to establish a limitless and permanent migrant quota. In the resolution, Hungarian lawmakers said the decision would change irreversibly the continent’s future and called on the government to protect the country’s interests.
In the third quarter, Hungary’s GDP grew by 3.9 percent (4.1, if adjusted for seasonal and calendar effects), beating expectations and the EU average, which came in at 2.5 percent. Meanwhile, the country’s finances are finding stable footing, with the annual budget deficit remaining well below three percent and the debt-to-GDP ratio on the decline.
[The conversation below took place in Budapest, November 13, 2017, at Anne Applebaum’s request. As a frank and open exchange, it reveals several points of agreement and often disagreement on matters ranging from relations with the United States, George Soros, press freedom and more.
Last week, Budapest played host to the 7th China-CEEC Summit, gathering Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and the prime ministers, heads of state and senior figures from 11 EU member states and five non-EU countries to advance cooperation between China and Central and Eastern Europe.
Here’s the story about how the liberal left and the international media are whitewashing Hungary’s far-right party
In recent days, the chairman of Hungary’s far-right political party Jobbik publicly declared his intention to form an alliance with left-wing opposition parties LMP and Momentum. The latter have not ruled out the possibility.
As I wrote last week, the European Parliament approved a regulation that would introduce a permanent and mandatory migrant quota system without an upper limit on the number of migrants to be admitted. What’s more, it says that the evaluation of asylum claims will no longer be carried out by the country of first entry, and all member states will have to accommodate migrants on an involuntary basis. Countries that don’t cooperate would be politically and financially penalized.
All Hungarian individuals and communities wherever they may live, said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently, are part of one nation, and in an age when “national interests come first, even in the European Union,” Hungary aims to unite what is a global nation and make it stronger as a whole.
“Paid for by the taxpayers of the United States of America.” This would be the disclaimer that you might see on certain publications, if the US State Department were to begin handing out money next year, as it announced earlier this week, to support “independent” media outlets in Hungary.
Hate to say we told you so, but that moment that Hungary has long been warning against has arrived. The European Parliament’s Civil Liberties Committee (LIBE) has approved a regulation that would introduce a mandatory migrant quota system without an upper limit on the number of migrants. If this regulation is enacted, the European Parliament has approved the permanent quota system and is carrying out the plan of billionaire financier George Soros, seemingly point by point.
Lately, Central Europe has become the driving force behind the European Union’s economic development. In the third quarter of this year, the EU’s economy expanded by 2.5 percent while Hungary’s GDP grew by 3.6 percent, and the V4 as a whole have been out-performing much of the rest of the EU.
Echo chambers – the lack of different opinions on a certain issue – are threatening people’s right to information in the modern age. In today’s world of social media saturated with fake news and sensational, online media fighting for page views, the echo chamber effect is growing, and those media outlets that pride themselves on professional journalism have a special obligation to restore a little reason to the discourse.
Under Soviet occupation, November 7 was a compulsory holiday in Hungary. Since the end of communism and the re-birth of a free Hungary, we remember the one hundred million victims of communism. In her recent piece in the Washington Post, Anne Applebaum uses November 7 as an opportunity to disparage democratic political parties and leaders – including Prime Minister Orbán – whom she dislikes, bizarrely comparing them to Bolsheviks.
In his blog post entitled, “Hungarian Leader Should Stop Meddling in Ukrainian Politics,” a senior fellow at the Heritage Foundation, Mike Gonzalez, misunderstands why Hungary has become an outspoken critic of the new Ukrainian education law that limits minority rights
As a result of wars and the re-drawing of borders that have taken place in recent centuries, today’s borders in Europe rarely correspond to the physical location of the continent’s national groups. About one third of the 15 million-strong, ethnic Hungarian community, lives outside the borders of Hungary, mostly in the Carpathian Basin. These Hungarian communities, just as much as any other European national minorities, have the right to maintain their thousand year-old culture in the European Union.
With record-low unemployment, steadily increasing wages and other rock-solid indicators, the Hungarian economy is healthier than it’s been in years. The economic performance of Central Europe has become the driving force for growth in the EU, but that’s not the only reason why Hungarians can now be proud of their achievements over the course of the last seven years.
This Channel 4 journalist doesn’t understand the difference between freedom of movement in the EU and illegal migration
Last week while in London, I had the pleasure of sitting for an interview with Krishnan Guru-Murthy on ITN’s Channel 4 News. Our conversation focused on the migration crisis and, specifically, Prime Minister Orbán’s opposition to allowing mass immigration to Europe.
Last week’s decision by the LIBE Committee of the European Parliament to propose a limitless resettlement quota scheme and the EP’s newest Hungary-bashing report all point in one, disturbing direction: a concerted effort to push a pro-immigration agenda that would accept an unlimited number of migrants into Europe and to strong-arm any member states that dare to oppose.
In his regular Friday morning interview on Kossuth Radio’s program 180 Minutes, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke about the latest European Council meeting and the machinations of the Soros network to aggressively drive a pro-immigration agenda.
Deadline on administrative rules extended: So why all that hyperventilating about CEU and academic freedom?
Last spring, media and opinion leaders all over the world pilloried Hungary for what they claimed was an attempt to ‘shutter the Soros-funded Central European University’ and ‘crack down on freedom of education,’ following the introduction of administrative requirements in the amended law on higher education. The new rules imposed an impossible deadline, they argued, that could not be met.
As a sometimes vocal critic of certain EU policies and a leading figure in the move to strengthen borders, limit immigration and oppose pro-migration forces, Prime Minister Orbán has become a target of some sharp criticism. That’s to be expected, but among Prime Minister Orbán’s detractors, there is a special group on the extreme end of the spectrum that harbor an irrational fear and contempt.
PM Orbán on the anniversary of the 1956 Revolution: “If we lose our freedom, if we lose our national independence, we will be lost, too”
October 23rd is a national holiday in Hungary, marking the anniversary of the beginning of the 1956 Revolution and Freedom Fight when our compatriots defied the Communist regime and stood up to Soviet military might. For decades, we were forbidden to celebrate it, to even talk about it, but today it’s among our most important national holidays.
On October 23rd, Hungarians celebrate the brave women and men who stood up to Soviet communist oppression and fought for their freedom against one of the world’s biggest armies. After a few glorious days of victory, the 1956 Hungarian Revolution was eventually overpowered by overwhelming military force, but the freedom fight drove the first nail into the coffin of communist oppression in the world.
That moment when a US diplomat wonders if there is press freedom in Hungary, and an RTL Klub producer has the answer
Earlier this week, the chargé d’affaires of the US Embassy in Budapest delivered remarks on the freedom of the press. The remarks garnered a lot of attention not least because of the senior US diplomat’s very pointed criticisms and assertion that “negative trends are continuing” in the sphere of press freedom in Hungary.
There’s no such thing as a presumption of innocence when it comes to charges of corruption and allegations of misuse of EU funds in Hungary – at least for much of the media. Their negative bias compromises their journalistic integrity, and when news and information counters their narrative, they simply ignore it.
Hungary has surpassed another benchmark: the five-year, CDS premium fell below the 100 point-mark, to 98 points, at the end of September in another sign that investors are upbeat about the economic outlook.
Over the course of the last two weeks, the Financial Times has run no fewer than four – yes, four – articles maligning the Orbán Government for our opposition to George Soros’ pro-immigration agenda and for the usual charge of undemocratic behavior. We must have got under their skin.
[VIDEO] The Hungarian face of solidarity, delivering help directly to the people living in crisis regions
The Hungarian government has put forward a unique effort in its global humanitarian initiative, Hungary Helps. It aims to achieve far more than what one would expect from a country of Hungary’s size, focusing particularly on assistance to troubled communities in their homeland, rather than promoting the resettlement to Europe of those in crisis zones.
For two years now, Hungary’s border fence, border patrol forces and stricter laws have dramatically reduced the number of illegal crossings on Europe’s southern border. Our commitment to strong borders is just one of the ways that Hungary fulfills its legal obligations and stands in solidarity with Europe in times of crisis.
In the European Union, we don’t take away the rights of children of historic minorities. Ukraine, by doing so, is taking a detour from its path into the EU and turning its back on European neighbors who stood by them in some of the most difficult times. Ukraine has brought this upon itself, and the consequences of this decision on the education law will be painful.
On Wednesday, the government published the national consultation on the Soros plan, one of a series of national consultations in which the government turns to the people in the form of public surveys to ask their opinion on subjects important to their daily lives. This seventh national consultation addresses the Soros Plan to resettle one million migrants in Europe per year. The consultation’s fundamental question is: should Hungary become an immigrant country or not?
Over 600 participants, representing 53 countries gathered last week in Budapest for the 67th session of the World Health Organization (WHO) Regional Committee of Europe. Selecting Hungary to host the event offers important recognition of the government’s dedication to building a healthier nation.
Earlier this week, I took a question from a journalist about the referendum on the independence of Catalonia. The government of Hungary has not taken a position on that, and I gave a general answer emphasizing precisely that point – that it is a matter of the internal politics of Spain, adding that the will of the people should be respected within the bounds of the rules.
Debt relief, child support, family housing incentives, support for household modernization – these are just some of the latest measures the government has announced in its effort to provide tangible support to Hungarian families.
Some media outlets seem to think that their proper role is not simply to report the news but to exert influence over public life by driving a political agenda. Perhaps all media organizations reflect a bias, but when a political agenda so dominates the media’s decision about what to cover and how to cover it that it completely undermines all objectivity and journalistic integrity, then we have a problem.
Protecting the borders of the 510 million-strong European community to ease the migration pressure on the old continent constitutes a meaningful demonstration of solidarity. Enforcing a dysfunctional, semi-legal political decision that only intensifies the illegal migration problem does not. Looks like some of the leading Eurocrats in Brussels have got their thinking twisted around.
“Hungary hadn’t been able to influence the fate of the Carpathian Basin since 1920,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said over the weekend in his annual address to the Civic Picnic in Kötcse, “but now, thanks to the achievements of the last seven years, Hungary plays a central role in the region.”
Recently, following his meeting with Irish PM Leo Varadkar Canadian Premier Justin Trudeau ‘sounded the alarm’ on the growing number of immigrants entering Canada. Although “Canada is an opening and welcoming society,” Prime Minister Trudeau said, “we are also a country of laws” and “there are rigorous immigration and customs rules that will be followed. Make no mistake”.
Recently, the UK newspaper Daily Star featured Hungary on a top ten list of “safe travel destinations with low threat of terrorism.” The ranking came just weeks after Minister János Lázár said that is Prime Minister Orbán’s aim to have Hungary considered among the top ten safest countries of the world.
“Clearly, the measures taken by the Hungarian government have no connection whatsoever with terrorism. Any such suggestion,” Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs Bert Koenders said, is wrong, and I would like to disavow such claims.”
King St. Stephen, or Szent István Király, was the beloved first monarch of Hungary who lived during the turn of the first millenium. He was canonized August 20, 1083, by Pope Gregory VII for bringing Christianity to Hungary and later deemed the patron saint of Hungary. In 1771, Queen Maria Theresa declared the day a national state and church holiday. The celebration has been observed annually on the saint’s feast day ever since and commemorates the foundation of the Hungarian state.
Hungary welcomes more than 35 million tourists annually – 21 million from abroad – and the number is growing rapidly. The year 2016 was another record breaker with foreign tourists adding an estimated eight percent of revenue to the federal budget. The summer’s international sporting events, FINA and Formula 1, 2017 are expected to boost the numbers even higher.
Despite the summer heat, tourists have flooded the streets of Budapest and the Hungarian countryside. Tourism remains one of the leading sectors of the Hungarian economy, and the numbers are growing exponentially.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made a number of references to a Soros plan to bring one million “refugees and migrants” into Europe each year. Some are skeptical, but the doubters haven’t familiarized themselves with the facts. The plan is real.
According to Federation President Julio Maglione, the 2017 FINA Aquatics World Championships held in Budapest were “the best world championship in the history of FINA.” It’s not just about the shiny medals our athletes won but also the international recognition that FINA brought to Hungary.
In the land where Zionism was born, Hungary, PM Benjamin Netanyahu spoke about the daily threats to his country’s existence and Europe’s relationship with Israel, quoting French President Macron on anti-Zionism being the new anti-Semitism. He thanked PM Orbán for opposing this anti-Semitism by standing up for Israel in international forums.
In this new series, I’d like to show you how the media – sometimes because of sloppy, one-sided reporting that fails to get the facts right and other times because of biased journalism intent on driving a particular narrative – produces fake news about Hungary.
“Human trafficking is one of the most tragic human rights issues of our time,” according to US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson in the State Department’s annual Trafficking in Persons Report. Among other findings, the report clearly reveals that Europe is under serious threat. It is high time, the text shows, for European authorities and legislators to start taking border protection seriously.
“Twenty-seven years ago, we believed our future is Europe,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán at the 28th Summer University and Student Camp in Baile Tusnad this morning. “Right now, we are Europe’s future.”
A number of Soros-funded NGOs in Hungary have declared that they will not comply with the new NGO law and will instead boycott out of civil disobedience. There’s nothing valiant in their cause, just hypocrisy. The fact that the same NGOs have no problem abiding by even stricter rules and regulations in Germany, Austria, Israel, and the US speaks for itself.
A Roman nobleman of Pannonia hid family silverware from nomad invaders in the 4th century AD. About 1,500 years later, a Hungarian miner finds it, tries to sell it on the black market, and dies in mysterious circumstances a few years later. The treasures seemed to be lost forever. The tale begins like a crime novel, but it’s nonfiction and, with the news last week, has a happy ending.
PM Netanyahu to PM Orbán: ‘Thank you for standing up for Israel’ at the forefront of opposition to this new anti-Semitism
During a historic visit – the first of a head of government of Israel in 30 years – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu thanked Prime Minister Viktor Orbán for “standing up for Israel in international forums,” and the Hungarian prime minister delivered a sharp rebuke of the failure of Hungary to defend its Jewish citizens during World War II, saying the country had sinned.
Hungary’s biggest ever sports event, the 17th FINA World Aquatics Championships commenced last Friday with a breathtaking opening ceremony. The 3 thousand square meter floating stage near the Pest side of the famous Chain Bridge welcomed world-class musicians, artists and dancers who took the audience on a cultural-historical journey into Hungary’s deep connection to the Danube, water and aquatic sports.
Several days ago, Prime Minister Orbán was speaking about a group of leaders that served during a tough period in Hungary’s history, the inter-war period, and his remarks generated some controversy. Inevitably, some raised the worn-out charge of anti-Semitism. Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó put them properly in their place.
Soros ‘undermines democratically elected governments’ and criticizing his agenda has nothing to do with anti-Semitism
The heritage of a particular American billionaire speculator is not relevant to his agenda. Criticizing the radical policies he’s pushing all over the world – completely lacking any democratic mandate or accountability – is not anti-Semitism. Suggesting otherwise amounts to a cheap tactic to silence his critics and support the far-from-mainstream Soros agenda.
Thousands of athletes, a record-breaking fast-track preparation for the international event, and the most picturesque diving background ever. The 2017 FINA World Aquatics Championships, Hungary’s largest sporting event to date, will overtake the cities of Budapest and Balatonfüred for over two weeks. As a nation with exceptional watersports traditions and accomplishments, Hungarians can barely wait, although it is not just our athletes who are setting the bar high.
Recently I responded to a EURACTIV.com interview with Heather Grabbe, the director of the George Soros-funded European Policy Institute, pushing back on claims that Hungary’s new NGO law discriminates and is closing the space for dissenting opinions.
“European publics are quite critical of the EU’s handling of refugee issues,” according to the Pew Research Center’s recent public opinion study. “And they want their national governments to be the ones making decisions about the migration of non-EU citizens into their countries”
Friends in North America have commented recently on Hungary’s new NGO law. In a tweet sent on the day of the law’s passage, Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland called it “disappointing news” and reminded us that Canada “values transparency & civil society as key facets of healthy democratic societies.”
It was one of the most heinous crimes from the dark days of the migrant crisis in 2015. The trial began this week in Hungary of eleven men charged in the deaths of 71 migrants, victims of human traffickers, found in an abandoned refrigerator truck in August of that year.
Hungarian Presidency of Visegrád Four: Our group serves as example of strength from strong nation states
Hungary’s economic growth -- 2 percent in 2016 and forecast to grow to 4.3 percent in 2017 – translates into an anticipated 1 trillion additional HUF (3.3 billion EUR) for the 2018 budget. Public debt is expected to drop by some 2 percent, and the deficit is expected to be 2.4 percent.
An interesting video surfaced recently in the deep corners of Youtube, a two-minute clip that uses open-source information on marine traffic to allegedly show how pro-migration NGO vessels are shuttling illegal migrants from the coast of Libya to Italy.
“There is only one important and significant element of Hungarian public life that is not transparent,” said Prime Minister Orbán in the Friday morning radio interview, “and that’s the Soros Mafia network and its organizations that cannot be considered civic organizations but agents working for the pursuit of George Soros’ goals.”
Late last week, leaders of the 28 members of NATO gathered in Brussels to send, in the words of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a strong message of the unity of the transatlantic alliance and its commitment to collective security. NATO finds itself in an increasingly challenging environment due to the rise of complex security threats that require responsive capabilities. Grappling with terrorism, migration, cybercrime and more, every one of the member states must step up its game.
Democracy means first and foremost accountability and the people’s right to participate in the decision making of their lives and futures. Governments, including the Hungarian government, are held accountable and can be voted out of power. The shadowy power networks of the “open society” are accountable to no one.
Browse the international media coverage of Hungary over the last several weeks and a handful of keywords stand out: migration crisis, NGOs, transparency, media, Central European University and George Soros. While much of the coverage lacks balance, the keywords themselves can be instructive, shedding light on a far-reaching, ideologically driven and wholly undemocratic network that pushes George Soros’s “open society” agenda.
The Hungarian government has been a strong advocate for allocating resources to aid and reconstruction efforts in communities impacted by war, rather than importing the problems to Europe. In its global initiative to bring help where it is most needed, the government of Hungary aims to do more than its fair share and has recently allocated 2 million USD toward the reconstruction of a Christian community near Mosul.
Reversing Europe’s demographic decline, said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressing the 11th World Congress of Families in Budapest on Thursday, is like “turning around a large ocean liner. We vainly turn the wheel, but the body will not follow the new direction in the next second, only slowly.”
“This is the kind of doublespeak Hungary is seeking to combat,” I said in response to a reporter’s recent inquiry about a video produced with the support of the European Commission. “[W]hile everyone should be complying with EU regulations, propaganda materials supporting migration are being made from EU money.”
The big event is right around the corner. From July 14 to 30, Budapest and the Lake Balaton city of Balatonfüred will host the FINA World Aquatics Championships. Over the next few weeks, it’s a race to get everything ready.
Here’s the scary part of the Article 7 nuclear option pursued by European Parliament leftists against the Hungarian government
Once again, Hungarian left-wing politicians have taken domestic affairs to the stage of the European Parliament, hoping to gain traction in their political campaign against the Hungarian government. Their timely intervention intersects neatly with the interests of an American billionaire whose extreme ideas about an open society aim to undermine Europe’s external border.
Political debates can get nasty. A certain amount of give-and-take comes with the territory, and as a spokesperson, I’ve experienced it firsthand. There are red lines that should not be crossed, though, and assailing the dignity of the victims of mass genocide crosses the brightest of them. Every reasonable person, including European Commission Vice President Timmermans, should know that no matter how deep the political disagreement, Holocaust victims should not be exploited as weapons in such a fight.
Back in 2015, the government decided to put the following year’s budget up to vote in the spring session of the Parliament, an important decision to increase predictability and improve planning. This year is no different. Though 2018 will be an election year, the government has held to a tight fiscal policy in the new budget. Continued stability and growth make possible a boost in competitiveness and tax cuts for families.
A nation’s strength lies in its people. Declining demographic trends throughout Europe pose a worrisome problem, including in Hungary. The trend has been declining into a vicious circle for decades and governments have struggled to break it. Recent demographic statistics in Hungary, however, show that with some ingenuity – like housing incentives and other breaks for families with children – a carefully selected mix of family policies can make a difference.
Myth: If they want EU funds, Eastern European members must tow the line on Brussels' migration dictates
In today’s information-saturated world, we encounter a number of arguments and story lines that become popular and oft-repeated despite having almost no basis in fact. They sound compelling and have many people who would very much like to believe them, but they’re not true. The longer they linger, however, the more they get in the way. These myths deserve to be busted.
Despite recent reports claiming that an “NGO crackdown” is under way in Hungary, the reported draft legislation confirms what the government of Hungary has been saying all along: this is about transparency in civil society. NGOs, not even those representing foreign interests, are not in jeopardy in Hungary.
Members of the European Parliament are so worried about the activities of certain foreign-funded NGOs that they’re calling for the EU to cut public funding for NGOs "demonstrably disseminating untruths". Others question "democratic legitimacy" of NGOs.
Few people know that there’s not one CEU, but two. There’s the Central European University, registered in New York, which does not offer university education in New York. And there’s the Közép-europai Egyetem in Hungary. If you get a degree from CEU, who is awarding your diploma? Until now, in an inexplicable 2-for-1, the answer was both.
In the face of a political adversary that wants to transform Europe by allowing unbridled immigration, casting aside subsidiarity and encumbering the labor markets with bureaucratic rules, the center-right political forces of Europe must summon the confidence to “accept the intellectual and political fight with the Left,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, addressing the European People’s Party Congress in Malta today.
According to Schengen rules, if people enter the Schengen zone by crossing the Hungarian border and do not have proper documentation, then Hungary has a legal obligation to ensure that those people do not leave until their status is clarified.
CeBIT, the giant technology trade expo held each year in Hannover, Germany, is regarded as the largest event of its kind and attracts the most extensive international representation. Hungary's pavilion takes up 400 square meters at this year’s event, making it the biggest exhibition space that our innovators have ever had to present themselves and their work.
Hungary’s national day, March 15th, commemorates the day in 1848 when Hungarians started a revolution that would become a war of independence from the Habsburgs. In his address on Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán spoke of the meaning that 1848 carries for Hungary and its significance to today’s Europe.
“Clearly, Mr. Orban is playing the European Union for a patsy,” the New York Times editors write in a piece published yesterday. “At what point will the union have the courage to take action against his policies?”
The US State Department recently published its annual human rights report, a relic of the Cold War era. With that familiar “we know better” approach, the chapter on Hungary takes aim at our government’s actions responding to the migration crisis and reflects the previous US administration’s lax policy toward illegal immigration, a policy position on the verge of extinction.
Something strange is happening with Transparency International. The international NGO that made a name for itself for its “global coalition against corruption” has remained rather tight-lipped about why it decided in January to strip accreditation from its US affiliate, denying it the use of the TI name and logo.
For breaking the rules of political correctness and using the word “ethnic” without a trigger warning, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is under heavy attack from the liberal media. The attacks, however, quote him completely out of context and deliberately misinterpret the meaning.
Hungary’s economy hit the ground running this year. The major indicators are trending positive and international investors have taken note. Signs of a strong recovery, however, do not mean we can rest. Instead, said Prime Minister Orbán, it means that it’s time to dream big.
Yesterday afternoon, Hungarian Minister of Justice Trócsányi and I were invited to defend the Orbán Government’s policy on migration before the European Parliament’s Committee on Civil Liberties, Justice and Home Affairs.
As a result of the hard work of Hungarian people, Hungary once again stands before an “economic breakthrough,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán addressing the Parliament earlier this week at the opening of the spring session.
Since 2000, Hungary remembers the victims of communism each year on February 25th. The totalitarian oppression in the name of this “mad ideology,” in the words of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, shattered millions of lives all over the world. Today's memorial is the day we light a candle for communism’s victims, many of whom still live among us.
Amnesty International has just released its annual report called “The State of the World’s Human Rights.” This once-lauded international human rights organization was founded in 1961 as an advocate for the prisoner of conscience, those “imprisoned, tortured or executed because [of their] opinions or religion.” Amnesty is a far cry from that today.
In an evolving, multipolar world order, Europe cannot afford to waste its energy and resources on senseless pursuits. Europe has great potential, but it lacks self-confidence. It is passing through a period of weakness, and that weakness breeds insecurity and fear that poisons the soul of the European body politic.
“It is hard to imagine a successful Hungary,” the prime minister said, “without establishing open, vigorous and fruitful economic and trade relations with one of the biggest players in the global economy”
As a strident critic of this government’s firm stance against illegal immigration, Amnesty International is not interested in a balanced discussion. Their analysis begins with their conclusions then endeavors to find supporting facts.
“Nowhere do human rights prescribe national suicide,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán recently at the swearing-in ceremony of the civilian border patrol. It’s short but simple, and it sums up Hungary’s approach towards illegal migration: we will put the citizens’ right to security before the rights of illegal migrants until there status is legalized.
If we have any hope to understand the present day and have some sense of where we’re headed, we have to know where we’ve been. If we’re to understand where we’ve been, we have to listen to history’s witnesses. Father Oloffson Placid, Benedictine monk, teacher, GULAG survivor, passed away at age 101 on January 15, 2017. The testimony of his life, however, will remain a cornerstone for our understanding of the turbulent 20th century and an invaluable touchstone for us for the future.
We have seen a fundamental shift in global politics in recent months. Positions and policies are moving in a different direction, changing in response to public outcry and voter dissatisfaction. The old guard are being taken to task.
In what is becoming an annual tradition, POLITICO Europe has published a list of 28 people “who are shaping, shaking and stirring Europe.” Each of the 28 representing an EU member state, it’s a thoughtful and provocative list and no less so with the editors’ pick this year from Hungary.
As citizens prepare for the third Sunday of Advent, heads of the EU member states once again gather in Brussels to discuss the pressing migration crisis. The differences will resemble the struggle of David against Goliath, said Prime Minister Orbán in his radio interview last week, and in the role of David stand the Visegrád Four countries, including Hungary.
“Congratulations. What great news. Democracy is still alive,” read the message posted on Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Facebook page soon after the world learned that Donald J. Trump had been elected the 45th President of the United States of America.
As Hungarian government and law enforcement fight to counter extremism, well-known left-wing figures have been proposing some strange alliances. Their latest ideas should be condemned, especially in light of the recent attack on Hungarian police.
“These people aren’t involved in border protection,” said Prime Minister Orbán of the newly established Frontex unit proposed to the management board. Frontex, of course, is the EU agency that was set up to manage cooperation among national border guards and help secure the EU’s external border. The problem with the proposed, new unit is that it is for anything but guarding European borders and coastlines. Plus, it is ridiculously weak in numbers.
“The problem with [ideology-driven thinking] is that it gives an answer to the question before facts are considered,” Prime Minister Orbán said in his radio interview this morning, adding that this kind of thinking has tied up and hindered the West.
Hungary’s fiscal responsibility brings about credit rating upgrade and record-breaking surplus in the budget. These factors, along with significant economic growth and falling unemployment, are fueling a broad economic and social recovery.
Recently, Foreign Policy published an article about the freedom fighters of 1956 and today's Hungary. It used some pretty strong and unfair language, so I reached out to the editors for a chance to reply. They never answered, so I'm posting my response here.
“It is a colorful, big cavalcade, not an easy task to make some sort of compromise,” said Prime Minister Orbán in this morning’s radio interview, explaining the difficult nature of discussions on migration in the EU.
“[O]ur geographical position every thirty years causes history to suddenly thrust [Hungarians] into the main current of debate on the future of Europe,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on Sunday, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the outbreak of the Hungarian Revolution and Freedom Fight against the Soviet Union in 1956.
Hungary’s stance on immigration has been labeled one of the “destroyers of Europe”, however these sentiments couldn’t be further from the truth. Hungary’s border policy does in fact protect European freedom.
It began on a Tuesday afternoon, a beautiful autumn day on the 23rd of October 1956. Students gathered in peaceful protest with their manifesto calling for Hungary’s independence from all foreign powers, particularly the Soviet troops occupying the country. They demanded freedom of opinion and expression, the rights of free people in a democratic system.
“In 2015, a migratory wave of unforeseen proportions reached the borders of Europe,” according to the text presenting the proposed amendments to the Fundamental Law of Hungary. “One and a half million people crossed Schengen borders illegally. The cultural and economic integration of the masses of newcomers has made Europe face an unsolvable task, and uncontrolled border-crossings have significantly increased the danger of terror.
It was a Tuesday, that October 23rd in 1956. The whole thing began as a peaceful, student demonstration, young people with a manifesto asserting the right to be independent from all foreign powers and that all Hungarians should enjoy the rights of free people in a democratic system. The crowds grew as the demonstrations moved throughout the city. By nightfall, State Security Police had fired on a crowd of unarmed demonstrators outside the state radio building, killing many.
Earlier this month, the Washington Post published an article on page one with the enticing, clickable title, “Hungary intends to stop migrants with ‘hunters’ near border wall,” by their Berlin-based correspondent, Anthony Faiola. Unfortunately, he got a few things wrong.
3.3 million voters said “no” to the mandatory migrant relocation scheme in a national referendum in Hungary yesterday. This unprecedented level of support for the government’s position sends a clear message to Brussels: “Nothing about us, without us.”
European citizens are down on the EU, according to a study carried out in 28 member states earlier this year. Revealing a disturbing pessimism about the current and future European Union, it seems that citizens like the EU far less than ever before.
In Thursday’s print edition of the Financial Times, following Standard and Poor’s decision to restore Hungary’s credit rating to investment grade, a commentator praises Prime Minister Orbán’s “economic miracle.” Once a staunch critic of Hungary’s “unorthodox” measures to restore its technically bankrupt economy, the British daily’s admiration is the first sign that S&P’s move closes an era of doubts over whether Hungarian reforms are working.
Hungarian athletes are once again in the spotlight in Rio de Janeiro. Midweek, after six days of competition in the XV Paralympic Games, Hungary has won four silver and four bronze medals. Forty-three Hungarian athletes are competing in 17 sports and 74 events during this edition of the games.
Some have wondered when that fateful turn began, that moment that marked “the beginning of the end of the Soviet Empire.” For those of us who endured Soviet oppression behind the Iron Curtain, it came in 1956, brought about by a scrappy pack of kids, many of whom paid the ultimate price for their courage.
Ungarn ist das einzige Land in der Europäischen Union, das seinen Bürgern mit einer nationalen Volksabstimmung am 2. Oktober ermöglicht, über eines der derzeit wichtigsten Themen abzustimmen: die Massenmigration, die Europa destabilisiert, und insbesondere den Versuch der EU, Zwangsansiedlungen von Migranten anzuordnen.
With the national referendum slated for October 2nd, Hungary is the only country in the European Union that is giving citizens the opportunity to vote on one of the most significant issues of the day: the mass migration challenging the stability of Europe and, specifically, the EU’s attempt to impose compulsory resettlement of migrants.
Prime Minister Orbán’s economic program sets out a number of ambitious goals. It demands fiscal discipline to keep the budget deficit not only under the three-percent Maastricht threshold but low enough to reduce nominal state debt. It calls for GDP growth to increase from the current level between 2 and 3 percent to a more robust output above 3 percent and sets a longer term goal of five percent. And it aims to create jobs to bring the labor market to full employment.
In etwas weniger als einem Monat werden die Ungarn bei einem nationalen Referendum ihre Stimmen abgeben. Sie werden über die folgende Frage abstimmen: Wollen Sie, dass die Europäische Union auch ohne die Zustimmung des [ungarischen] Parlaments die verpflichtende Ansiedlung von nichtungarischen Staatsbürgern in Ungarn vorschreiben kann?
In a little over a month, Hungarian voters will go to the polls in a national referendum. They will vote on one question: Do you want the European Union to be able to mandate the obligatory resettlement of non-Hungarian citizens into Hungary even without the approval of the National Assembly?
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s annual speech at the Bálványos Open University and youth camp in Baile Tusnad have become major events over the years, attracting even international headlines and sometimes controversy, for the challenging ideas he puts forward.
Die alljährlich stattfindende Grundsatzrede von Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán an der Sommeruniversität von Bad Götzenburg (Bálványos) mit Studentenlager im siebenbürgischen Bad Tuschnad (Tusnádfürdő) hat sich über die Jahre zu einem wichtigen Ereignis entwickelt, das weltweit für Schlagzeilen sorgt und manchmal sogar zu Kontroversen rund um die herausfordernden Ideen des Premiers führte.
Der Termin steht fest: Am 2. Oktober 2016 wird in Ungarn eine Volksabstimmung über das verpflichtende EU-Quotensystem zur Ansiedlung von Migranten stattfinden. Dass das Datum nur einige Tage nach dem Brexit bekanntgegeben wurde, hat zu Mutmaßungen geführt, das ungarische Referendum handle ebenfalls vom Austritt aus der EU. Natürlich war das aus dem Munde mancher Kritiker eine absichtliche Verwechslung aus politischen Gründen.
The date is set: on October 2nd, 2016, Hungary will hold a referendum on the EU’s mandatory migrant resettlement quota system. The announcement of the date of the referendum, coming as it did just a few days following Brexit led some to suggest that the Hungarian vote will be another plebiscite on leaving the EU. Some critics, of course, deliberately confused the two for political reasons.
Speaking to graduating class of police and border patrol officers last weekend, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had a simple message. It emphasized the outstanding achievement of Hungary’s uniformed services and how they have shown Europe that, if a country so wishes, it can uphold both the Dublin Protocol and the Schengen Treaty. And if everyone does their duty, Europe’s borders can be protected and mass migration can be controlled.
As hideous terror attacks at Istanbul’s Ataturk airport draw attention away from this week’s European Summit and politicians struggle to find the appropriate response to the outcome of the Brexit referendum, EU leadership seems to be grasping for direction.
Während die abscheulichen Terroranschläge am Atatürk-Flughafen in Istanbul die Aufmerksamkeit vom Europa-Gipfel diese Woche ablenken und europäische Politiker um die passende Reaktion auf das Ergebnis des Brexit-Votums ringen, scheint die EU-Führung nach der passenden Richtung zu suchen.
“Brussels must listen to the voice of the people. This is the biggest takeaway from yesterday’s decision,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán commenting on the result of Thursday’s referendum in which voters in the United Kingdom voted to leave the European Union.
„Brüssel muss auf die Stimme des Volkes hören. Das ist die größte Lektion aus der gestrigen Entscheidung“, sagte Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán, als er das Ergebnis des Referendums am Donnerstag kommentierte, im Zuge dessen die Wahlberechtigten im Vereinigten Königreich für den Austritt aus der Europäischen Union stimmten.
While Hungary’s national football team continues to surprise at the UEFA European Championship, Hungary surprises in another European competition. For the second year in a row, the country accepted next year’s budget during the spring parliamentary session to build on Hungary’s favorable economic prospects in today’s Europe. Next year’s budget is Hungary’s secret formula to advance on its debt-slashing, GDP growth path.
“The decision is yours, but I would like you to know that Hungary is proud to stand with you as a member of the European Union.” Signed by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, this is the text of a full-page advertisement that appeared in the British print media today. This is Hungary’s prime minister taking a stand, like many other European leaders, on an issue that’s important to Europe and important to Hungary.
Infringement procedures – a legal tool designed to make sure European laws are harmonized – arise from time to time for all EU members states. It’s just part of life in a union comprising 28 countries and one set of European acquis.
„Es ist Ihre Entscheidung, doch ich möchte, dass Sie wissen, dass Ungarn stolz darauf ist, mit Ihnen gemeinsam in der Europäischen Union zu sein.“ Das ist der von Viktor Orbán unterzeichnete Text einer ganzseitigen Annonce, die heute in den britischen Printmedien erschienen ist. Ungarns Premierminister setzt sich, wie viele andere europäische Staats- und Regierungschefs, für eine Sache ein, die für Europa und Ungarn gleichermaßen wichtig ist.
What a night! After 95 minutes of dominating the game, two terrific, well-deserved goals (and many great saves), the Hungarian national football team defeated favorites Austria, 2 to 0. The victory for the underdogs puts Hungary on top of the leaderboard in the group, after Iceland and Portugal’s 1-1 tie. A decades-long curse has been broken.
Was für eine Nacht! Nach 95 Minuten als dominierende Mannschaft, nach zwei wunderschönen, wohlverdienten Toren (und vielen schön gehaltenen Bällen) besiegte die ungarische Fußball-Nationalelf die favorisierten Österreicher 2 zu 0. Durch den Sieg der Außenseiter steht Ungarn nach dem 1:1 Unentschieden zwischen Island und Portugal an der Spitze der Gruppentabelle. Ein jahrzehntelanger Fluch wurde gebrochen.
Romanced by today’s creative, fun-loving Budapest, it’s easy to forget that it wasn’t always so. For a dozen days in late October and early November 1956, Hungarians fought to liberate themselves from the yoke of communist oppression. Everyday people from all walks of life suddenly became freedom fighters. Spurred on by indefatigable traditions of independence and self-determination, the people revolted and nearly won.
Yesterday, the Hungarian Parliament amended the Fundamental Law, our constitution, to allow the national assembly to declare a state of terrorism threat and grant temporary, extraordinary powers to the government.
Seit mehr als eineinhalb Jahren ist Europa einem gewaltigen Migrationsstrom ausgesetzt. Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán war einer der ersten Regierungschefs des Kontinents, der Aufmerksamkeit auf das wachsende Problem lenkte, als er letztes Jahr ehrlich über dessen faktischen Herausforderungen zu sprechen begann.
For more than a year and a half, Europe has been confronting a dramatic surge in migration. Prime Minister Viktor Orbán was among the first leaders on the continent to call attention to the growing problem when he began speaking frankly early last year about the practical challenges it would pose.
Following his meeting with the “Sunni Pope,” Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán talked about Europe’s catastrophic interventions in the Islamic world, the need for a stable Egypt and a re-stabilized Libya in his regular radio interview this week. He also touched upon the Brexit referendum and the dangers of the evolving democratic deficit in today’s European Union.
Nach seinem Treffen mit dem „sunnitischen Papst“ sprach der ungarische Ministerpräsident Viktor Orbán diese Woche in seinem regelmäßigen Radio-Interview über Europas katastrophale Interventionen in der islamischen Welt sowie über die Notwendigkeit eines stabilen Ägyptens und der erneuten Stabilisierung Libyens. Er sprach auch vom Brexit-Referendum und den Gefahren des wachsenden demokratischen Defizits in der derzeitigen Europäischen Union.
In recognition of Hungary’s successful efforts to revive its economy, Fitch Ratings upgraded the country to investment grade recently. Although the upgrade came earlier than statistics might suggest, it was no surprise as markets had already priced Hungary’s widely anticipated return to investment grade at multiple credit rating agencies this year. Fitch’s upgrade signals important recognition that Hungary’s reforms are working.
International relations has its political dimension. Certain interests will support a government or oppose it motivated by a political agenda. That’s understandable. But when purely partisan politics becomes the most important driving force behind bilateral or multilateral relations among sovereign, independent countries, then we’ve got a serious problem.
Internationale Beziehungen haben eine politische Dimension. Gewisse Interessengruppen unterstützen eine Regierung oder lehnen sie ab – je nach der politischen Agenda. Das ist verständlich. Aber wenn reine Parteipolitik zur treibenden Kraft hinter bilateralen oder multilateralen Beziehungen zwischen souveränen, unabhängigen Ländern wird, haben wir ein ernsthaftes Problem.
Hungary certainly has its critics in the EU quarter, but the real picture looks substantially different. Hungarians and our prime minister have become known as straight-talkers, and that directness, because our message makes sense to a lot of people, has also won many supporters.
Ungarn hat im Europaviertel gewiss seine Kritiker, aber das wahre Bild sieht deutlich anders aus. Ungarn und unser Premierminister haben sich mit ihrer geradlinigen Art einen Namen gemacht und mit dieser Direktheit viele Unterstützer gewonnen, da unsere Botschaft Sinn ergibt.
While elites will inevitably maneuver to shape politics in a democracy, it is up to the people to decide on a country’s direction, Prime Minister Orbán emphasized in his regular radio interview this morning. Every thirty years or so, Hungary finds itself in the spotlight on the stage of international politics, he said, but people should not allow themselves to be deterred by the blinding spotlights.
Als der frühere US-Präsident Bill Clinton diese Woche behauptete, Ungarn und Polen schulden ihre Freiheit dem „langen Kalten Krieg“ und den Vereinigten Staaten von Amerika, demonstrierte er damit nicht nur seine außerordentliche Unkenntnis über die ungarische Geschichte, sondern auch über die europäische Geschichte und die globale politische Landschaft.
When former US President Bill Clinton claimed earlier this week that Hungary and Poland owe their freedom to “the long Cold War” and the United States of America, he demonstrated an extraordinary ignorance not only of Hungarian history but also of Europe and the global political landscape.
Am Sonntag vor einer Woche passierte etwas Interessantes an der Wahlfront, das außerhalb von Ungarn größtenteils unbemerkt blieb. Am 8. Mai fand in Ungarn landesweit eine Art Super-Wahlsonntag mit neun Gemeinde-Zwischenwahlen statt. Einige Wahlen gingen so aus, wie es die Umfragen vorhergesehen hatten, andere wiederum sorgten für Überraschungen.
A week ago Sunday, something interesting happened on the elections front that went largely unnoticed outside of Hungary. On the 8th, Hungary had a Super Sunday of sorts with nine by-elections taking place in municipalities around the country. Some of the elections turned out as the polls predicted, but others produced a few surprises. Some brought mandates for the governing party, some to the left-wing and right-wing opposition, and a couple of independents were also successful.
Research and innovation are key factors in many countries’ strategy to boost economic growth, add value to their economies and attract more foreign direct investment (FDI). Hungary has long recognized the importance of its research and development (R&D) sector and, as announced by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in his speech at the Hungarian Academy of Science, is planning to invest some 1.2 billion HUF (3.8 billion EUR) for R&D until 2020.
Hungary will mark the 60th anniversary of the Hungarian Revolution this autumn. Events are already underway across the country to honor those who courageously rose up against communist tyranny during those fateful days that began October 23, 1956.
Jaws dropped across the European Union last week as the Eurocrats revealed their latest proposal. Whether it was in the way they dehumanized refugees by putting price tags on their heads or accused elected prime ministers of being undemocratic, the tendentious actions of the Eurocrats seem to be deliberately intended to alienate friends and supporters of the European idea. With the Brexit referendum just around the corner, Eurocrats would do well to exercise more restraint.
The media is always quick to reach a verdict. “Scandal” and “corruption” appear as frequently in sensationalist headlines as “good day” at a busy newsstand. But there is one, golden question that media coverage has missed in the story of the Hungarian Central Bank and the foundations it established, and that golden question is this: How far does a national bank’s independence extend?
Hungary’s top court ruled this week in favor of the government’s plan for a referendum on the European Union’s mandatory migrant resettlement quotas. With the court’s decision, the last legal obstacle in Hungary has been removed
A recent installment of the Global Investment Guide, a series published by Forbes, writes on the recovery of the Hungarian economy, noting that Hungary has reported even better than expected results in stimulating economic growth, reducing unemployment and cutting the GDP-to-debt ratio for the first quarter of 2016. Thanks to savvy reforms that work, Hungary’s bonds, equity markets and currency have recovered and are healthy again.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán visited Serbia recently as the country prepared for last weekend’s elections. The visit was all about strengthening Hungarian-Serbian relations at a time when, as many observers of recent geopolitical trends in Europe have said, the significance and influence of Central and Eastern Europe is changing.
European member states are exceptionally busy these days. Although some critics suggest that they seem asleep at the wheel in the wake of the biggest migration crisis the continent has seen for decades, the European Commission and some individual member states have drafted proposals to respond to the crisis. These plans are currently vying with one another, all in preparation for the upcoming European Council Summit.
“When I visit southern Germany, I always find time to visit Mr. Chancellor [Kohl],” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about his latest meeting with former Chancellor Helmut Kohl, adding that they discussed the future of Europe and bilateral relations between Germany and Hungary. Today, in his regular biweekly radio interview, the prime minister had several interesting things to say about both. A few things that may surprise you.
Freedom House released its annual Nations in Transit report this week. Shining a spotlight on democracy in central and eastern Europe, it scores each government’s performance across a range of indicators like governance, electoral process, independent media, civil society, judiciary and corruption.
Last week, the Hungarian Parliament withdrew the law on the mandatory, Sunday closures for retail shops. The regulation, which provided a guarantee to workers in the retail sector that they would have a day off on Sunday, had been in effect since March 15, 2015. Now Hungary’s retail sector is again open for business on Sundays.
The Hungarian Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga presented Hungary’s 2017 budget plan on Tuesday. The core message signals predictability and stability to investors, while maintaining the government’s popular “one step ahead” policy, especially for families. The budget plans for 3.1 percent GDP growth, a falling debt-to-GDP ratio and a deficit of 2.4 percent.
Yes, the loan is paid off. Commenting last week on the good news, Prime Minister Orbán said that “Every Hungarian family has a good reason to open a good bottle of red wine tonight and drink to the health of the country because yesterday we succeeded in settling the old debt that the previous government took on in 2008."
In his regular, radio interview on Friday morning, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that, on the EU’s quota system, “it cannot be the case that one member state alone makes a decision and the others suffer the consequences.” He also spoke about the symbolic significance of paying off the loan and that Hungary has good reason to celebrate this weekend.
A fan’s tribute to Prime Minister Orbán’s March 15 speech has enjoyed remarkable success on Youtube. After the user posted the speech with subtitles in English and called attention to some of the very direct language in the prime minister’s address, the video post garnered more than 200 thousand views within the first week of being published. When I last checked yesterday, the video had 6,000 likes, 100 dislikes and over 3,000 overwhelmingly positive comments.
Here we go again: a new social issue on the menu. This time it’s education occupying the domestic public sphere as Hungarian teachers voice their concerns over the elements of an overdue structural reform of public education.
In February, I posted a few examples of how certain leaders were beginning to sing a distinctly different tune on the growing migration challenge. The title of the post was “Migration and European Borders: That Moment When Other EU Leaders Sound Like Prime Minister Orbán.”
Over the past few years, Hungary has been subject to its fair share of double standards from the European Union. Having been wrongly accused of curtailing the freedom of the press, undermining checks and balances and the rule of law, the Orbán government, although cleared on all charges, was labeled the EU’s “black sheep”. A familiar narrative has emerged in Poland.
First reactions are often the same: grief, condolences, sympathy, words to remember the victims and to comfort the families. Hungary’s highest representatives, President Áder and Prime Minister Orbán, were among the first European leaders to express their condolences through letters to their Belgian counterparts.
As the cost of raising children increases, Hungary’s government has singled out soaring housing prices as a major hindrance to families who want to own their home and have more children. To ease the financial burden, the government has passed legislation that provides support for home ownership.
Prime Minister Orbán, President of the Central Bank György Matolcsy and Minister for National Economy Mihály Varga appeared together this week at an event hosted by the Hungarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. Recent weeks have brought a good deal of upbeat economic data related to 2015, so there was plenty of reason to be bullish on 2016.
Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér announced last week that Hungary is declaring a nationwide state of emergency due to the increasing volume of mass migration on the Western Balkans route. As a result, reinforcements have been deployed to the borders to provide additional security and be on the lookout for people trying to cross illegally.
I took part in a panel discussion recently about international media coverage of Hungary. The panel was part of an event announcing the release of the latest edition of an analysis published every year by Nézőpont Intézet, a think tank in Budapest.
On Monday, heads of the European Union member states gathered for yet another summit, attempting to reach an agreement on how to respond to the migration crisis that the EU has been struggling with now for more than a year.
“The smart Hungarian goes to Berlin through Munich” – PM Orbán receives Bavarian PM Seehofer in Budapest
The first thing we learned from last Friday’s joint press conference following the meeting between Prime Minister of Bavaria Horst Seehofer and Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is what they didn’t do during their meeting.
“Here, there will be no breaking through of the [border] fence, no immigrant uprisings, no refugee camps set on fire and all kinds of gangs will not be out on the hunt for Hungarian women, our wives and daughters. This is impossible, it cannot happen,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. “From this perspective, we will not make Europe out of Hungary. This will remain a safe place.”
“As I see today,” Prime Minister Orbán said, “there are so many problems – and you know it too, that problems don’t just mean trouble, they mean an opportunity as well – within the European Union that many countries have taken up with or are taking up with the idea of creating a deeper form of integration after the common currency. And that puts us, every country, which is not a part of the Eurozone, up to a challenge.”
As the EU Moves to ‘the Hungarian Solution on Migration,’ Says PM Orbán, Hungary Must Let the People Decide in a Referendum on the Quota System
European leaders gathered in Brussels earlier this month for a European Council meeting on Britain’s proposed reform plans and again on the migration crisis. Though often heated and sometimes personal, the debate took Europe closer to the solution that Hungary and others have been proposing for months on migration: restore order at Europe’s borders before anything else.
Prime Minister Orbán has had a busy travel agenda in recent days, visiting Jakarta, Ulan Bator, Moscow, Brussels, and Prague — and in the same week, Polish Prime Minister Beata Szydło paid a visit to Hungary. The prime minister wasn’t the only one on the road of late. Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Peter Szijjártó also traveled to the United States last week.
Clearly, the debate about migration and strengthening Europe’s external borders has taken a turn. Following renewed fighting around the city of Aleppo, nearly 600,000 Syrian migrants are reportedly bound for Europe, compelling Austria and Germany to change their positions on the question of border protection.
The latest economic data is out. Hungary’s GDP grew in 2015 by 2.9 percent, beating the forecasts, and other preliminary data shows the debt-to-GDP ratio shrinking to 75.5%. A shrinking debt along side GDP growth indicates that this economy is growing organically, not from financing. In fact, last year was encouraging on a number of economic fronts.
Clearly, the debate about migration and strengthening Europe’s external borders has taken a turn. Following renewed fighting around the city of Aleppo, nearly 600 thousand Syrian migrants are reportedly bound for Europe, compelling Austria and Germany to change their positions on the question of border protection.
That Hungary and Russia have managed to improve relations, particularly in the current international climate, is first and foremost “rooted in the sense of responsibility” and marks “a true miracle,” said Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán yesterday following his annual meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Today, leaders of member states of the European Union gather for another summit of the European Council. This time, it’s to grapple with responses to the migration crisis as well as the British reform proposals for the European Union.
“It is a fact that one should act cautiously not to [unnecessarily] limit the rights of freedom, but people’s security comes first,” Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said Friday morning during his regular interview with public radio.
Last week, one of France’s credit insurance companies, Coface, presented a report on the world economic outlook for 2016. In the report, Coface named only one country eligible for a credit rating upgrade: Hungary.
Schengen Must Be Protected on the Frontier, Not by Re-Building Long-Ago Abolished, Internal Border Controls
The Schengen Area, first established in 1995, has eliminated border controls and allowed the free movement of people and goods in a vast geographic area that now spans 26 countries of Europe. The ongoing crisis of mass migration, however, has threatened to change all of that.