It was exactly four years ago that bald thugs physically prevented István Nyakó from submitting a referendum on Sunday’s store closing on behalf of MSZP. So many outrageous things have happened since this event that this scene has obviously faded by now in the minds of people. However, it must continue to be a warning signal, a red flag, as his incident has clearly and unequivocally proven that Fidesz is capable of anything, considers every means permissible, and is not afraid to cross any legal or moral Rubicon. In fact, this scandal at the National Electoral Office did not happen out of the blue, either.Barely a year after it had come to power, Fidesz kicked the door down and made it clear that they would not give a damn about the law, morality or common law. It was a trifle, but it forecast all that was to come when they began their haughty, retaliation operations in 2011 by simply overtaking the Geographical Name Committee, after they disagreed with the renaming of Ferihegy Airport. They pushed the change through with force; those to resist were beheaded. Bam. We saw the same thing happening later with the infamous, horribly disgusting execution of the major circulation daily Népszabadság, on the grounds of lies. At the other extreme we see the same again in the children’s town of Fót, where for fear of Orbán’s National Cooperation System and overcompensation, the porcelain-spined management of the institute punished a boy in need of special care because in a song uploaded to the Internet he protested against the closure of the Children’s Town and the oligarchic government. I remind you of all of this, and I recall the images of István Nyakó and Fidesz’s hired bald men lined up against him, because we must not overlook any of these evil deeds. When MSZP courageously and consistently stood by the will of the people, and the orange power, as a last resort, sent thugs to physically prevent someone – in this case, my friend István Nyakó – from exercising his constitutional rights, it was the equivalent of shooting the Hungarian rule of law in the nape. I’m aware that the rule of law in this form does not move people all that much; (tragically, however) the hate propaganda on the posters provokes much more emotion among Hungarian citizens. Nonetheless, the event of four years ago must remain an important warning signal to all of us.
Especially now that the Fidesz government is asking people for their opinion on whether they like the content of a final court ruling in a publicly funded pseudo-consultation. Fidesz is merely announcing that legal security has now officially ended in Hungary. The ruling of independent courts will only be taken into account by the state authority when it pleases to do so. Ladies and gentlemen, this disgraceful step is a matter of principle, independent of the subject matter and content of the court ruling referred to in the pseudo-consultation, affecting the democratic system as such. I declare that where state-sent bouncers obstruct the constitutional exercise of law and where the cowardly president of the institution concerned (the National Electoral Office) who looked away can still remain in office, there is no legal security. However, where, in relation to the final court rulings, the government itself is organising a counter-campaign funded by public money and tries to exert pressure on the judiciary, there is ‘constitutional terror,’ if I may say so. And this is no joke. Look up the history books and see where nations concerned have been led by fascistoid state-building like this. The Duće had always failed in the end, of course, but a painful, burnt and bloody road led there that left serious damage behind.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
Is anyone still in doubt about why the CDU is not stopping Viktor Orbán’s illiberal frenzy? Let me tell you why they tolerate Fidesz’s anti-European policy: for money. It may sound harsh, but one can hardly think of a better explanation.
A few days ago, the announcement was published in the Hungarian State Gazette: Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has appointed the former EU Commissioner Günther Oettinger as co-chairman of the so-called “National Science Policy Council” in Hungary. That’s right, let that sink in: among others Oettinger will make decisions about how to use R&D and innovation resources distributed in Hungary.
Let’s be clear: this particular Council was set up by the Fidesz government after they trampled on academic freedom and European values in an outrageous manner and seized the entire academic research network, placing it in the hands of the state (more precisely, Orbán). The same Günther Oettinger will now lead this body, who as EU commissioner had found nothing dodgy earlier about the construction of a new nuclear power plant in Hungary as part of the Russian loan trap and flew to Budapest in 2016 on the private jet of a German businessman with particularly good Russian connections to meet Orbán.
This is simply astonishing. Everything is happening before our eyes, and they no longer bother to deny it. And the European right-wing, the dominant German Christian-Democratic party group simply looks away, perhaps not even ashamed. While you, our dear German friends, talk about safeguarding academic and university freedom and preach about defending European values and red lines, this is what’s going on in your party group, in the colony of Fidesz.
Is this why Angela Merkel and the German right have defended Fidesz and Viktor Orbán for years? Because, in spite of all his anti-multinational invectives, he keeps serving German economic interests and even plays the Hungarian R&D resources over to Oettinger?
Something deeply dark is unfolding, and you, our dear German friends, are getting more and more absorbed by this darkness. You can still step out its path. That is, if you want to.
MEP István Ujhelyi
Do not rush to judgement, because it’s not at all as easy as it might seem at first. In fact, I wouldn’t even suggest for right-wing opinion Hussars and government communications apprentices to put an equation mark between withholding the funds Hungary should get and treason just upon a gut feeling, as Viktor Orbán himself (as an opposition party leader at the time) demanded the same in 2006 in his speech before the People’s Party.
So easy now and be careful with calling anyone names for it may soon fall back on your own leader. And it is no coincidence that I pose the question now, as the next seven-year EU budget is currently being drafted. The new President of the European Council comprised of Heads of State and Government, Charles Michel of Belgium, has recently come up with a new proposal that is a tad more beneficial for Hungary: e.g. the envelope of cohesion funds may be thicker than previously proposed, but we are still to lose a great deal because of the policy Orbán’s National Cooperation System.
Of course, Viktor Orbán may be partly pleased that the President of the EUCO would make EU payments linked to observing the rule of law in a way, which would require a qualified majority in the Council, not to lift the blocking of funds but to order the suspension of payments in the first place. Heads of State and Government will meet in Brussels this Thursday to discuss this issue, among other things.
I would like to make it clear that I will not vote for a seven-year budget that provides a loophole for renegade governments; which tolerates and allows, for example, the Fidesz oligarch government to steal and use EU funds meant for Hungarian people for its own purposes. For the time being, we have successfully managed to get much more – albeit, in my opinion not enough – development resources, for example, for Hungary, contrary to the original budget proposal.
In this, the progressive majority of the European Parliament, the Social Democrats, the People’s Party, the Greens and the Liberals, acted jointly to make clear to the President of the European Council: with our absolute majority, we will veto the budget unless certain conditions are met, e.g. the significant increase of cohesion funds. The rule of law criterion and the pertaining mechanism are also essential, as the threat to European values and the theft of EU funds is systemic.
I have to represent the interests of Hungarian people, so I have to defend every single Eurocent, which does not serve to improve the lives of the Hungarian people but ends up in the safe of the Fidesz family mafia. Mechanisms must be found for the Union to provide resources directly, bypassing corrupt governments. In spite of Fidesz’s struggle against the rule of law stipulation, there is a very simple solution to the problem: just go back to being decent, adhere to the rule of law, and put an end to systemic state corruption.
Fidesz better join the European Public Prosecutor’s Office immediately, thereby demonstrating its commitment to transparency and the fair use of EU public funds. That’s how simple it is. We shall fight for the increase of the funds owed to Hungary in place of Fidesz, too, however, it is up to Fidesz alone to determine whether they will be blocked in the future. I cannot have and indeed have no other option but to use the tools at my disposal to ensure that the development funds owed to Hungarian people do not disappear on the way in the government’s public money suction-pump.
So there can only be one answer to the question in the title. The possible suspension of the payment of EU funds is not treason, but rather a patriotic act, as it prevents the public money owed to the Hungarian people from falling into the hands of a corrupt state mafia organisation. In a fair and sober world, the concept of treason would apply when support for the good of the country is intentionally stolen. So be careful with the wording! Especially those who have been abusing their position of power and have been elbow deep in the community’s money for years now.
MEP István Ujhelyi
They say, if something quacks like a duck, and waddles like a duck, it’s a duck. Well, if a government interest group steals public money the way a mafia-like gang does, and if it blackmails people the way you see it in mafia movies, then this well-defined circle is easy to describe as mafia.
In all honesty, it really resembles being in some sketchy Hollywood movie, because the style of how the Fidesz government negotiates, for example, the debts of hospitals with suppliers chasing their money, is far from normal. It was revealed that the government had made an offer (typical of Sicilian godfathers) to the companies concerned that if they were willing to waive 20 per cent of their claims, they would immediately receive the remaining 80 per cent.
We know that the negotiations are on-going at the Finance Ministry these days: representatives of companies with over HUF100 million in overdue receivables are being called in for bargaining. It is absurd in itself that the state bargains on an existing debt in a sneaky and threatening manner, but it is downright intolerable that they finish off small Hungarian business by non-payment. Not to mention that it raises EU competition law issues how the government only offers these shady deals to companies “only” above HUF 100 million claims. The way Fidesz behaves in this regard perfect depicts the state of healthcare in Hungary and its operation by the state. Even though the Orbán government has had all legal and political instruments for ten years (!), it has simply been unable to resolve this spiral situation. Or rather, to be precise, it didn’t want to.
It is a fact that Hungary spends much less on health, both in absolute terms and as a percentage of the GDP, than the EU average. In addition, barely more than two-thirds of health expenditure is funded by the state alone, so the level direct out-of-pocket contributions is double the EU average.
It is a fact that Fidesz has centralized the management and organization of healthcare: therefore it is solely the government to blame for the intenable situation, and not some sort of Sorosist-Martian-left-liberal conspiracy. It is a fact that while the Hungarian healthcare system is chronically underfunded, despite the HUF 70 billion – rightful – debt to suppliers, the government bargains in a mafia style. Let’s be clear, just by way of comparison: this HUF 70 billion is less than what the government has spent on false propaganda campaigns so far, and just over the sum of the public money that has landed on the Felcsút Football Academy’s account in recent years from TAO (corporate tax) support.
If the Hungarian government continues to treat healthcare as a tertiary area and does not consider providing adequate funding as a national priority, it will be forced to do so within the framework of the ‘European Minimum Healthcare Service’ I initiated. I firmly claim that every European, including every Hungarian, has the right to quality healthcare that guarantees patient safety and patient dignity. I therefore call on the government to settle its public debt to hospital suppliers as soon as possible and stop bargaining with the multinational companies and the ruining of hundreds of Hungarian small and medium size businesses. If necessary, for example, the HUF billion in question can safely be deducted from the HUF 90 billion annual public media budget, with the remaining amount well enough to sustain the poor quality and the lie factory of public media. It’s too much even.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
9 February, 2020
It is not the first time I have pointed out that the illiberal state of Orbán shows significant overlaps with fascist systems, however, now it is the Hungarian Prime Minister to confirm the accuracy of this characterization. Before the professional and voluntary agents of outrage take me to bits, let us be clear: fascism is not equal to Nazism. Unfortunately, in the Hungarian public discourse, these two concepts are rather intermingled, although there is a significant difference between the two alongside the overlaps and ideological interconnections. Both systems strive for totalitarianism, but Nazism used racial theory as one of its foundations, and although the Fascists were somewhat open to it as well, this was not the root of their state theory. The Putinist state as well as Orbán’s illiberalism can be referred to as fascistoid systems. From the writings of the Italian author and philosopher Umberto Eco, we know that fascism is the collective name for nationalist authoritarian regimes. Eco also summarized the essence of fascist systems in a clear and concise manner: it builds on the culture of tradition; embeds religion into national politics; stigmatizes disagreement; classifies the opposition as traitorous and claims they serve foreign interests; expropriates the notion of the nation; sweeps off all counter-arguments referring to the will of the majority; rejects parliamentarianism; distorts and magnifies the image of external and internal enemies; constantly emphasizes its masculine character, while reducing the role of women to the family and while being populist and elitist at the same time, led by a single Leader. There is no entry in this description that would not fit the system of national cooperation (NER). Fidesz supporters may, of course, think that this is all right and that this system is perfectly fine for them, but to deny that NER is a genuinely fascistoid system is a patently obvious lie. If only, because Viktor Orbán himself shall confirm this in the next few days. He will be one of the “guest stars” of a conference in Rome entitled “God, Nation, Honour” at which the possibilities of national conservatism will be discussed at length for two days. Neo-fascist politicians such as the extremely anti-EU and declaredly Putin-loving Matteo Salvini or one of the youngest aspirants of the also declaredly anti-EU, French LePen family, Marion Maréchal will also hold talks. Another keynote speaker of the event also shows clear choice of values: president of the Fratelli d’Italia / Brotherhood of Italy party Giorgia Meloni, who openly continues Benito Mussolini’s intellectual heritage, will also speak. A small addition is that the representatives of the latter, openly neo-Fascist, party sit in an EP group that cannot wait to embrace Fidesz with and whose members will no doubt include those of the EP delegation led by Tamás Deutsch after they leave the People’s Party.
After all of this, it is useless to deny that Viktor Orbán openly sympathizes with the neo-fascists of the world and has himself built a fascist political system in Hungary. The only question that remains is where this leads and what damage it causes to the Hungarian nation, which has once, together with the terrible spirit of Nazism and Stalinism, has thrown away this ideology and chased away its unprincipled high priests. It is only to be hoped that the end of the NER will not be the same as those of such systems: a war that comes as a shock.
dr. István Ujhelyi
Member of the European Parliament
2 February, 2020