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Another warning from Clinton; no direct criticism from Merkel

December 29th, 2011

Right wing Magyar Nemzet is sarcastic about letters from the Chairman of the European Commission and the US Secretary of State to the Hungarian PM, while left wing Népszabadság speculates about the lack of public criticism towards Hungary on the part of the German government.

Hillary Clinton “basically put her earlier words into writing,” Peter Szijjártó, the Prime Minister’s spokesman said, describing the letter sent by the US Secretary of State to Viktor Orbán before Christmas. According to Népszabadság, the letter reiterates US concerns about the independence of the Hungarian judiciary, the country’s new church law and the freedom of the media. A new element is criticism of the Hungarian authorities’ recent decision to give the Budapest frequency of Klub Rádió, a left-wing talk radio station to a music radio company.

Magyar Nemzet thinks prominent Western critics would like the Hungarian left wing to have broader access to the political decision-making process. To back up this thesis, deputy editor-in-chief Gábor D. Horváth quotes from a statement by the Hungarian EU Commissioner László Andor, a left-winger himself, who said the former Prime Ministers of Greece and Italy were replaced with politicians „who are capable of building bridges between government and opposition parties.”

Horváth ironically interprets that statement as suggesting that „Hungarian democracy which apparently does not exist at the moment, is supposed to be re-established in blatant disregard of the results of democratic elections,” which gave  the present governing parties a 2/3 majority in parliament.

According to that logic, the pro-government columnist continues, real democracy would require widespread political support from those who were ousted from power by the electorate.

Népszabadság believes that Germany is concerned about what is described as growing nationalism in Hungary, although Berlin has not expressed that concern in public, unlike Mr Barroso (See BudaPost December 22) or Ms Clinton.

The commentator, Edit Inotai suggests that in the eyes of German officials, the Hungarian government is becoming more and more like the Kaczynski party in Poland and is seen not only as a political danger, but as a source of instability for German investors in Hungary. The German press is openly critical of current trends in Hungary, as are the opposition Social Democrats. The conservative Merkel government, however, does not want to jeopardize economic co-operation and presumably does not believe in frontal attacks.

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