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Right-wing complaints against international pressure on Hungary

February 13th, 2012

Right-wing commentators feel that Hungary is being unfairly accused of anti-democratic tendencies and unjustly put under pressure, but a business analyst says it has to comply with the demands put forward by the European Union.

In an extensive interview on Info Radio, Fidesz MEP George Schöpflin says “the left wing abroad thinks a fascist dictatorship with blood on its hands is being installed in Hungary.” Schöpflin, a former lecturer at the London School of Economics who lived in Great Britain from 1949 to 1990, thinks the Left needs an enemy to be able to define its own identity, and has pinpointed Hungary to play the role of that enemy. This is how the MEP describes the way European left-wingers think:  “We are left-wing, because we defend Europe from an emerging right-wing authoritarian regime,” which is supposed to be Hungary. Schöpflin also blames “scores of Western newsmen” for being part of that scheme out of sheer sensationalism. “They come to Hungary, they happen to fall on exactly the same five to six people or go to Gyöngyöspata (see BudaPost) to find the story they are after.”

In Magyar Nemzet, Ágnes Seszták compares the debate within a European parliamentary committee on Hungary to the show trials of the early 1950s, where the verdict always preceded the hearings. Hungary’s civil society was represented by extremely peripheral anti-government organisations, with the  exception of a pro-government NGO, she complains, then strongly criticises EU commissioner Neelie Kroes who said “silencing opposition Klub Radio impairs media pluralism”, after having been personally informed by  Kub Radio owner András Arató, but refusing to meet the representatives of the Hungarian media Authority. Ms Kroes also quoted an unnamed acquaintance who had told her that minorities are under regular police surveillance in Hungary. The left-wing MEPs would not listen to their roma fellow MEP Lívia Járóka who denied these charges . The right-wing commentator also deplores Hungarian Socialist MEP and former foreign minister Kinga Göncz, who told participants that the Hungarian government might pass laws in conformity with European standards, but does not represent the spirit of those standards. Seszták believes that brought the debate to levels of unprecedented absurdity.

In Magyar Hírlap, business commentator Csaba Szajlai says Hungary’s “unorthodox” economic policy methods have failed, therefore a shift in economic policy is unavoidable. The government has already realised that and the messages it has sent to the World lately, have contributed to strengthening the Forint against other currencies. Szajlai is convinced that after the upheaval against the IMF backed austerity measures in Greece and Romania, the International Monetary Fund is unlikely to impose sweeping restrictions. The EU, on the other hand, is demanding legal concessions before giving its backing to a credit line agreement. Since opening the credit line is vital for Hungary, there is no way out without heeding to those demands, Szajlai suggests. Hungary has made shy attempts to involve alternative investors, but there is no sign of rich Arab States or China rushing to buy Hungarian government bonds. Szajlai believes that the government is now returning to more orthodox economic policies and therefore he deems that a compromise with the international organisations is most likely to be reached.

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