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Will Orbán manage to be tough, and still ready to compromise?

March 22nd, 2012

A conservative philosopher believes Prime Minister Orbán should use more diplomatic language in his argument with the European Union, but admits that Brussels gives him little room to make concessions without losing face.

“Mr Orbán has always been successful when he stuck to his guns, whatever hardship and resistance he had to overcome” – Ferenc Hörcher explains in Mos Maiorum, in an analysis of the Prime Minister’s controversial speech last week during Hungary’s national holiday (See BudaPost, March 20).

Such a policy implies that adversaries must be found and challenged, he continues. The philosopher regards it as unfortunate that after successfully fighting former Hungarian Socialist leaders, the Prime Minister has now turned on the Commissioners of the EU and those Members of the European Parliament who openly criticise his policies.

He remarks, however that Viktor Orbán is by no means being treated with velvet gloves by Brussels. As soon as Hungary makes a concession, he writes, she is challenged by some other European organisation – this time by the Venice Committee of the Council of Europe which questions the legitimacy of the new Hungarian constitution.

The professor admits that in his reactions to the mounting international pressure last week, Mr Orbán used grossly exaggerated anti-globalisation rhetoric, but he suggests at the same time that the Prime Minister’s claim to represent “another Europe, when he insists on national sovereignty,” is a legitimate one.

Hörcher believes that the European Union in its present form is becoming the prey of a few narrow business élites, but remains unconvinced that Viktor Orbán’s new ideology will be able to compete with “the status quo”. If he wants to succeed, the philosopher contends, he must take his cue from those figures of Hungarian history who were able to negotiate and compromise.

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