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Reflections on the elections in France and Greece

May 8th, 2012

Commenting on last weekend’s elections in France and Greece, a left-wing and a liberal conservative analyst both warn that the Hungarian government may be put under increasing international financial and political pressure as discontent with austerity measures increases throughout Europe.

The financial crisis has already ousted several leaders from office, Endre Aczél points out in Népszabadság, in a comments on last weekend’s French elections. The left-wing analyst points out that the only lesson that can be drawn from a series of elections in Europe over the past years, is that people are fed up with the austerity measures introduced in response to the financial crisis, regardless of whether this was done by right or left-wing governments.

As for the impact on Hungary, Aczél admits that Orbán commands an impressive parliamentary majority, and can therefore afford to speak about the “torments of Europe”. But the “tormented”, he continues, once they get over the election hurdle, may one day extort a high price for the special taxes he has imposed on foreign companies and investors (see BudaPost April 30).

The new French President will most probably be an enemy of the Hungarian government,” Véleményvezér writes. The liberal conservative blogger believes that austerity measures in France and Greece can hardly continue for long after Sunday’s elections, which were won by parties opposing restrictions. If uncertainty about cuts in Greece increases, international investors may also turn away from other heavily indebted countries, including Hungary. As for France, Véleményvezér predicts that President Hollande will try to salvage its pro-Europe image by stepping its defence of democratic values. If this happens, an obvious target of such symbolic politics could be Hungary, a country whose conduct towards basic European norms has been under criticism across Europe for several months.

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