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Reactions to Orbán’s visit to Germany

October 13th, 2012

Following the Hungarian Prime Minister’s talks with Angela Merkel, a pro-government daily warns against harsh condemnation of Germany in the right-wing media, as Berlin is an ally and “closer than we think.” In a short editorial Népszabadság suggests that in order to measure the results of Orbán’s visit we will have to count Hungary’s share of the EU’s cohesion and structural funds.In his Magyar Nemzet editorial Gábor Stier describes Berlin as the engine of a strong Europe. He believes that Orbán’s decision not to hide his Eurosceptic opinions, extending to the union itself, to the euro zone and his opinion that the cohesion funds should not be curbed, during his meeting with the German Chancellor, made this “a milestone event.” Beyond “arranging the affairs of Europe,” Merkel finally had the opportunity to hear directly from Orbán – “without media distortion” – how he sees the transformation and the economic reforms underway in Hungary. Beyond media criticism, however, German politicians also have their doubts. If Orbán could convince Merkel that his occasionally coarse remarks come from a political leader who wants to make Europe work better, and that the transformation he envisions for Hungary does not dismantle democracy, the meeting was a success. Stier warns critics who on the right vehemently attack Merkel that Germany is closer (to Hungary) then they would think.

Népszabadság’s editorial opens with the scene of a red fox chasing the pigeons round the square in front of the Berlin Chancellery. Journalists waiting for the press conference were busy taking pictures. But it is no less unusual, the author adds, that Chancellor Merkel, the main pillar of the European Union, should have talks with Orbán, “the freedom fighter.” However, anyone who expected dramatic developments was disappointed: Merkel decided to follow the philosophy of détente and decided to leave “the task of getting rid of Orbán to the citizens of Hungary.” “The Chancellor happens to be facing more important matters than that.” Two pro-EU politicians side-by-side, this was the impression Merkel and Orbán made; the question is, Népszabadság asks, what the outcome of the tug-of-war over the structural and cohesion funds will be.

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