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Parliament rejects Tavares report

July 6th, 2013

Liberal and left leaning commentators find PM Orbán’s indignation over the EP resolution unfounded and hypocritical, while a Christian Democrat portal suggests the European Right dislikes Mr Orbán because he reminds them of their own cowardice. A pro-government daily finds it ridiculous that a former minister of a Socialist government now poses as a Conservative MEP.

The Hungarian Parliament passed a resolution on Friday 5th July, condemning the resolution adopted by the European Parliament two days earlier (see BudaPost, July 3 and 4). The Tavares report contains a long list of legislative and policy changes European institutions should require Hungary to introduce. The Prime Minister told the European Parliament on Tuesday that the document was unacceptable for it envisages putting Hungary under tutelage.

In HVG, an editorial column accuses the Prime Minister of lying, when he claimed that the resolution rode roughshod over the EU Treaty. Although Euro-sceptics may buy the argument that Brussels equals Moscow*, HVG argues, if there is anyone who wants to take Hungary under tutelage it is the Prime Minister himself, under whom the state was granted direct control over just about anything from land to hospitals, from tobacco shops and pharmacies to financial cooperatives and teachers. Mr Orbán says he does not want to live in a system where the majority abuses its power, but “neither do we”, the liberal weekly concludes.

*The PM denies having compared Brussels to the Soviet Union. He said Brussels is not Moscow, and shouldn’t therefore impose its will on Hungary.

In Népszava legal expert Attila Antal also calls Mr Orbán’s statements cynical – the concessions in the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution are mostly verbal “tinkering”, he suggests, as some provisions have been simply transferred into another bill, such as the right of the government to levy new taxes in case rulings by the Constitutional Court or EU institutions deprive the Treasury of planned revenues. The second major concession – that the head of the National Judicial Office will lose the right to transfer trials from one court to another – has been  presented to the public as a decision that will cost the taxpayer billions. In any case, Antal concludes, these concessions to the EU are typical of the Prime Minister’s strategy: to make a few token gestures when he is “up against the wall” but “without drawing the poison out of the constitution”.

In Kerdem.hu, a Christian Democrat blog, Balázs Szolomayer says left-liberals forget about the very values they treasure, criticism and free debate, when they cry heresy if someone dares to criticize Europe. The debate is about Hungary’s place in the world, while no one can deny that Hungarian political leaders sought an alliance with Western Christianity throughout Hungarian history. Left-liberals despise patriotism and put all their faith in Europe – a frame of mind typical of Marxist thinkers, claims the author. Yet this Europe is ruled by sixty-eighters who define European values by their opposition to national feelings and religion. The European right has lost the initiative, “they sit with their heads bowed” and dare not speak up over questions of morality. This is why they “don’t like” Orbán, Szolomayer concludes, “a leader who is not ashamed of being on the political right”.

In Magyar Hírlap, László Domonkos concurs: he finds the fact that MEP Lajos Bokros now calls himself a Conservative an abomination. (In the debate in the European Parliament, Mr Bokros spoke as a member of the Conservative group, and told Mr Orbán that he was not only criticised by left-wingers.) Conservatives stand for tradition, values and humanism “even in the sorry state which Europe is in,” while all Bokros did as Finance Minister in 1995, he recalls, was to introduce neoliberal economic measures that destroyed the very values of conservatism. “European idiots” may not be aware of this, he concludes, but Bokros and his party who daringly call themselves “Hungarian Conservatives” have no inkling of conservative values.

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