Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

PM Orbán in Berlin

May 12th, 2014

Commenting on the Prime Minister’s speech in Berlin and his meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, a left-wing columnist believes that Mr Orbán’s vision is too conservative even for German Christian Democrats. Right-wing commentators, on the other hand, contend that the German government regards Hungary as an important and reliable economic and geopolitical ally.

At a joint press conference with Chancellor Angela Merkel before their meeting in Berlin on Thursday, Viktor Orbán called Germany a key strategic ally for Hungary and added that his government aimed to further improve bilateral relations. Commenting on the latest developments in Ukraine, PM Orbán supported German efforts to solve the crisis through diplomatic channels and said he was committed to creating a common EU stance on the issue. Chancellor Merkel said that PM Orbán’s landslide victory proved that Hungarians have confidence in his government, but added that such trust involves huge responsibility as well. Angela Merkel stressed the “importance of predictable legal conditions in Hungary,” and mentioned the existence of “a good number of successful cases of German-Hungarian cooperation”.

Addressing the “Europa Forum” organized by WDR public television, Mr Orbán said Hungary has benefitted from EU membership. He also said however that post-Communist countries cannot simply emulate western European practices if they want to overcome the problems they face. On current European issues, he emphasized the importance of Christian family values which he believes are crucial to tackle the demographic and civilizational challenges Europe is facing.

In Népszabadság, Edit Inotai speculates that Orbán wants to reverse what he sees as the post-1968 liberal developments in order to restore Christian conservative values. It is, however, highly unlikely that these “paleoconservative” views on the family are welcome in Germany, where even the Christian Democrats have become more tolerant of same sex marriage and other, non-traditional arrangements, Inotai notes. She does not believe that the traditional Christian family model will be helpful in overcoming the demographic crisis of European states, bearing in mind that more and more children are born out of wedlock.

Magyar Nemzet’s Gábor Stier believes that good relations with key strategic allies, first and foremost the Visegrád countries and Germany, are of paramount importance for Hungary. The conservative analyst points out that European politicians seem to acknowledge the achievements of the Orbán government and even copy some of his unorthodox economic policies which they criticized him for at first. Hungary needs the support of its allies in the EU in order to strengthen its lobby potential on the European level, Stier adds. Commenting on the Hungarian-German summit, Stier contends that Germany understands that Hungary’s economic opening to the East including Russia does not imply the weakening of her commitment to the European project.

After years of criticism, German politicians this time have struck a more conciliatory tone with PM Orbán, Gyula T. Máté remarks in Magyar Hírlap. Although German investors are still less than happy about surplus taxes levied on banks, telecom companies, retail chains and energy providers, they see these policies as lesser evils than a public revolt and boycotting of banks as it happened in Greece, the pro-government columnist maintains. He continues by pointing out that foreign investors are happy with Fidesz’s landslide victory, since a two-thirds government majority will guarantee stability and predictability. In addition to economic cooperation, Germany and Hungary also have foreign policy interests in common, Máté adds. Both countries are affected by the Ukraine crisis, recognize the utmost importance of territorial integrity, but at the same time Germany and Hungary are also dependent on Russian energy, and thus it is not in their interest to deepen the cleavage between Europe and Russia, Máté concludes.

Tags: , , , , , ,