Entries RSS Feed Share Send to Facebook Tweet This Accessible version

Weeklies reflect on Angela Merkel’s visit

September 2nd, 2019

More than a week after Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany praised Hungary’s performance in applying European structural and cohesion funds, a pro-government columnist still rejoices while left-wing and liberal authors still feel deceived.

In Demokrata, Péter Bándy regards Chancellor Merkel’s words of praise (See BudaPost, August 22) as particularly painful for the opposition as left-liberal politicians and authors often level accusations of corruption against the government in connection with the use of European funds. When Mrs Merkel said Hungary was using those funds in a way to improve the lives of the population, Bándy writes, she praised the Hungarian government for something the opposition regularly uses to smear the government’s reputation. Quoting political analyst Örs Farkas, Bándy finds it strange that the opposition should expect foreign politicians to solve their own problems. In other words, he argues, the opposition should worry about their own performance rather than Mrs Merkel’s remarks.

In a long article in Magyar Narancs, over two full pages, former liberal MP Tamás Bauer, now a leading supporter of the Democratic Coalition, accuses the government side of falsifying the key events of the transition to democracy 30 years ago. He fulminates against Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s interpretation of the event the anniversary of which he celebrated with Chancellor Merkel. The Prime Minister told the public that they and the East German refugees had broken through the ‘prison fence’ separating Hungary from Austria. In reality, Bauer argues, the border police let dozens of East Germans through the border because they had been allowed to do so by the government. The same government later let tens of thousands of East German refugees out, he recalls. The Prime Minister of that government, Miklós Németh is still alive and Bauer finds it unacceptable that instead of being invited to the ceremony, Mr Németh was only offered a chance to speak at a panel discussion, an offer ‘he declined, of course’. Under these conditions, ‘it is a pity’, Bauer concludes, that Mrs Merkel practically legitimised the government’s behaviour and interpretation of the events in 1989.

In 168 óra, editor Ákos Tóth interprets Angela Merkel’s words as a positive gesture towards Prime Minister Orbán. The reason why she ‘did a favour’ to the Hungarian Prime Minister, he suggests, is that Mr Orbán supported the election of her candidate, Ursula von der Leyen to head the European Commission. An additional reason he mentions is that the Hungarian government ‘is giving all possible and sometimes even more than rationally acceptable support’ to German companies operating in Hungary. The lesson Tóth draws from the story is that all those who expect ‘Big Brother’ to solve what Hungary cannot solve itself and rid Hungary of Viktor Orbán, whom they themselves elected to government, have been unsurprisingly disappointed by the events of the anniversary.

Tags: ,