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Weeklies on the Prime Minister’s address

August 1st, 2022

The six opposition-leaning weeklies condemn practically in unison the speech delivered by the Prime Minister last Saturday. One pro-government weekly simply summarises his words, while another praises his central message.

The Prime Minister has been widely criticised for his use of the expression ‘mixed race’ in his customary summer address at his party’s annual ‘Summer University’ in Băile Tușnad (Transylvania).  He later admitted, at a press conference in Vienna, that he ‘sometimes uses language that can be misunderstood’. (See BudaPost, July 26 through 30). In her reaction to that remark, his long-time social inclusion advisor Zsuzsa Hegedüs, who had resigned in protest, declared she was satisfied with his explanation.

In its editorial, 168óra recalls that over the years, the Prime Minister has always used the annual opportunity at Băile Tușnad to project his vision for the future of Hungary and the World. This time, the editor writes, he made a huge mistake by mentioning race in order to express his rejection of the prospect of a multicultural society. In a sarcastic final remark, 168 óra thinks the Prime Minister had better elaborate on another short sentence in his speech, namely about his age: ‘I am on my way out of my political career’.

That point is repeated, although in a much more sanguine style, by Heti Világazdaság’s Árpád W. Tóta. He wishes that the Prime Minister were moving ‘faster on his way out’. He calls Mr Orbán a man ‘who has grown into a moron and is unable to behave himself’, which Tóta would not mind if Hungary ‘could get rid of him… But it can’t’, he adds.

In a similar vein in Élet és Iroddalom, Zoltán Kovács suggests that earlier leaders who talked about ‘racial hygiene’ ended up either going mad or dragging the world into fearful catastrophes. He accepts that personally speaking, the Prime Minister is not a racist, but nevertheless condemns pro-government pundits who have tried to explain away Mr Orbán’s utterances.

In their first page editorial, the editors of Magyar Narancs simply describe the Prime Minister as a crazy ‘pseudo-prophet’ who is a hundred percent convinced of his semi-divine powers. They find it strange that two-and-a-half million compatriots fall for what they call his ‘lies and infantile stupidities’.

Reacting to the Prime Minister’s words in Băile Tușnad about the need to keep alive as much as possible of Hungary’s traditional friendship with Poland after serious disagreements surfaced on the war in Ukraine, Magyar Hang’s Attila Tibor Nagy fears that Hungary will remain without allies within the European Union. He also finds it telling that the Premier had much more severe words about Slovakia and the Czech Republic whose leaders, in addition to being also tough on Russia, are moving closer to the European Commission. All in all, Nagy suggests, the war in Ukraine has invalidated Mr Orbán’s earlier strategic assumption that Hungary can simultaneously build fruitful relations with Western powers and Russia.

In Jelen, Tamás Fóti finds it extremely strange that the Premier should have sent his Foreign Minister to Moscow to negotiate on supplementary gas deliveries at a time when the Russian government is a pariah in the Western world. He interprets that move as proving that Mr Orbán doesn’t believe he can unlock the European funds which have been frozen out of rule of law considerations. Otherwise, he believes, he wouldn’t have dispatched his foreign minister to Moscow.

Mandiner devotes a lengthy report to the Băile Tușnad events and publishes a summary of the Prime Minister’s speech, including his remarks on races – but abstains from commenting on them.

By contrast, Demokrata editor András Bencsik praises the Prime Minister for tracing a path along which Hungary may avoid what he sees as the probable recession and overall crisis building up in the Western world. Key milestones on that path, he suggests, include staying out of the war (in Ukraine), and avoiding both mass migration and the planned global taxation rules.

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