THE HUNGARIANS HAVE WON, BECAUSE ORBAN WON
What an Euro-disappointment! The Hungarians, having the only and unique occasion to get rid of the horrible ‘nationalist-rightist’ government and its leader – Viktor Orban and elect a new government which would be full of dignity, competent, popular and respected in the world, to which they have been encouraged by their euro-Atlantic politicians for a long time, did not use this occasion. In parliamentary elections which have just taken place, oblivious of the supreme euro-instructions coming from everywhere and massively – because with the half of votes – they supported Fidesz and a politician being a symbol for Brussels of everything which the worst in the European Union.
What did Fidesz go to elections with
Looking at the perspective of elections in 2014 a few years earlier, one could state without any doubt that the situation of the political party of Victor Orban would be extremely difficult and not predicting any chances for his success. Fidesz took over the authority after 8 years of the reign of the leftist party, which led Hungary to the verge of the economic and demographic catastrophe. Debts were nearly 90 per cent of the GDP, unemployment was increasing, as well as dependence on international financial institutions, caring only about their own interests and emptying pockets of the Hungarian citizens. Viktor Orban and his party started having a dilemma known to politicians: reforming the country either at the cost of cuts and austerities (if one has qualifications for it) and lose popularity, or marking reforms, holding posts tightly at the cost of pushing the country into the economic and political catastrophe.
Viktor Orban chose a way of reforms: he paid off debts in the International Currency Fund and thanked it for cooperation. He prevented the process of demographic degradation of the nation. He decreased the deficit to 3 per cent and reduced debts of the country. He decreased bureaucracy including the number of MPs, which was poor – 386 - in Hungary of 10 million population (surely for the sake of the country), and only half of them remained. Orban decreased unemployment, created beneficial conditions for the Hungarian economy to function and using his consistent economic policy, he assured the inflow of the foreign capital.
There is a basic question: at what cost did he do it and how did the Hungarians pay for the reforms and restoring economy? Well, Orban decreased taxes, introducing a linear tax (taxing foreign institutions, mainly the financial ones), a family with three children do not pay any taxes, whereas students receive free textbooks. The minimum salary was raised, the family business gained a friendly legal environment, allowing it for development, and prices for electric energy dropped by a few dozen per cent. The Hungarians, being in debts, pay lower interest rates, not mentioning liquidation of ‘advantages’ of credits in Francs.
Shortly speaking: Viktor Orban, a real statesman, realizes what he promised his electors, when taking over the authority: ‘Hungary is an independent country. The era of colonization has finished. Our important things is decreasing fees for media, liquidation of the regime of paying off credits in other currencies and saving families and their homes. Banks and big companies must get used to the new situation. Once they used to have a strong position and the socialistic governments used to bow before their power, but now it is us who are stronger. It is them which must get adjust to Hungary, not the other way round’. Well, in this comment I can only add that Orban faced a punishment for this anti-European attitude: his candidature was not submitted for any post in Brussels!
And where are Euro-congratulations?
Despite the fact that Victor Orban became successful, there are not any congratulations or appreciation coming from Brussels and Berlin, as well as other ‘brotherly’ capital cities. What is interesting, not only did Orban fulfill a range of recommendations of the Union referring to the budget matters, but also in elections he overcame a definitely euro-sceptic party of Jobbik, which gained 20 per cent votes. And Viktor Orban is a definite supporter of the European Union. The problem is in differences concerning the essence of membership in it, because the Hungarian politician sees the place in the united Europe in this way: ‘Electors confirmed that there is a place of Hungary in the EU, but only when the country has a strong national government. Hungary is a place again in which it is worth living, working and setting up one’s family. We declared that we would not reject the chosen path.
And why is there such a strong accentuating one’s own subjectivity in united Europe? Well, Orban understands very well what problems our native politicians have: ‘We do not have to love this institution [European Union] and many people do not love it, thinking righteously that it often addresses us in the form of a dictate. (…). However, we must not lose the common sense and bang our head against the wall, like Jobbik used to do it. As I used to say – who is not sitting at the table, he will quickly get to the menu’. I can also add that somebody who does not understand this truth, he does not get to the menu but he gets to a dishwasher with the remnants from a plate.
So, no wonder, that dealing with the politician who understands the Hungarian raison d’etat, many EU chiefs dream about Orban’s competitors. And why are the Hungarian socialists pleased with such respect in the international arena – as the Polish Press Agency quotes, Orban explained that they are looking at Brussels similarly as they used to look at Moscow in the old good times: ‘with unconditional devotion’. Everything which appeared on the national basis, is for them either dangerous or lagged behind’ – said Orban.
Who will win another round?
Successful elections do not put end to a fight for the future of Hungary – because in politics competition and cooperation are still going on – but they are bringing it into a new phase. Because Orban’s opinions are irreformable from the point of view of Brussels, it seemed that there was a chance of convincing him of the change of his attitude with other arguments. Here one Hungarian atom power plant in Paks survived till its technical time. It could be possible to connect construction of the new power plant based on western technologies with a wallet of political demands, but the Hungarian prime minister aware of it, skillfully maneuvering between the East and the West, entrusted its renovation and development to the Russians, in this way avoiding getting involved in applying for a permission from Brussels.
What is significant are the evaluations of spectacular successes of Hungary, coming from international financial institutions: ‘For Orban it is important to resign from short-term, temporary political moves for the sake of more stability and trustfulness’ – said Timothy Ash from Standard Bank. These opinions are accompanied by Reuters: ‘Further unpredictable policy of Orban may be reflected on the forint, especially if the chief of the central bank and a close ally of the prime minister will decrease interest rates which are already relatively low’.
And the cat was let out of the bag – a comprehensive reform of the country, carried out with nearly a thousand of thoughtful and professionally carried out acts, is so contradictory with the international capital, that it deserves the term of ‘short-term, temporary political moves’ and is ‘unpredicatble’! However, it depends on for whom because reforms which are definite and successful are a clear encouragement for the international capital for investing in Hungary. As it is seen, also in finances the point of view depends on the point of sitting (and profit).
This perspective limited to one’s own needs is also seen in Polish stifled reactions to the success of Fidesz. It is how an expert from the Polish Institute of International Matters comments on the success of Orban: ‘The victory of Fidesz is surely a phenomenon in the European scale’. It can be justified with a few factors: a bright informative policy, weakness of the opposition and also with the fact that the party succeeded in making an impression that it is just the party which is the only credible representative of the Hungarian national interest. What was helpful in the victory were also the decisions made just before the elections, like the decrease of prices for electric energy and opening the fourth line of underground in Budapest’. And: pro-family policy, fight against discrimination of the native economy and native civil initiatives, not professional managing finances or a political vision characterizing the prominent statesman, but ‘bright informative policy’! Well, such miracles are only in Poland! Let them come true.
The author is a professor at the Papal University of John Paul II in Cracow