Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán claims to be not only a good Christian, but the savior of Christian Europe. And yet there is very little about his government’s policies that can be considered Christian. It lies. It steals. It bears false witness. It sows rancor and division among its friends. It sets convicted axe murderers free. It perpetrates unconscionable acts of political revenge. It distributes billions in EU and state subsidies to prominent Fidesz supporters even as it deprives millions of Hungarians of the means to feed their children. It prosecutes civil society and political opposition leaders on trumped up charges, even as it turns a blind eye to ruling party politicians engaged in everything from influence peddling to prostitution to the systematic theft of state assets. And it spends billions of forints every year deliberately manipulating and distorting the truth. In short, there is very little about the current government that could be considered “Christian” and much that could be considered outright evil.
We, the signatories of this proclamation are fully aware of the severity of the refugee situation and the problems posed by the thousands of people arriving every day to the Hungarian border.
The solution of this complex problem implies logistics, humanitarian and immigration issues. Law only plays a small part in it. A miracle that solves the problem is beyond the realm of law.
The legal measures the Hungarian government has just introduced are going to be insufficient. The Hungarian judiciary is not an immigration authority. It is incapable of dealing with this amount of cases under such conditions. Impartial, just and equitable decisions are severely threatened by the new legislation.
There is no doubt that the EU, and particularly some of its member states, faces an acute challenge in the form of increased number of people trying to get to Europe. Some politicians have proposed deploying military forces to protect EU external borders and to stop the incoming people before they reach the EU territory. 1 Those who believe that the military is the right solution are not just simply wrong, they also contribute to increasing the real problem that the EU and the European societies currently need to tackle.
His Holiness the Pope will say a prayer on Sunday at St. Peter’s Square for the 71 refugees found dead along the Austrian highway. The Pope has raised his for voice for the refugees many times. Earlier for example he made a comparison to the rejection of refugees to war, saying, “it is violent, it is murder”. In June, he addressed those who close their borders to refugees, calling on them to beg the Lord’s forgiveness. Last year, in his speech during a plenary session of the European Parliament, he called attention to the plight of the many Africans that perished while crossing the Mediterranean a tragedy, and said it was unacceptable that the Mediterranean has become a graveyard. His Holiness continues to follow the teachings of Jesus, in which the Savior sides with the welcoming traditions of the Jews, the tradition that encouraged the people of Israel to welcome to the Moabitess Ruth, the tradition that allowed for Ruth to become the grandmother of King David.
The scene at Budapest’s Keleti train station is returning to normal. Trains are running again, and most of the thousands of desperate people stranded there last week are on their way to other, more hospitable countries in Europe. Hungary, a country rarely in the news, is already fading from the headlines.
The Orbán system is damaging to Hungary. Our Democracy is not liberal, freedom of the press is limited, and the division of power is inadequate—but we live in neither a dictatorship nor a fascist state” said Péter Esterházy to German weekly Der Freitag.
I hesitated for a long time whether to accept Ákos Mester’s flattering invitation to state my opinion regarding the possibility of an emotional large coalition, party because I have lived in Vienna for more than half a century and am rarely in Budapest (and I do not know the capital outside of the capital). But the reason was primarily because I do not believe that the system can be changed within the foreseeable future, and perhaps not after the 2018 election either.
The goal of the honest politician and his party is to promote the public weal. A democratic politician understands the public weal to mean human rights, the rule of law, ensuring representative democracy, the “clean hands” state, and the inviability of private property, just as it means a sustainable, sustaining economy and strong societal solidarity.
Despite political stability and excellent economic figures, we cannot talk about the Tapolca results as a surprise. The country already acknowledged and assessed the excellent crisis-management of the government, and its continuation. And they have a lot of problems with it. So much so that in a single stroke last Sunday Fidesz lost its 20th strongest electoral district. The Upper Balaton region is not exactly a rusty spot on the Hungarian map encumbered with masses of unemployed Roma, meaning it is not at all your typical Jobbik heartland.
For example, when László L. Simon defended Sunday shop closures by stating that “the majority of Hungarian citizens subscribe” to the notion of “prioritizing normal communal programs and family life before shopping.” Dear Mr. Undersecretary, this was not what you lied about before, but that you do this to protect the free Sunday of shop employees. It would be even better not to admit that in his self-content and power hungry way, he fantasizes about the how the people, handled as immature, expects him to prepare their schedule, tell them how to spend their money, or how to organize their family lives. Please just carry on with the previous lie about how you can cancel a working day without a decrease in wages, dismissals and economic setback!