Are these guy that ignorant or even crazy? Orbán held talks with Vladimir Orlic, the president of Serbia’s National Assembly,…
FIDESZ energy policy – chaos or strategy?
The Hungarian ruler has announced the day before yesterday that it is more important to import Russian gas than cheap gas, I reported about ►EN. FIDESZ members of the European Parliament (EP) have yesterday voted for ending the import of gas, oil, and coal from Russia and immediately to end the co-operation with nuclear power provider Rosatom, especially stopping the building of Paks 2 through Rosatom. Is this just a chaos, has Orbán lost grip on his party or is it a strategy to create facts hard to tell the FIDESZ voters otherwise?
That young parties are very much connected to a single person is not very surprising. In democratic countries these parties either survive their founder or disappear again. That a democratic party of relevance in its country would be dominated by a single person for more than 3 decades I am not aware of. This happens in autocratic ones, where a leader remains for lifetime. Since the beginning days FIDESZ is Orbán and Orbán is FIDESZ. This is a party that didn’t split, although the one or other member left through the years, but it absorbed other parties. The chairman is dominating the country in every single aspect. This is a party without a program, not even with a political concept, as long as we don’t qualify theft and power grabbing as political concept. Just a few days ago this chairman succeeded – regardless the applied means – in getting a percentage of votes in general elections as never before. Not only by the system of a sole ruler, but also by the measured results Orbán is in power not only in the country, but even more in his party. A party that is infamous for not accepting an opinion different from the chairman’s opinion – let alone voting differently. No, Orbán has a tight grip on his party, perhaps more tightened than ever before.
And still the sentence “Calls for an immediate full embargo on Russian imports of oil, coal, nuclear fuel, and on gas as swiftly as possible” is part of the EP decision as well as “to terminate collaboration with Russian companies on existing and new nuclear projects, including in Finland, Hungary and Bulgaria, where Russian experts can be replaced by Western ones” ►EN. All FIDESZ MEPs who took place in the seating, these were Andrea Bocskor, Andor Deli, Kinga Gál, Ádám Kósa, Ernő Schaller-Baross, and Edina Tóth voted in favour of the full text, none of the FIDESZ members voted against, none abstained. Chairman of the FIDESZ delegation Tamás Deutsch, as well as the KNDP member György Hölvényi, who still sits in the European Peoples Party EPP, as well as 5 others were absent. The voting results are here, under number RC-B9-0197/2022 – Proposition de résolution (ensemble du texte), starting on page 77 of the minutes ►EN/FR. Adopted with 513 votes, against 22 votes, abstained 19.
The same day RTL had a news item about the Hungarian overhead cut ►HU. Here it states that the estimated costs for the taxpayer during the current year are 1300 billion Forint or more than 3.4 billion Euro. The average Hungarian family causes costs of 320 000 Ft (842 €,) which is more than the state pays as social benefits or 6 % below the minimum pension. And here we mustn’t forget that this is no benefit for the poor, but a cut for everybody. Since the wealthy use even more energy than the poor they have even more profit from this measure. The old saying that the overhead cut heats the swimming pools of the FIDESZ elite is pretty true. And this in times of already extreme inflation and the highest debt ever. In times where the interest rates are skyrocketing and the EU is closing the money tap. Already in the end of March minister of finance Mihály Varga announced ►HU that “the most important task after the elections will be to adjust public finances to the economic difficulties caused by the war.” Of course he left out of his statement the irresponsible spending to win the elections, the war is not just a cheap excuse, but although causing economic problems only a part of the entire problem.
The usual statement of Orbán is that the Hungarian families mustn’t pay the price of the war. This is ridiculous. Not only because the price is paid by Ukrainians. But also because of the economic effects hit everybody. By ideological reasons Putin must not be found guilty. He must remain the good guy in the FIDESZ tale. Not for nothing yesterday the media council decided that also the pure Russian propaganda on the state news channel M1 is “objective and balanced reporting” ►HU. And of course Orbán never made a decision in favour of the poor part of the population, he always favoured the rich part. The poor pay more taxes since 2010, the rich less. The poor lost a lot of their purchase power, the benefits for the poorest have not been changed, but the wealthy suddenly may buy houses and cars sponsored by the state. And I am not even talking about the corrupt elite, but only about those in good jobs earning well.
Now we face a situation where the state is losing income by the economy in problems, by the EU stopping funding, while at the same time our finances are also in deep trouble by never seen spending regarding the elections. And someone has to pay for the skyrocketing energy prices. This means Orbán has no chance to finance everything “as usual.” He needs to decide whether to feed the oligarchs or to tamper energy prices. The 1st won’t end at all, the latter Orbán himself has made a matter of life and death during the campaign. On election day he said “we will see after the elections” and this week that he will keep the overhead cut “if possible.” Isn’t it a typical way for Orbán to agree with energy sanctions within the EU and blame the EU at home for higher gas prices, when import from Russia stops? Or to blame the EU for ending cheap electricity by telling them that the Russian nuclear power plant would have made everything so much cheaper?
Orbán just plays the nice guy in the EU to make a scapegoat from the EU at home to cover his own failures, perhaps the EU becomes so unpopular by blaming them that he finally can leave without his true believers would loose confidence. He had his largest success by telling his sheep that Ukraine attacked Russia and that Márki-Zay would send soldiers to Ukraine the day he would be elected. It is again just a very dirty strategy.
Great post István, spot on. This double-talk with the EU on one side, then the local audience in HU is quite astonishing; the guy must be clearly schizophrenic.
Hungary Today has a series of articles on this. It’s unbelievable how Fidesz says in Hun media exactly the opposite of what they claim in Brussels. But they don’t care-We’re only in the EU for money,!
The strategies of doing and saying one thing abroad while saying the opposite at home and blaming others for own actions, are essential defining characteristics of Fidesz’ public communication policy. It works well, because too few in Hungary actually care enough about politics to expose the contradictions.
But the resulting dramatic, entertaining intrigues are popular and generate mass support.
The EP vote is non-binding.
Orban can afford to look friendly in Brussels/Strasbourg but he knows well that the Council will decide.
Where Orban has an effective veto (as a lest resort) but most likely Germany will disagree and won’t support a very quick decoupling from the Russian oil/gas and nuclear is not even deal with (so Orban for sure can continue with it). Whatever happens in the long run is irrelevant, he will deal with it then. For now he is acting friendly, will get most of the EU funding (it doesn’t matter if its loans mostly), and that’s that, keeps his fiefdom.
So this is just part of the peacock dance – aimed at the Western political establishment. Orban shows his cooperative side but of course he won’t change a bit: Russian energy deals are on.
True that it is not part of legislation. But it is not less than agreement with the council: “European Parliament resolution on the conclusions of the European Council meeting of 24-25 March 2022” – at least this is the official title. This means not less that the EP and the FIDESZ MEPs agreed with the council on burying Paks 2 immediately and ending gas imports as soon as possible. Please note that the timeframe is different! There is no long run regarding Paks, at least not for Rosatom. BTW this was started by the EP earlier in March and the EP suggested the council to decide so. Including FIDESZ MEPs. Deutsch took place in that seating and declared that he voted against, while the minutes proved him voting in favour. Of course the EP was happy that the council decided as they suggested.
And funding? Did you miss that this will be over in summer? No credit anyway (although Orbán lies about there is no decision on it, can’t even be without a validated plan, which needs being passed by qualified majority in the council, and still there are only 2 refused plans from last summer.) The rest will dry out through the rule of law mechanism. The procedure officially begun, Orbán has nothing to offer to prevent voting (for sure he won’t start prosecuting his youth friend or his son in law or himself or join EPPO risking exactly the same) and more than the needed 15 governments are really waiting for this day.
The word ambiguous applies to EP declaration on natural gas cited by Istvan in today’s post and I want to thank him for a link to the actual text. It reads in part: “Stresses, once again, the importance of the diversification of energy resources, technologies and supply routes, in addition to further investing in energy efficiency, renewable energy, gas and electricity storage solutions and sustainable long-term investments in line with the European Green Deal; highlights the importance of securing energy supplies from the EU’s trading partners through existing and future free trade agreements to further reduce the EU’s reliance on Russia, particularly for raw materials; calls, furthermore, for common strategic energy reserves and energy purchasing mechanisms to be established at EU level with the aim of increasing energy security while reducing external energy dependency and price volatility; calls for work to be started on creating a gas union, based on common purchases of gas by Member States.”
Hungary can easily vote for this while still agreeing to Putin’s demand for gas payments to be made in rubles. Josep Borrell from the EU was interviewed on the US Public Television Network several days ago as I already commented on stating very openly there is no rule prohibiting EU nations from paying for natural gas in rubles.
Borrell was correct, the resolution said zero about the payment process to Russia. It was written with purposeful ambiguity. Borrell admitted this stating currently LNG transfers from the USA can’t replace Russian gas. It could take years or never for the vision of creating an EU gas union, based on common purchases of gas by Member States.
Of course it is ambitious. Not without reason the wording “as swiftly as possible” isn’t an exact deadline. Largest importer is Germany and they see possibilities to end this within 2 years. Poland and Latvia want to end already this year. These 3 countries had together with Hungary a share of above 50 % Russian gas import in the beginning of this year. All other countries import less. And all want to stop completely. Except Orbán, who wants Russian gas more than cheap gas. Besides, it is not only the USA delivering gas, which makes it easier. Concerning the payment in Ruble it is pretty easy: There is no EU ban in paying in this currency. It is a change in conditions of a contract. This always can be made if the parties agree. So the question should be: Why does Orbán agree? Yes! A different question is further payment in Euros on a special account at Gazprom bank for conversion. The choice of bank-account remains with the seller and the chosen bank is not banned by EU, this was especially done to be able to pay gas bills.
Looks like the Poland-Hungary alliance is at breaking point:
But it’s not a clean break Kaczyński still says stuff Hungary can’t keep going down this path if they expect relations to be maintained as in the past. Orban has been on this path for years now. Really Poland did not call out Orban for years until the reality of the war dawned on Kaczyński. As my grandfather used to say there are a lot of snakes in the grass waiting to attack each other when the time is right.
Unlike Poland, Hungary doesn’t seem to remember what the Russians/Soviets did during and after WWII.
I guess it depends on how long the war lasts as well, but the telex version of the politico article also says: “A lengyelek például a V4-ek találkozójától is távol maradtak korábban, mint indokolták, azért, mert „Magyarországot meg kell büntetni az oroszbarát hozzáállásuk miatt”.”
i.e. the Poles failed to attend the latest Visegrad 4 meeting beause, as they said: Hungary has to be punished for its pro-Russia approach
The economic sanctions against Russia do not work.
The Russian central bank lowered the key interest rate from 20% to 17% on April 8.
before February 28: 9.5%
February 28: 20%
April 8: 17%
EUR/RUB closing prices
2022.02.24: Invasion of Ukraine starts
I guess the value of the ruble is just one indicator, and sanctions are far from perfect as a short-term measure to hit Putin personally.
The really effective sanction would be to break away from dependence on Russia’s natural resources, which seems to be a tougher nut to crack, especially for some countries
These heavy sanctions are BOUND to WORK – in addition to denying many imports, they compel Russia to find new markets, bus counterparts, investors and makes many activities more expensive.
After Orban decreed it an “investment of extraordinary national importance“, Orban’s government office gave a special permit for Russian oligarch Rahimkulov (Kazany & Felcsút) to build a 332-apartment building next to the Dagály spa, against the objection of the local government of district 13 of Budapest.
Orban took away the Dagály spa, without compensation, from the Budapest municipality in 2015.
This building will not be a just a huge condominiuim, because “half of the building will be underground”.
Correction: will not be just a huge condominium,
Here is the connection between Orban, Rahimkulov, porn multi-millionaire Gattyan (who created a fake party for the 2022 election), which included a smear campaign against the mayor of Budapest, when Orban still expected mayor Karacsony to lead the opposition.
The “governments” of South Osetia, Lugansk and Donietsk announced yesterday and today their desire to become part of Russia.
Russia kidnaps, murders and replaces the elected mayors with appointed pro-Russian ones in the newly occupied south Ukrainian towns.
The obvious aim is to recreate the Taurida Governorate of Russia (1802-1917), which included the Crimean peninsula.
The composition of Taurida by mother tongue according to the 1897 Russian census was the following:
Ukrainian: 42.21% (611,121)
Russian: 27.94% (404,463)
Tatar: 13.60% (196,854)
German: 5.41% (78,305)
Yiddish: 3.83% (55,418)
Bulgarian: 2.85% (41,260)
Greek: 1.25% (18,048)
Russians were the majority only in the Sevastopol and in the Kerch districts, both are located in the Crimea.
Religious composition in 1897:
Roman Catholic: 29,393
Old believer: 13,724
Armenian Gregorian: 7,494
I watched yesterday an interview by Amanpour on CNN with Zoltan Kovacs. Kovacs explained these things. First that Hungary relies almost exclusively on Russian gas and oil supplies. Next that the EU has no common procurement policy in place and third that this system was not put in place by Fidesz. Unfortunately, Amanpour who is not always in command of the facts or of the interview failed to ask a number of question as follows. Maybe some of you know the answers.
She did not ask him whether Hungary has put down any initiative to set up a common procurement arrangement. She did not ask him what steps Hungary is taking now to get away from the current almost complete reliance on Russian energy supplies. Nor did the lady ask him how it was that during the last 12 years Hungary has not taken any step to change the system it inherited which has left the country seriously exposed to Russian influence.
Totally off topic but of interest to those who read my comments about my US Army officer’s adventures.
My daughter who is still serving as an attached civil affairs officer with the US Army’s 82 Airborne in Poland (no end in sight as yet) sent me this article link about the evacuation at the Kabul airport which she participated in. It is being sent around by those who went through that experience https://www.propublica.org/article/hell-at-abbey-gate-chaos-confusion-and-death-in-the-final-days-of-the-war-in-afghanistan .
She says it’s by far the best thing she has read about that experience, even though it is focused on a Marine unit and really no discussion of the 82nd airborne who were also there and now are in Poland. It’s a long article so be aware of that. She did tell me that when she got to the wall after the bombing with her civil affairs soldiers bullets were flying everywhere and she issued no orders for those under command to fire and none did based on her weapons checks after the action. She thought the descriptions of what happened were reasonable in the story.
Always good to hear about your family. I will take a look at the link supplied. Best to you and your family.
The counting of the votes was finished a few minutes ago.
Party list + ethnic votes of people with Hungarian address:
5,352,435 + 30,627 = 5,382,469
Fidesz: 52.16% —–> 87 constituencies +48 compensation MPs
Opposition: 35.93% —–> 19 constituencies + 38 compensation MPs
MiHazank: 6.12% —–> 0 constituencies + 6 compensation MPs
Two-tailed dog party: 3.40% —–> 0 + 0
Porn party: 1.09% —–> 0 + 0
Anti-vax party: 0.73% —–> 0 + 0
Ethnic German list: 0.46% —–> 0 constituencies +1 compensaiton MP
11 other ethnic lists: 0.11% —–> 0 + 0
The opposition won 4 more constituencies (electoral districts) in Budapest than in 2018.
while lost 1 more electoral district outside Budapest:
1% of popular vote from voters with Hungarian address =
= x seats in Parliament.
Fidesz: 1% = 2.59 seats
ethnic German: 1% = 2.17 seats
Opposition: 1% = 1.59 seats
MiHazank: 1% = 0.98 seats
The breakdown of the opposition:
DK = 16 = 4 + 12
Momentum = 11 = 5 + 6
MSzP = 10 = 5 + 5
Jobbik =9 = 0 + 9
Parbeszed = 7 = 4 + 3
LMP = 4 = 1 + 3
Votes that were counted on April 9.
Absentee votes (cast inside and outside Hungary) +
106 sequestered precincts
= 249,711 votes
Two-tailed dogs: 5.35%
Correction: Two-tailed dogs: 5.50%
The Danish observer group Silba (Support Initiative for Liberty and Democracy) witnessed numerous instances of inappropriate behavior and outright fraud committed by staff and voters in the Hungarian consulate of Cluj = Kolozsvár.
These cases affected both one-ballot “mail-in” and the two-ballot absentee votes.
Read their preliminary report here:
1928= 382+492+1054 well directed opposition votes would have reduced the number of FiDeSz MPs from 135 to 132,
3307 = 382+492+1054+1379 votes would have erased Orban’s absolute power, by granting him only 131 (plus 1 regime German) seats in Parliament.
The number of registered absentee voters at consulates in neighboring countries:
Csíkszereda = Miercurea Ciuc, Romania: 2153
Szabadka = Subotica, Serbia: 1031
Beregszász = Berehove, Ukraine: 835
Kolozsvár = Cluj, Romania: 812
Ungvár = Užhorod, Ukraine: 281
5112 = 2153+1031+835+812+281
The election officials did not (and probably will not) disclose the breakdown of the number of “mail-in” or absentee votes collected at the various consulates or embassies.
This really excellent article https://www.vox.com/23012456/ukraine-russia-war-disappearances-kidnappings is for warning for Hungarians of what Putin has in store for them if Hungary ever leaves NATO (either voluntarily or by expulsion)and the Russians decide just to make Hungary again a full scale satellite state and Fidesz does not comply.
More killings of civilians:
From reading the maps, I think the Russian will soon launch a two-pronged attack from the area of Izyum:
#1 South, to encircle the entrenched Ukrainian troops in the Donietsk front line, which is now a bulge.
#2 Southwest towards Dnipro(petrovsk), to cut off the supplies of the Ukrainian defenders.
Putin cannot wait too long, because the Biden might change his mind and deliver tanks and airplanes to the Ukrainians.
During the next 3 weeks, the Russian army wants to conquer all the Ukrainian territories south of the Izyum – Dnipro(petrovsk) line.
Biden should have given heavy military hardware to Ukraine a month ago.
Putin also plans annex the fat corridor (Kherson – Donietsk basin) to Russia by a fake referendum.
Reading the Russian press, I think Putin hopes that Macron will lose to Le Pen (who is partially financed by Putin and Putin’s proxy Orban) on April 24.
Le Pen 25.4%
Macron +1/2*(Melenchon + Pecresse + Jadot) = 41.9%
Le Pen + Zemmour = 32.3%
Here is a detailed map of the first round results:
France was not part of the NATO integrated military command between 1966 and 2009.
Le Pen wants to withdraw again, to Putin’s delight.