Hungary’s right-wing daily: Bankrupt Greece may run into Putin’s embrace

Hungary’s Magyar Nemzet daily newspaper believes that as Greece shut downs its banking system, introduces financial controls and teeters on the knife edge of default, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras may very definitively turn to Russian President Vladimir Putin for assistance. “Compared to this, Viktor Orbán’s flirtation with Russia will have been nothing at all,” adds Magyar Nemzet, in a clear dig at the Hungarian prime minister and his gravitation towards Moscow and other eastern authoritarian regimes over the past few years. I’ll remind our readers that ever since Magyar Nemzet’s owner, the oligarch Lajos Simicska, had a falling out with his long-time friend Mr. Orbán, resulting in an effective boycott of the country’s second largest daily newspaper by the governing Fidesz party, the once steadfastly pro-government publication now not only publishes critical pieces, but is starting to look and sound like a somewhat more respectable, centre-right news source, rather than just a mouthpiece of the regime.

In its editorial on the crisis in Greece, Magyar Nemzet laments that the end result–especially if the Mediterranean country exits from the euro zone–will be a weakening of the entire European Union the world stage.

“What’s important isn’t Mr. Tsipras’s fate or Chancellor Angela Merkel’s legacy, but rather the future of the EU itself. Greece’s collapse and the failure of the EU to manage the crisis can further deepen the rifts and cracks that already exist, it can increase divisions and embolden eurosceptic populism, which already seems to be in vogue these days. Power plays, hiding behind the guise of national interest in individual member states, will supersede European interests. All of this will undoubtedly lead to Europe’s further marginalization. Perhaps the shock caused by Mr. Tsipras’s announcement [of a snap referendum on bail-out] might even help to stop this,” writes Magyar Nemzet, suggesting that the historic crisis in Greece may serve as a wake-up call within the EU.

While Greece's bank are ordered to shut down for a full week, pensioners storm shuttered bank branches throughout the country, leading to scenes of chaos across the country. Photo: Giannis Papanikos/AP

While Greece’s banks are ordered to shut down for a full week, and are now only dispensing to each client a maximum of 60 euros per day through ATM machines that have all but run dry, pensioners storm shuttered bank branches throughout the country, leading to scenes of chaos. Photo: Giannis Papanikos/AP

The Hungarian daily argued that Mr. Tsipras’s move to call a snap referendum was “morally cynical” in light of the fact that when a Greek predecessor called for the same poll years ago on a tough bail-out package and reforms, Syriza’s leader had voted against it, noting that the government of the day was simply wasting time, and effectively ceding the responsibility to make a difficult decision. But it is the EU that is really at crossroads, according to Magyar Nemzet, and neither option is ideal. On the one hand, the Berlin-led EU could give in to Greek anti-austerity demands, which would then confirm the failure of a crisis management strategy that was based so heavily on austerity. On the other hand, if it sticks to its guns and continues its mantra of managing an economic crisis through steep cuts to public services and welfare programs, both the euro zone and the EU will begin a process of erosion.

A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined Magyar Nemzet crying foul when it came to eurosceptic populism, or worrying about the EU’s position on the world stage, or indeed being concerned about President Putin waiting for the opportunity to offer a “helping hand” to a desperate Greece, the soft underbelly of Europe. I wouldn’t normally focus too much on presenting articles from Magyar Nemzet to our English readers, but this most recent editorial on the crisis in Greece speaks volumes about how the media landscape has transformed, in just a few short months, on the Hungarian right.

5 Comments

  1. “A year ago, I couldn’t have imagined Magyar Nemzet crying foul when it came to eurosceptic populism…..”

    Why an earth not? I am really sorry, don’t wanna be an arrogant smartass but when Orban answered to reporters’ question, in 2010, about how he is going to handle the Jobbik and he answered “I am sending them back home with a slap in the face” I took it as a message for all of his friends that he will not hesitate to throw them out from their shared air balloon as soon as it starts descending being overloaded, as they are robbing he country, and the loot gets too heavy and…… he will not drop the booty but his friends to gain some height.
    Orban wants to fly high, on borrowed wing as usual.

    It was Simicska at this time, and there comes the rest. Simicska tried to rope himself to Orban, to the air balloon basket. A mistake, a huge mistake. He should have roped himself to the loot if he wanted to stay in the basket. Now he is waking up and is not thinking on how much to rob but to whom to rope himself to at this time. Looking around. He is just realizing that he wouldn’t fight Orban before he can find a serious enemy for him who could keep him busy and weaken before he strikes. He is smart, but that carefully crafted article –considering it’s value of real informativeness vs. anecdotal fortunetelling– that sentence “Compared to this, Viktor Orbán’s flirtation with Russia will have been nothing at all,” in my eyes is nothing more than a Trojan horse, like he couldn’t yet finally make up his mind how to go ahead. The whole thing is getting worse. Forged.

  2. Correctly: “and would weaken him”

  3. Dear Stevan,
    nice thing thanks for the link. The most entertaining piece I have read lately. She made me a time traveler sending me back at least forty years in history with her dogmatic double talk being mixed with copy pasted phrases from political magazines.
    ——————————————————–
    That’s my favorite: “The changes in Hungary, driven by a new governing party — despite being democratically elected and legally enacted — have recently caused tension with our American and European Union allies.”

    It’s lovely. Readers will be melting :D.
    Changes don’t cause tension, people cause it — the government. She is dancing like a bullfighter with his muleta deflecting attention from the government to the changes. she thinks it was smart, indeed it was a ludicrous attempt to wash the dirty stuff clean.

    Another pearl: “Counter-productive and sometimes partisan public comments questioning the Hungarian reforms and policies soured a historically constructive relationship.”

    Counter productive to whom? To the government that caused tension with Hungary’s American and European Union allies? hehe, she’s so funny.

    So, Ms. Szemerkenyi, try again as you have forgotten to mention the most important things, your outstanding political and personal values. Otherwise, thanks for making my day.

  4. For some comic relief, please see the discussion section of the US Washington Beltway-Insiders Blog Roll:

    http://blogs.rollcall.com/beltway-insiders/house-hearing-pushes-for-new-era-in-u-s-hungary-relations-commentary/?dcz

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