Meet Orbán’s enemy of the week: Romania’s President Klaus Iohannis

Carl Schmitt, the influential fascist German philosopher of the last century wrote that it is a waste of time to conduct politics through discussion, civilized debate and negotiation.  That is a “liberal idea.”  Schmitt believed that politics is a realm of struggle.  As he phrased it, “political actions and motives can be reduced to the struggle between friend and enemy.”

The Orbán government follows Schmitt’s ideas and needs a constant flow of enemies.  Last week’s enemy was Donald Tusk, President of the European People’s Party (Read more here) and this week’s enemy is Romania’s President, Klaus Iohannis.

Viktor Orbán and Klaus Iohannis (right) – the smiles are gone

Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Mr. Péter Szijjártó started the attack by posting a video claiming that Iohannis has made a “decidedly uncivilized statement suitable to incite hatred.”  A barrage of articles followed in the pro-Orbán press claiming that Iohannis hates Hungarians, doesn’t respect Hungarians and should resign.

Prime Minister Orbán theatrically declared that he had never heard such horrible statements in Romania, not even “in the most tumultuous anti-democratic times.“ He immediately started backpedaling by saying that Iohannis is an honorable man who stands up for his principles and he respects Romania and its President. “I wait for the situation to be clarified, to understand what happened (…) Of course, if we have to, we’ll take up the gauntlet, but for now I won’t recommend to bend over it.

Just the usual Fidesz theatre: vicious personal attacks followed by Orbán’s wise words and a smiling photo with Iohannis. (Read Orbán’s reaction here in Hungarian)

So, what did Iohannis actually say?   He posted a video criticizing ethnic Hungarian-Romanian politicians and the Social Democratic Party (PSD) for plotting “to give Transylvania to Hungary.”  (Video of Iohannis’s statement in Romanian)

“While we, myself, the government and the other authorities are fighting the coronavirus outbreak, the Romanian Social Democrat Party, the big Romanian Social Democrat Party, is fighting in secret parliamentary offices to give Transylvania to the Hungarians.”  Iohannis addressed the Socialists in Hungarian, saying “Jó napot kívánok, PSD!” and adding, “What did the leader from Budapest, Viktor Orbán, promise you in exchange for this agreement?”

Where is the hatred here?   Iohannis played political theatre and he probably overdid his sarcastic rhetoric, but I didn’t see hatred.  Iohannis rightfully suspected that Orbán is using the coronavirus outbreak to stir up trouble in Romania.  With the help of the small ethnic Hungarian party, UDMR, the Transylvania “autonomy bill” was introduced for the fourth time.  Legislators rejected the bill three times before, but this time tricky political machinations with opposition Socialists allowed the bill to pass without voting in the lower chamber of the Romanian Parliament.

Hunor Kelemen (left), leader of the ethnic Hungarian party UDMR in Romania with Viktor Orbán in Budapest

Romania’s Upper House, the Senate, didn’t fall for the clever trick.  It voted it down with 126 votes against and only 9 (!) supporting it.  The Socialist Senators also opposed it and Iohannis was visibly upset by the murky political trickery.

We may dismiss this incident as part of the ongoing bickering between Romanian and Hungarian politicians although there was a worrisome statement from Szijjártó: “Klaus Iohannis should be aware that the vast majority of Hungarians living in Transylvania and Szeklerland voted for him in the Romanian presidential election.”   In other words, Budapest could order ethnic Hungarians in Romania to vote against Iohannis in the next presidential election. A thinly vailed, unnecessary and unwise personal threat against the elected President of a neighboring country.  It has nothing to with the bill and Szijjártó should apologize.

Iohannis is a moderate center-right politician, and contrary to Orbán, he is widely respected in Europe and the US. The complex issues of ethnic Hungarian citizens of Romania cannot be solved with parliamentary political tricks. Orbán’s divisive policies put UDMR leaders in an impossible situation.  If they don’t break with Budapest their party might disappear just like Slovakia’s pro-Orbán ethnic Hungarian party did.

Open and honest discussions and compromises will be needed on both sides.

György Lázár

22 Comments

  1. Don Hermiston says:

    The crap the Media makes up just to demonize Mr. Orban is disgraceful. Secret Hungarian politicians in Romania trying to give Transylvania to Hungary? I’m still laughing.

  2. Romania’s president insulted all who speak Hungarian (and are proud of it), by associating the language itself with evil status. His comments were widely criticized even among some of Romania’s mostly anti-Hungarian media outlets and personalities because it is very hard to defend it. Furthermore, he accused Viktor Orban of bribing certain ethnic Romanian politicians to betray Romania and hand over Transylvania to him. It is a very serious charge, which not only incites hatred against Hungarians but is also highly slanderous and a rather primitive attack on another head of state.

    Klaus Iohanis has been compared with the late Vadim Tudor, of the Greater Romania Party in regards to these remarks, not only by ethnic Hungarians but also by many Romanians. Vadim Tudor has been the face of Romanian anti-Hungarian bigotry from 1990, till he died a few years ago. So no great surprise here that Gyorgy Lazar who also embraced the slogan “A Szekelyek Nem Magyarok”, which belongs to Noua Dreapta, the most extreme major Romanian fascist organization, now also takes the side of Klaus Iohanis. Anyone who steps over Hungarians disrespects them, incites against them will have a home in Gyorgy Lazar’s heart. And evidently also in the heart of the editor of this site, since he continues to support the dissemination of his views.

    Lastly, it is shameful that this site vilifies ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania for calling for the same rights that other historical ethnic minorities in Europe and elsewhere enjoy, such as the Germans in Italy’s South Tyrol region, Sweden minority in Finland, or Canada’s French minority. In fact, what ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania ask for is far less than the French in Canada enjoy. So how does the editor of this site, who is Canadian himself justify this position? Is he against the rights of French in Canada? If not, why is it “trickery” and other evil for ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania to fight for some of those same rights? Are ethnic Hungarians in Transylvania less than? Inferior? Not worthy? What is it?

    Shame on you!

  3. András B. Göllner says:

    Was it really that funny, Harmiston? I think what’s really funny is your inability to treat any criticism of Hungary’s PM like an adult. Why don’t you stop laughing and grow up?

  4. Orbàn has been interfering directly or indirectly in the internal politics of Slovenia (supporting Jansa), Serbia, Slovakia, Romania and Macedonia (supporting and sheltering fugitive felon former PM Gruevski). Orbàn spent approx. USD 750 million between 2011 and 2018 “pouring money into ethnic Hungarian communities in neighbouring states, issuing passports and picking up voters and political leverage for the ruling Fidesz party.” through special rules for these overwhelmingly Fidesz voters.
    https://balkaninsight.com/2020/01/30/imitating-orban-hungarys-illiberal-democracy-goes-beyond-borders/

    • The only reason Orban is associated with this incident is because Romania’s president dragged him into it. The demand of ethnic Hungarians in Romania for rights similar to other historical minorities has been on-going for 30 years now, so nothing to do with Orban, aside from him declaring his support which is natural.

      The Romanian president launched a very nasty, hateful, bigoted attack on Hungarians first and foremost. Even many Romanians admited this to be the case. What this article tries to do and so do you is deflect from it, which helps legitimize, which makes you just as disgusting.

    • Joe
      BS firstly, and
      secondly, if one wants very nasty, hateful, bigoted poison, etc. Orbanistan is the best place to go – see Speaker L.Kövér, Zs.Bayer and their lackey media, e.g. https://magyarnemzet.hu/velemeny/az-irtozat-hasznarol-8067080/
      Hard to beat this …

      • Spiegel described the behaviour of Romania’s president as being inciteful, hateful, reminiscent of the rhetoric that led to clashes in the town of Marosvasarhely in 1990 between ethnic Romanians and Hungarians.

        But according to you, it is of course “BS”.

  5. Karl Busch says:

    Orban knows that Romania is in the way of his dream to be the savior of Eastern Europe. Let’s hope that Hungary gets kicked out of the EU and NATO, and Romania goes and kick ass like they did in the past repeatedly.

  6. Karl Busch says:

    All of you who are “PROUD” to be Hungarian why don’t you go and live in Hungary and immerse yourself in the joy and happiness being part of Orbanistan?

  7. Dear Mr. Karl Busch, I`m Hungarian living in Transylvania. I wonder ~how much do you know about Transylvanian history~and the Transylvanian Hungarians. As I see – not too much-.

    • Csabi boy
      I live in Hu, I’m fluent in Hu, have been in Transylvania and I know it’s history. How these change anything in Orbanistan?
      Slamming your own head with the Trianon brick doesn’t help. Grow up and move forward, and avoid orban’s muddy field, you can only get stuck there or slide back.

  8. Lajos Árpád says:

    Mister György Lázár, I of course respect your right not to like the Hungarian Prime Minister, mister Orbán Viktor, but your dislike of the current leader of Hungary clouds your judgement. Your reasoning is factually incorrect and it’s difficult not to see your article as an act of solidarity with hungarophobic Chauvinists. Let’s outline a few points which shows how incorrect and destructive your current position is:

    1. The question Iohannis is speaking about is a plan defined by UDMR to convert Seklerland into an autonomous region. For example, the plan would allow the Hungarian majority in Seklerland to solve their administrative issues in their mother language as well, a right which is guaranteed to many communities accross Europe, but which Romania failed to grant to the Hungarian minority, even though a whole century has passed since Romania has obtained the territory in question from Hungary due to the decision the Great Powers made after the end of WWI in a peace dictatum, called the Treaty of Trianon, which has stripped Hungary from the majority of its territories. Romania had plenty of time to grant the rights we deserve and has never made any serious steps towards the direction of human rights. So, the peace treaty was not only not serving the interests of Hungarians who were never asked whether they would like their hometown to be part of Romania, but, it has also deprived them from basic human rights. Iohannis is wrong when he suggests that Transylvania is given to “the Hungarians”, because UDMR’s plan is not pointing to this direction. So he is either misinformed (which is his fault) about the plan of deliberately lying.

    2. UDMR’s plan is about granting autonomous status to the Seklerland. If the president has at least basic information about the map of the country he is supposed to lead, then he knows that Seklerland is a region inside Transylvania. For instance, he was the mayor of Szeben, a town located in Transylvania, but not in Seklerland. So, saying that a plan which is about granting autonomous status to Seklerland is the same as giving Transylvania to “the Hungarians” is either proof of a mental problem the president might have, or a deliberate lie.

    3. Granting autonomous status to a region means to allow the given region to manage itself, so it’s a form of decentralization. One might agree or disagree with such an idea, but saying that it’s a process to change the ownership of Transylvania in favor of “the Hungarians” is also inaccurate and I also think it’s a lie.

    4. Every Transylvanian should feel that Transylvania is his/her. If a Transylvanian does not feel to be an owner of the region just like all the other fellow Transylvanians, then something is wrong. The constitution of Romania states that Romania is a nation-state, so this state defines itself as the institutional and geographical unity of the Romanians. Since Hungarians are not mentioned in any way as a partner nation with Romanians, Hungarians are not treated as owners of the lands they and their ancestors lived on in the last millenia, in their own state, Hungary for many centuries, long before Romania was founded (which occurred in the 19. century). Now, I consider the fact that Transylvania is Romanian property and Hungarians living in Transylvania are not recognized as co-owners of the region they live in, even where they are the majority to prove that Hungarians are oppressed and discriminated against in their own hometown, which screams for a solution, to ensure that human rights are granted to Hungarians as much as they are granted to Romanians. Such a solution could be granting autonomous status to the region where Hungarians are in majority. This, of course would not improve the situation of many Hungarians, who live inside Transylvania, but not in Seklerland, nor those, who live in Moldova, another province inside Romania (not the country with the same name). Even though, it’s not perfect, it’s a change towards the better. If some points of the plan renders it unacceptable, then it can be refused, but Iohannis said that while he is president, Hungarians will never have autonomy. Autonomy is self-management, so Iohannis does not recognize self-management to be a right of Hungarians. This is incitement against us. And you are helping it.

    5. While the beneficiaries of the autonomous status would be the people living in that region and not Orbán Viktor, saying that he protects Romanians from the coronavirus, while PSD is giving Transylvania to “the Hungarians” clearly shows that he understands that many of us are not Romanians, but Hungarians. But he fights to save Romanians from the disease only. His words manifest in inaction, the equipment to protect against the disease has been scarce where many Hungarians live in comparison to places where only Romanians live.

    6. He accuses PSD with filohungarism, while we perfectly know that this is also a blatant lie. Reality also proved it, as the senate, including members of PSD downvoted the plan for autonomy.

    Orbán and Szíjártó only reacted against Iohannis’s lies and incitement to hatred, nobody forced Iohannis to speak against Hungarians in Romania. I do not see any difference against his speach against us and Hitler’s speeches against Jews, except that our voice is never heard. Partly because of “free journalists”, like you, having a Hungarian name are writing against us. But you are free to go on, just don’t be surprised if simpletons, like Karl Busch will form the bulk of your readers.

  9. András B. Göllner says:

    @ Joe

    “Romania’s president insulted all who speak Hungarian (and are proud of it)”

    Speak for yourself, lúzer.

    • Actually, I don’t need to speak for myself, as I pointed out even many Romanians are saying it. Leaders of the ethnic Hungarian minority are saying it, and they reported him to Romania’s anti-discrimination agency.

      Glad you spoke up. It reveals your hateful anti-Hungarian nature, which should serve to highlight where you are coming from whenever you comment.

    • If you feel that I offended you by assuming that I can speak on your behalf, don’t be! “(and are proud of it)” is the part I made sure to specify when I wrote that, and I had precisely people like you in mind when I wrote it.

      Hungarians are especially “blessed” with a sizable minority of Marxist-globalists who will never admit it, but they wish for the Hungarian culture to disappear, in order to contribute to the grand global homogenization of humankind in order to help usher in one global gulag for all of humanity, with a privileged nobility on top (the billionaires) and a somewhat privileged professional elite helping to keep it all together and going. You must be flattering yourself thinking that you too would belong to that lesser elite in the NWO. Don’t be so sure. Useful idiots are always needed to build up such a project.

  10. András B. Göllner says:

    @ Csaba

    Me thinks you’re from Gyula, Csaba. You should adjust your sausage mix. As for your posturing down here under a fake ID as a historian – why don’t you just stuff it?

  11. Dez Szatmari says:

    Lazar is an ass, an anti Hungarian. Don’t let his last name fool you. If you’re anti-Orbán you’re anti-Hungarian.
    Orbán has done more for the rights of Hungarians living in the “swindled” territories than any PM in history.
    Szekelyfold nem romania!

  12. Dez Szatmari says:

    Es Felvidek nem szolvakia
    Karpatalja nem Ukraine
    Vajadasag nem Szerbia

  13. András B. Göllner says:

    @ Dez

    What’s your middle name? Odor? We’re in tight quarters down here. Try to be true to yourself, instead of coming down here to stink out the joint. Don’t be a “lúzer” like Lajos, Joe, Csaba, and the others from Kovács Zoli’s troll farm who come down here to spread the horse manure generated by your “Kincsem”. And please don’t whine about having it shoveled back into your face. Remember. Big boys don’t cry.

  14. Lajos Árpád says:

    @Göllner

    If you consider me to be a “lúzer”, without actually knowing me, so be it, you are free to form your own opinion. But you assumed me to be from Kovács Zoli’s troll farm. I suppose this “Kovács Zoli” you speak about is the secretary of state. I can assure you that I’m not part of any troll farms and I have no connections whatsoever to mister Kovács, except that he has earned my sympathy in the last couple of years. If you really think that I am a troll working for him, then please search on my name, you know, researching never hurts before one makes a factual claim. And in my case both of us (you and me, in case you wondered) know that you have not conducted any research before you have made your claim, of course, assuming that your argumentum ad hominem in use here is not founded on a deliberate lie. My previous comment evidently contains arguments, regardless of your possible agreement with them, or the lack of it. Trolls usually don’t come up with arguments. So, instead of arguments to counter my arguments you have shown nothing better so far, than personal attacks.

    As stated before, I am a Hungarian in Transylvania and I consider Iohannis’s speech to be incitement against me. Among the Hungarians, who, supposedly secretly gain Transylvania you can find any Hungarians, including myself. So his remarks personally attacked me, which is an effective way to manipulate the less eloquent masses against us, Hungarians on ethnical grounds. Szíjártó and Orbán responded to Iohannis’s troubling statements and I’m thankful for that. I would expect all Hungarians (and any human being having any sense of ethics) to be against the bashing of Hungarians living in Transylvania. If you and mister Lázár and your ideological group cannot raise up to my expectations, that’s sad. I forgive you all, but nevertheless I point out the destructiveness of your position about Iohannis’s statements. I can also tell you that in Transylvania, the news about Iohannis’s statements have spread like wildfire before the Hungarian government’s members started to react to them.

    What if somebody would say that “the Jews”, “the Gypsies”, “the Migrants” (or any other group) are secretly plotting to steal Budapest from “the Hungarians”? Would that be incitement against the given group or not?

    Case 1: If you would consider that to be incitement, then you would use double-standards, because you not only forgive similar remarks against Hungarians, but wholeheartedly agree with them.

    Case 2: If you would not consider that to be incitement, then what’s the difference between your point of view and Hitler’s about the Jews? Hitler thought that “the Jews” are secretly plotting against “the Germans” and I find Iohannis’s claims (that PSD is making arrangements with Hungarian political powers in order to “give” Transylvania to “the Hungarians”) very, very similar to his position. And yours, if case 2 is true.

    In any case, you have operated with logical fallacies. Assuming that you have any arguments and thoughts besides slanderous remarks and personal attacks, then please, share them with us.

  15. György Lázár says:

    Dear Lajos, You may consider Iohannis’s comments to be an incitement against you. And there are Romanian citizens of Hungarian origin who feel the same way you do… and there are others who disagree with you. But the bottom line is that political theater, accusations or parliamentary tricks won’t solve the issues of ethnic Hungarian citizens in Romania. Szijjártó’s disastrous personal threat against Iohannis, or Hungarian politicians bringing up Iohannis’s ethnicity, the way he writes his name… these are distasteful, unconstructive moves.

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