Focus

Proportion of students in Hungarian public schools, by county, who are of Roma origin. Source: MNO's map, based on data obtained from HVG.

Hungary’s demographic revolution? Roma youth comprise a third of all students in eastern Hungarian counties

Attila Z. Papp, a researcher affiliated with the Hungarian Academy of Sciences’ Minority Studies Institute, presented research findings on significant demographic changes in Hungary that made headlines in the Hungarian media. The conservative Heti Válasz weekly magazine wrote about a “demographic revolution” and how there are now 298 schools in Hungary where Roma students form the majority of the pupil […]

by · April 9, 2015 · Focus
Alternative Holocaust memorial in Freedom Square. Photo: Christopher Adam.

Remembering the dead in Hungary: An example of civic engagement

It’s impossible to detach public history and collective memory from contemporary politics. How a society portrays the past is determined by current realities, contemporary values or interests, as well as the dominant, “preferred” narratives of history. But the government and public institutions don’t have a monopoly over the past ; where civic engagement is strong, grassroots organizations and local activists […]

by · April 6, 2015 · Focus
Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó (left) with Chilean counterpart Heraldo Muñoz (right). Photo: Francisco Leon Puga.

Hungarian Foreign Affairs is serious about its southern “strategy”

I put the word “strategy” in quotation marks for a reason. When Hungary’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, gathered together his increasingly rag-tag group of lackeys and personal football friends-turned-ambassadors and diplomats earlier this month to announce, alongside Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, the ministry’s decision to replace its policy of “opening to the east” with a new “opening to […]

by · March 30, 2015 · Focus
The new warm, friendly face of Jobbik? There are more and more photos of Gábor Vona that portray him as a warm, modern, average guy, including this one, which appears on his public Facebook profile.

Jobbik’s Gábor Vona made to look prime ministerial in Magyar Nemzet interview

The Magyar Nemzet daily, owned by Fidesz-oligarch Lajos Simicska, who had a very public falling out with his long-time friend and former roommate Viktor Orbán, published a lengthy interview with Gábor Vona, leader of the far-right Jobbik party this weekend. It’s most certainly a long-shot to think of Mr. Vona as a prime minister-in-waiting, but it has also now become […]

by · March 29, 2015 · Focus
Roundtable at Concordia University on March 3, 2015. Photo: CA.

Experts call for international action on Hungary’s rule of law violations

An international panel of experts at Concordia University drew public attention to one of the greatest credibility challenges faced by the European Union since its inception: the government of an EU member state – Hungary – has been openly defying the “Rule of Law”, and the core values the Union is formally committed to uphold. Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán`s […]

by · March 6, 2015 · Focus
Lajos Oláh at Concordia University on March 3, 2015.

Hungarian embassy in Ottawa stages cabaret at Scheppele-talk in Montreal

When I was riding back from Montreal late Tuesday evening, after a roundtable discussion hosted by Concordia University on the state of the rule of law in Hungary, I didn’t think that a short video I produced starring the Embassy of Hungary in Ottawa and their completely surreal act would find its way onto nearly all of Hungary’s major internet […]

by · March 4, 2015 · Focus
Students at Jobbik's Attila Király Akadémia. Photo: HFP's screen capture from the Academy's recruitment video.

Jobbik academy raises new generation of extremist leaders

The occasional peak into Jobbik’s King Attila Academy (Attila Király Akadémia) may cause the uninitiated to chuckle or raise an eyebrow at some of their bizarre, esoteric and decidedly cult-like practices. But the Jobbik academy, which serves as a training and indoctrination program for young Hungarian men who wish to find employment in the party, or in towns where the […]

by · March 1, 2015 · Focus
Founders of Hungary's Balpárt.

The radicalization of the Hungarian left

The Hungarian left is showing signs of breaking up into two quite distinct camps: on the one hand, we have two mainstream, establishment parties: namely, the Hungarian Socialist Party, which over the past 25 years has tried to be all things to all people, as well as former Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s Democratic Coalition, which is a bizarre, hybrid concoction […]

by · February 1, 2015 · Focus
Angela Merkel with Viktor . AFP/Odd Andersen.

Sándor Kerekes to Angela Merkel: Stop Mr. Orbán by suspending EU transfers to Hungary!

Dear Chancellor Merkel: I am impelled to write to you on the occasion of your impending visit to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán of Hungary in February. I have no doubt that your able staff is more than adequately preparing your visit; however, I wish to add to that a point of view representing the Hungarian perspective. Surely, you are aware […]

by · February 1, 2015 · Focus
DEKA's Sunday meeting in Budapest, with founders Zsuzsa Ferge and Rev. Gábor Iványi (Photo: Facebook)

Tea time in Budapest: Hungarian opposition sits down for more day dreaming

While the radical left-wing Syriza was in the process of winning one seat shy of a majority in Greece’s national elections on Sunday, and as another fledgling, anti-establishment leftist party in Spain, called Podemos, is planning to do the same later this year, elderly conservative, liberal and a sprinkling of centre-left intellectuals sat down in Budapest for an academic and […]

by · January 26, 2015 · Focus