Focus

MKB Bank

Banking in the dark: MKB Bank comes under supervision of Prime Minister’s Office

János Lázár, the minister in charge of Viktor Orbán’s Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), can count yet another feather in his cap. MKB Bank, previously owned by Germany’s BayernLB (the Bavarian State Bank), was recently nationalized. While the nationalization wasn’t a surprise, most of the press raised its collective eyebrow when at 6:30PM on Thursday, they read in the freshly published […]

by · October 17, 2014 · Focus
Tokaji Aszu

Letter to the Editor: Tokaj wines are unique and incomparable

Sir: With reference to your article published in the Hungarian Free Press with the title “A Question of Authenticity: Hungary’s Tokaj Wines,” let us inform you about the following: – Vinum Tokaj Canada Inc. has never purchased, distributed or sold any of the wines produced by the state-owned Tokaj Kereskedőház Zrt. – the wineries and wines that we represent and […]

by · October 16, 2014 · Focus
North American wine lovers, beware! Can you spot the fake Tokaj? Photo: Zsolt Revicky, Népszabadság.

A Question of Authenticity: Hungary’s Tokaj Wines

One of the treasured Hungaricums of my birth country is a special Tokaj wine called aszú, a sweet, topaz-colored wine. Aszú means “dried”, and the complex winemaking process uses botrytised (“nobly” rotten) grapes. This unique, special quality wine is cherished by millions all over the world, but I must confess, I never liked it. It is a bit too heavy, […]

by · October 13, 2014 · Focus
Democratic Charter thanks President Obama for speaking out on Hungary

Democratic Charter thanks President Obama for speaking out on Hungary

President Barack Obama The White House 1600 Pennsylvania Ave NW Washington, DC 20500 Washington, DC October 10, 2014 Dear President Obama: As Founders and Spokespersons of the Canadian civil rights organization, – The Canadian Hungarian Democratic Charter – we would like to take this opportunity to thank and to congratulate you and those in your Administration (in particular, Victoria Nuland, […]

by · October 10, 2014 · Focus
Gellért Rajcsányi, a blogger with the pro-Fidesz Mandiner site.

Gellért Rajcsányi and Tamás Pindroch — Two right-wingers react to Obama’s speech

If I had to define or characterize the reaction to the news of Barack Obama’s speech, I would call it frustrated and helpless anger. Right-wing pundits and some in government (Lajos Kósa or the Christian Democrats – KDNP, in specific) responded like an indignant teenager with a deep inferiority complex. KDNP politician Imre Vejkey wondered if the “fate of Ökotárs kept Obama […]

by · September 25, 2014 · Focus
Illustration: artinschool.wordpress.com

Living by the Book: The world today, as seen by Hungarian textbook writers

To understand the reasons behind the anti-American, trite clichés found in our nation’s textbooks (specifically, compulsory 7th grade Hungarian literature) one must first understand the education reforms of the past few years. In 2012, Viktor Orbán said that he considers the nearly complete restructuring of the Hungarian education system one of his greatest accomplishments. In the same interview, he stated […]

by · September 5, 2014 · Focus
Red Baron. / P. Klein

Gábor Halmai: Illiberal Democracy and Beyond in Hungary

Gábor Halmai teaches law at Eötvös Loránd University in Budapest and also serves as the director of the Hungarian Human Rights Information and Documentation Centre. Professor Halmai is currently based in Washington, D.C., where he is a fellow at the National Endowment for Democracy. * In his speech, delivered before an ethnic Hungarian audience at the 25th Bálványos Free Summer […]

by · September 3, 2014 · Focus
Imre Kertész

Stop abusing seriously ill Nobel laureate Imre Kertész!

This week, in a reversal of their previous position, Mr. Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party declared that the writings of author Imre Kertész, recipient of the 2002 Nobel Prize in Literature, are actually in sync with their philosophy and are putting him up for a high state award. Historian Dr. Mária Schmidt wrote a lengthy article declaring Mr. Kertész the Hungarian […]

by · August 15, 2014 · Focus
Ágnes Kunhalmi

Socialists set Ágnes Kunhalmi and Ferenc Falus up for failure

The democratic opposition’s election campaign ahead of the October 12th municipal elections in Budapest is the very epitome of a political train wreck. It is certainly true that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s decision to completely transform the Hungarian capital’s electoral system a mere four months before the vote would have thrown a wrench into the plans of any political party, no […]

by · August 14, 2014 · Focus
Reuters / B. Szabó

Hungarian democracy in a nutshell — The Jewish contribution to the European integration project

I am speaking about democracy in a nutshell today, because pretty well that’s all is left of Hungarian democracy by today. In fact, it is even quite loose in that nutshell, after having shrunk so small. On December 31 2013, in the late night hours, as the country was well on its way to get drunk and celebrate the new year, […]

by · August 3, 2014 · Focus