Recently in the spotlight

László Lengyel. Photo: MTI / László Beliczay

Interfering in personal lives of Hungarians will lead to Orbán’s demise

Political scientist László Lengyel gave an excellent interview this weekend to Hungary’s left-centre Népszava daily. The chat, with Népszava’s Tamás Bihari, began with a comparison to Rudyard Kipling’s Jungle Book and to the king of the jungle, Shere Khan. Mr. Lengyel had previously referred to Viktor Orbán as a tiger, and as the merciless king of the jungle. “Between 2010 […]

by · April 4, 2015 · Politics
Mr. Balázs Fürjes (right) Hungarian Government Commissioner, Eugene F. Megyesy, Jr., Hungarian-American lawyer and advisor of Mr. Orbán, Ambassador Szapáry and Senator Menendez (left wearing striped tie) at the Rubik’s exhibition.

Senator Menendez – corruption charges and Hungarian friends

New Jersey Senator Robert Menendez was indicted on federal corruption charges. A 61-year-old Democrat, Mr. Menendez was charged with eight counts of bribery, conspiracy, fraud, and making false statements on government documents. He is the first senator to face federal bribery charges since another New Jersey Democrat, Harrison Williams was indicted in 1980, almost a quarter century ago. Menendez has […]

by · April 3, 2015 · Politics
An example of a defaced Holocaust monument in Hungary, with graffiti from 2013. Photo: atv.hu

Half of Budapest residents are anti-Semites? The dramatic spread of Hungarian antisemitism

Medián, one of Hungary’s top polling firms, published the results of a comprehensive and startling study into the scope and nature of antisemitism in Hungary. The poll shows a significant rise in antisemitism, with the number of Hungarians who are seen as “rejecting” Jews on a purely “emotional” level increasing from 9% in 2003 to 23% in 2014. It should […]

by · April 1, 2015 · Antisemitism
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
TEK has effectively been spying on President János Áder.

The Hungarian president no longer trusts Orbán’s secret service

The Orbán regime’s infamous Counter Terrorism Centre (Terrorelhárítási Központ, TEK) has reportedly fallen out of favour with President János Áder. The president, who is a Fidesz politician previously charged with developing the country’s new, controversial electoral system, recently decided to engage the Operational Police (Készenléti Rendőrség) for his personal security needs, even though this is a role that would normally […]

by · March 28, 2015 · Politics
Mr. Orbán drives away... Photo: Facebook.

Calls for Orbán’s resignation: In Quaestor scandal, all roads lead to Fidesz

The usually splintered Hungarian left-centre opposition is now rallying around the possibility of holding a vote of non-confidence in parliament, after it surfaced that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán ordered government ministries and departments to withdraw funds from the recently collapsed Quaestor brokerage firm, days before it went bankrupt. Mr. Orbán claimed that it was after the Buda Cash scandal that he […]

by · March 27, 2015 · Politics
Viktor Orbán in Sopron, on March 25th, 2015. Photo: Facebook.

Hungary’s Orbán set to launch new media empire

This week’s issue of Heti Válasz, a right-wing print publication that is apparently going to be spared the purge that is currently unfolding in the world of pro-Fidesz newspapers, television stations and news sites, confirmed that Prime Minister Viktor Orbán is looking to build a broad alternative media base to that currently offered by mogul and Fidesz oligarch Lajos Simicska, […]

by · March 26, 2015 · Politics
German Chancellor Merkel shares a light moment with Klaus Iohannis (left) President of Romania and Jean-Claude Juncker (middle) President of the European Commission

Romania’s new president ignores Orbán’s nationalist rhetoric

Recently, I had a chance to chat with Johannes Bloos the Deputy Consul General of the German Consulate in San Francisco, California. Mr. Bloos is a Saxon; his parents were part of this German speaking community in Brasov, Romania, before they immigrated to Germany. We talked about another Romanian-Saxon, Romania’s new president – Mr. Klaus Iohannis. His recent election was […]

by · March 23, 2015 · East
Federal Chancellor of Austria Werner Faymann (far left), Prime Minister  Bohuslav Sobotka of the Czech Republik, and Prime Minister of Slovakia Robert Fico in Slavkov on 29 January 2015.

A new regional alliance – without Hungary

The 25-year-old Visegrad Group, also called the Visegrad Four, is supposed to be an alliance of four Central European states – Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland andSlovakia – for the purposes of furthering European integration and advancing political, military, and economic cooperation. As it turns out the Visegrad Four is dead.  In the last couple of months it has become clear that the Visegrad Four members fundamentally disagree on how to approach […]

by · March 19, 2015 · Politics