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Europe and press freedom

Gavin Hewitt | 10:42 UK time, Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Welcome to 2011. The year begins with a question. Is Hungary fit to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union?


It may appear an arcane concern. The presidency is a less influential role than it used to be. Few voters understand its purpose beyond giving every country a six-month turn to be the face of the EU.

And then there is the muddle over Europe's string of presidents. (There is a President of the European Parliament, a President of the Council, a President of the Commission.)

Perhaps because of their number these presidents compete for attention. It is one of the certainties of covering Europe that when there is a significant international event my e-mail will ping into life as the various presidents vie with each other for attention.

Now for these officials Hungary poses a dilemma. Its leader is Viktor Orban, a populist politician who was once a fierce anti-communist. Last year he surfed to power on a wave of distaste for the self-confessed lies of the Socialist government and their mismanagement of the economy.


Hungarian PM Viktor Orban (left) and European Council President Herman Van Rompuy, 17 Nov 10


Mr Orban's party Fidesz controls a two-thirds majority in parliament. What this prime minister wants he gets.

His government has just passed a new media law which empowers a watchdog council to impose fines on coverage it considers "unbalanced" or offensive to "human dignity". This council has five members and is dominated by government supporters.

Journalists can be forced to identify their sources when they write stories about national security or public safety. The right to secrecy will only be upheld if it is in the public interest. There will be limits on "crime-related news". The fines can be close to a million dollars and have to be paid up-front before an appeal process can begin.

There is much that is vague and undefined about this legislation, but some of Hungary's papers have responded by publishing blank pages. One left-leaning paper this week declared on its front page that "freedom of the press in Hungary comes to an end".

Others, like the International Press Institute, warned that the new law is an attempt to "exert control over public broadcasters".

A prominent liberal MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, says "the time of Pravda is over - this new law is unacceptable. Hungary must explain and the [EU] Commission must act."

The Foreign Minister of Luxembourg, Jean Asselborn, questioned whether Hungary was fit to take on the EU presidency.

And most importantly, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said that "as a country that is about to take over the EU presidency, Hungary will have a special responsibility for the whole union's image in the world".

In the face of such criticism Mr Orban says he doesn't have wobbly knees. The law, his government insists, is to ensure balanced reporting. Budapest has hit back at the criticism. It says it "remains committed to freedom of the press and in no way wishes to stifle the opposition's views".

The EU - in a letter - has asked for clarification. But it has all come rather late. This week the EU caravan heads for Budapest to celebrate the start of the Hungarian EU presidency.

So here is the rub. What will the EU's various presidents, commissioners and High Representative say? How will they respond to the Luxembourg question - is Hungary fit to lead the EU? Or the implied German question - are these the values that the EU wants to present to the world?

There is another sore point. Hungary is targeting new taxes at foreign companies. Some are threatening to pull out. Others say that it is illegal to go after foreign investors in a single market.

In the end the tax issue is about rules and markets. Media freedom is more difficult to judge. But Hungary is in the spotlight and the awkward questions won't go away.

Comments

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  • 1. At 11:33am on 04 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    Welcome back and wishing all a happy new year...especially in Hungary despite a less than auspicious start.

    I would be worried about such a law at the best of times but with the prominence of the Hungarian Guard I do wonder where they are going. Any law restricting freedom of speech in the name of 'morality' should be stamped on swiftly.

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  • 2. At 11:53am on 04 Jan 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    --✄-- freedom of the press in Hungary comes to an end --✄--

    What's the point here...Last month even Hewitt's blog posts got heavily and democratically censured like Hungary's government do to their press as well as every topic now ends similarly (after only one day open)

    •∙∙∙∙∙∙∙► This entry is now closed for comments ◄∙∙∙∙∙∙∙•

    If BBC can do it why not the others...

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  • 3. At 12:13pm on 04 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    "A prominent liberal MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, says "the time of Pravda is over - this new law is unacceptable. Hungary must explain and the [EU] Commission must act."
    Well done Mr.Hewitt. What happens in Budapest reminds me of the practices of the present big man in Sofia - Prime Minister Borissoff. I hope you will come here some day to cover the events in that part of the globe where Christian Europe faces Asia, I mean Turkey, the preferred ally of Mr. Cameron. It is high time. Just clean the desk and come here...

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  • 4. At 12:18pm on 04 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #2. At 11:53am on 04 Jan 2011, Ellinas

    You made a slight typo there, you should have said "Last month even Hewitt's blog posts got heavily and UN-democratically censured"

    Happy New Year to all.

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  • 5. At 12:24pm on 04 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    So the EU presidents and politicians are getting concerned that Hungary's media law is against democracy and the freedom to express alternative views, what utter humbug for those who espouse un-democratic practices to lecture Hungary. This is far worse than the pot calling the kettle black. When the EU mandarins accept that there are alternative directions for the EU and that EU democracy is an abject corrupt failure they may earn the right to judge others, but until them they have no right to criticise.

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  • 6. At 12:55pm on 04 Jan 2011, phillipwest wrote:

    This kerfuffle over Hungary's limiting free speech seems hypocritical for those who champion the same limits across Europe in the name of human rights. How do they reconcile this with the trial of Geert Wilders in the Netherlands for his speech.

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  • 7. At 12:58pm on 04 Jan 2011, john wrote:

    First happy new year
    I like to bring to 2011 my thought on the Annus Horribilis for Europe and the world which is now finished.
    People of Europe let be clear the current trend of nationalism in same part of Europe and the lack of vision for the future of the EU couple with the lack of transparency and the an ethical behave of the credit rate agency and the financial system will make 2001 a Annus Horribilis -Horribilis let the people of Europe regain our vision for the EU let us retake control of our live.
    John


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  • 8. At 1:01pm on 04 Jan 2011, ShelfsideN17 wrote:

    Extra tax revenue from foreign companies?
    Are you reading this Mr Osborne?
    All we have to do is pull out of Europe and we get another revenue stream!

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  • 9. At 1:14pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Am I seeing Hungary being lectured about demo-crazy in the media?
    Why you guys not go after bigger fishes in the tank like Russia, before you buy their oil?
    Where the hell is Luxemburg anyway, and how does its criticism improve my life?
    Care to explain first?

    "All posts are pre-moderated"
    Is that a part of your democracy as well?

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  • 10. At 1:30pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GW: " And then there is the muddle over Europe's string of presidents. (There is a President of the European Parliament, a President of the Council, a President of the Commission.)

    Perhaps because of their number these presidents compete for attention."





    Generally the less important an entity the more high rank officials it finances.


    BTW. How is mighty euro doing vis-a-vis 'worthless US$'?

    [my condolences to Estonians]

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  • 11. At 1:33pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GW: "Journalists can be forced to identify their sources when they write stories about national security or public safety."


    How awfull!

    Imagine what would happen if Mr. Assange would have to identify folks who betrayed their own governments. ;-)

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  • 12. At 1:35pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: 'One left-leaning paper this week declared on its front page that "freedom of the press in Hungary comes to an end".'




    Please remind us, comrades, what was a freedom of the press like in Hungary before.

    Particularly after the "brotherly" Soviet military intervention in 1956.

    Inquiring minds want to know.

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  • 13. At 1:37pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "International Press Institute warned that the new law is an attempt to "exert control over public broadcasters".



    Just like the British Parliament over BBC it finances?!

    SHOCK! SHOCK!

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  • 14. At 1:41pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GW: "A prominent liberal MEP, Guy Verhofstadt, says "the time of Pravda is over"

    Obviously Guy has not read "Izvestya" recently.

    'W "Pravdye" nyet izvyestii, no w "Izvestyah" nyet pravdy'

    [transl. from Russian:

    There's no news in "The Truth", but there's no truth in "The News"]

    So, what else is new?

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  • 15. At 1:43pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Chencellor Merkel: "Hungary will have a special responsibility for the whole union's image in the world".




    I doubt Hungarians alone (a v. small nation) can ruin current EUSSR's image (and credit worthiness) in the world much.

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  • 16. At 1:49pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "In the face of such [Merkel's] criticism Mr Orban says he doesn't have wobbly knees."




    No wonder: Orban commands a full 2/3d majority in the Parliament, whereas Angela Merkel may pretty soon lose her (small) majority in the Bundenstag.

    Particularly if she opts for Germany bailing out Portugal and Spain.

    To save the funny money which has replaced DM in her native country.

    To every German's chagrin.

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  • 17. At 1:57pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    " When the EU mandarins accept that there are alternative directions for the EU and that EU democracy is an abject corrupt failure "

    Well said. In today's European democracy and freedom of speach, we can make a blacksheep in two weeks out of a country, which was fighting for its freedom for a 1000 years in Europe.

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  • 18. At 1:58pm on 04 Jan 2011, sandro wrote:

    2012 is coming........................

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  • 19. At 1:58pm on 04 Jan 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    #4 Buzet23

    --✄-- You made a slight typo there, you should have said "Last month even Hewitt's blog posts got heavily and UN-democratically censured" --✄--

    I've actually meant democratically so to rightfully & sharply mark this paradox or antithesis between democracy and censorship since BBC is a public broadcaster of a democratic nation and Hungary's government got democratically elected (two-thirds majority in parliament) and as far i know it's still a democracy.

    In a world where false news by powerful media can bring to default entire nations in such a short time, exert control over public broadcasters is a must.

    Not to forget that if few years ago (let's say early 90's) someone could told me that an anonymous and insignificant person like me (modestly speaking) could in a short time and so easily use such powerful tools e.g. like commenting on this BBC Blog...i would take him...let's say...for mythomaniac or fortune teller.

    For more details on the subject we better ask Mr Bunga Bunga (Berlusconi) as he seems to know more than anyone else here about democracy & media in a modern world. :-))))))))))

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  • 20. At 2:01pm on 04 Jan 2011, U14740157 wrote:

    Re post 10: The euro is currently worth over $1.34. Less than ten years ago the dollar was worth EUR1.22 or so. Your point is?

    If I correctly understand most of the posts so far, they are saying: if there is now or ever was censorship in Hungary or anywhere else, then the Hungarian government has the right to clamp down on freedom of the press. Strange set of principles, that.

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  • 21. At 2:13pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Re post 20:
    Have you ever read a Hungarian news paper?
    Have you ever heard a Hungarian news paper get banned from publishing?
    Has your life adversily been affected by any of the above?

    If your answers are 3 "nein, ich habe nicht" than what is do point of your comments?

    Warum?

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  • 22. At 2:15pm on 04 Jan 2011, chiswick76 wrote:

    Unlike every UK party, Orban's FIDESZ is far too inept to spin unwelcome news (and he's far too much of a control freak to let it ride) so this is the result. I hope the European Parliament (and the Court if necessary) will use the fact that Hungary gets out much more from the EU than it puts in (a fact Orban tries to hide) to force him to act like the leader of a modern democracy.

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  • 23. At 2:19pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GH: "So here is the rub. What will the EU's various presidents, commissioners and High Representative say?"



    My bet is the'll simply quote Forrest Gump. ["sh.t happens"]

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  • 24. At 2:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    Just one more part of the EU political jigsaw, designed to wear down the will of the people and convince them that they need the order and leadership of the undemocratic Brussels Oligachs!
    The text below was used by Adolf Hitler's propaganda machine in the 20's and 30's. It seems as relevant today as it was then!

    We are the chosen, we are the true men.
    Our minds give off the true power of the spirit; the intelligence of the rest is instinctive and animal. They can see, but they cannot foresee; their inventions are purely corporeal. Does it not follow clearly that Nature herself has predestined us to dominate the whole world.
    We shall paint the misdeeds of foreign governments in the most garish colours and create such an ill-feeling toward them that the peoples would a thousand times rather bear a slavery which guarantees them peace and order than enjoy their much touted freedom. Outwardly, however, we will always do our best to appear honorable and co-operative. A statesman's words do not have to agree with his acts. But we shall not submit the unique greatness of our ultimate plan, the secret meaning of which remains hidden to the judgment and decision of the many; even those who share our thoughts; we shall not cast the gleaming thoughts of our leader before the swine.
    However, if any state dares to resist us, we shall unleash a world war. By these methods we shall so wear down the nations that they will be forced to offer us world domination; then we will stretch out our arms like pincers in all directions, and introduce an order of such violence that all peoples will bow to our domination.

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  • 25. At 2:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, Newsreader60 wrote:

    The new media law in Hungary is just about to be made available in English translation, and there are no other translations available. This means that all the accusations that constitute this unprecedented media campaign are based not on reading, analyzing and understanding the actual law, but on hearsay, on partisan and ideologically tainted information, generously provided by the members of the Hungarian opposition (the severely discredited socialist party and its allies – they publicly admitted to have lied “day and night” to win their second election), who lost their influence in the Hungarian parliament and instead of taking responsibility for their atrocious eight years in government now they enlist the help of Western media and their ideological sympathizers to fight their political battle they are unable to do on their own.

    You point out that the new watchdog can impose fines for “unbalanced” coverage. Not true. According to the law, political opinions will in no way be supervised, nor will any arbitrary "balanced information" be a requirement, as seen fit by the government. The regulation imposing balanced coverage for the electronic media only - which has been a part of Hungarian law for the past 15 years - is far more lenient than the British requirement of impartiality. Furthermore, NO FINES can be imposed for the breach of the rule on balanced coverage; the competence of the authority is limited to issuing a condemnation.

    Regarding the fears that the new watchdog may impose fines for offending “human dignity,” the following should be taken into consideration (a quote from the government’s response): The notion of human dignity was adopted from the practice of the German Federal Constitutional Court. Over the past 20 years, a precise and thorough practice has emerged in respect of the protection of human dignity (including in the area of media regulation). This is not a tool for offended politicians to enforce their claims; general civil and criminal law procedures remain to be available for such cases. If offence of human dignity is established, the media authority will not make a decision on the individual infringement of rights; instead, it will assess whether the specific media content fundamentally violates the basic values constituting the right of dignity, as construed by general social consensus, to such an extent that the violation stretches beyond the mere offence of the individual's interests and affects public interest as well.

    Regarding the accusation that the Media Authority has five members and is dominated by government supporters, the following must be understood: The Media Council is elected by the National Assembly by way of a two-thirds majority vote. Members of the National Assembly cannot be influenced in their decision. In performing their duties, members of the Media Council do not take orders from anyone; they cannot be recalled and they are independent in every respect. The elected members of the Media Council have no ties, either formal or informal, with the ruling political parties; they come from various fields of the media sector. Authorities with a much smaller degree of independence from government are not uncommon across Europe. For example, members of the convergent British authority OFCOM - including its chairperson - are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

    Members of the Western media failed terribly in reporting on this issue:
    - In an unprofessional manner, they relied on partisan hearsay instead of hard facts.
    - Even if unintentionally, they allowed themselves to be drawn into a domestic political struggle.
    - By doing so, they undermine a democratically elected government and endanger democracy in a sovereign state.

    The question remains to be asked: Who is the media accountable to in these kinds of situations?

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  • 26. At 2:22pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:




    Re #9
    "Why you guys not go after bigger fishes in the tank like Russia, before you buy their oil?"







    "On May 13, 2000, Rudolf Ritter was arrested in Liechtenstein for laundering money for the Cali cartel as well as Saint Petersburg mafia. One of the suspected companies was SPAG, a real estate company registered in Germany. It turned out that Vladimir Putin was affiliated with SPAG and bugged conversations in Ukraine later revealed a Russian operation to confiscate all documents around Europe about Putin's involvement "to shove the whole affair under the carpet". (Wikipedia)

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  • 27. At 2:29pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "Hungary gets out much more from the EU than it puts in"

    80% of banks in Hungary are owned by foreign investors.
    Needless to say, the money is put in by Hungarians.
    You know what Hungary gets from the EU?
    Please explain, cause I dont.

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  • 28. At 2:30pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    , U14740157 wrote:
    Re post 10: The euro is currently worth over $1.34. Less than ten years ago the dollar was worth EUR1.22 or so. Your point is?





    That you should compare not a ratio of euro to US$ 10 years ago, but a current ratio of mighty euro to worthless US dollar to that of 10 MONTHS ago.

    capisce?

    [and this is just a beginning. Of the end.]

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  • 29. At 2:33pm on 04 Jan 2011, gaborimi wrote:

    As a Hungarian poet i'd like to bring tranquility to your troubled heart
    about the competence our government. We have had very hard 8 years
    during the reign of an unprecedentedly narrow minded and corrupt leadership -as Mr Hewitt also mentions in his article.
    Election results also show how disappointed our nation was to vote for the
    opposition parties with a result of 70%, an extraordinary proportion in
    the EU or anywhere else in world ballots with the exception of dictatorships like that of Lukasheko.
    Do not fear dictatorial stupidity in Hungary. What we were not able to achieve in 1956, now we could. Life-sickening bolshevism has been given
    a deadly blow. You'd better watch closer to see this media fuss as 0ne of the last turbulences communists can make. Nice year guys.

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  • 30. At 2:46pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "There is another sore point. Hungary is targeting new taxes at foreign companies. Some are threatening to pull out."

    If there is no business case to stay, PLEASE PULL OUT!
    Why threat your customers?
    What a service!

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  • 31. At 2:56pm on 04 Jan 2011, gaborimi wrote:

    As Mr Powermaket pointed out ---of your more comfortable westerly window
    he could define precisely what is happening.
    My post hasn't appeared here below however. Writing from Hungary let's
    put the question and wait if it was caught up in the new dictatorial Hungarian iron curtain you try to envisage in the fog
    or it was the BBc itself. Thanks for inviting me for a chat anyway.

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  • 32. At 2:59pm on 04 Jan 2011, BluesBerry wrote:

    Is Hungary fit to assume the rotating presidency of the European Union?
    Its leader is Viktor Orban who last year was elected on a wave of distaste for the self-confessed lies of the Socialist government and their mismanagement of the economy. Well, this seems like a good start to me.
    Orban's Government just passed a new media law which empowers a watchdog council to impose fines if it considers reports "unbalanced" or offensive to "human dignity". Also, this seems good to me.
    Journalists can be forced to identify their sources when they write stories about national security or public safety. Good, personally I am just about fed up with unidentified sources and "a spokesperson said", which predominate the western media and allow all kinds of babble to pass as news.
    Others, like the International Press Institute, warned that the new law is an attempt to "exert control over public broadcasters". So? This may or may not be a bad thing, especially if sources are not verified, if sources can routinely lie, or support some corporate agenda.
    Most importantly, Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman said that "as a country that is about to take over the EU presidency, Hungary will have a special responsibility for the whole union's image in the world". But note, Merkel is not saying anything about Hungary's efforts to control UNSOURCED news broadcasting, spin, and just plain lying.
    The law, Orban insists, is to ensure balanced reporting. "Freedom" of the press does not mean running off at the mouth without verification.
    Second complaint: Hungary is targeting new taxes at foreign companies. This is not illegal. In fact, it may help to promote Hungarian jobs for Hungarian workers.
    So the EU is investigating the so-called "crisis tax" that Hungary levied in October on three specific sectors
    - telecommunications,
    - energy and
    - retail.
    Whythe tax?
    For 3 years TO MEET BUDGET DEFICIT TAXES. i.e. It has chosen to tax foreign companies vs. the little Hungarian taxpayer. Hmmmm...What's wrong with that?
    EU spokesman Olivier Bailly: "If this law makes a distinction between national or foreign companies, or companies based inside or outside of Hungary, this will be seen as discrimination against EU law." Really, which one, and why didn't Bailly quote it?
    The comments follow a formal letter of complaint from these 13 Hungarian companies operating in Hungary. The letter was sent to EU commissioners and the national leaders of Germany, France, Austria, the Netherlands, and the Czech Republic.
    Who specifically were the senders?
    - Aegon
    - Allianz SE
    - Austrian home improvement
    - Czech energy firm CEZ
    - German utilities
    Well, you get the idea: FOREIGN COMPANIES. Why shouldn't foreign countries have to pay a taxes for the privilege of operaating in Hungary, or France, or the UK? Anyway, these measures are scheduled to end in 2013.
    You know Bailley's biggest complaint?
    Bailly: "We were not informed of this new legislation before the adoption of the law. That could be a possible breach...it seems very clear that there is a violation." Bailly said the EU Commission sent a letter to the Hungarian authorities Oct. 22 requesting more information on the taxes.
    Hungary responded Dec 20, saying its national law fully complies with EU rules. A pretty dumb thing to put in writing if it's not true!
    The timing of the complaint from the 13 firms coincides with the 2010 date for tax implementation; so the 13 businesses are likely trying to evade the taxation, or push off payment.
    Hungary has
    - levied hefty taxes on energy to meet its budget-deficit targets and get out of the European Union's EXCESSIVE DEFICIT PROCEDURE.
    - levied extra taxes on the FINANCIAL SECTOR,
    - limited the powers of the Constitutional Court on tax matters so that affected companies can't appeal the steps, and
    - effectively nationalized its private pension funds to generate additional budget revenues.
    Is Hungary fit?
    A lot fitter than some countries in the EU who seem to lack the imagination or the courage to tackle problems in new ways.
    The charges come as Hungary assumes the role of rotating president of the European Council from January through June of this year. It's not unprecedented for the rotating president to be the target of infringement proceedings: France had several cases during its term. Bailly: "We hope the Hungarian presidency will cooperate with us even more because it holds the presidency...and has to set an example."
    Just because Hungary is electing to use different options to reduce its deficits does not mean that these options are illegal or improper.
    The tax issue is not even formally on the EU agenda. European Commission President Jose Manuel Barroso and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban will likely discuss (or not) the matter to coordinate responses to the press.

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  • 33. At 3:09pm on 04 Jan 2011, Hungarian scientific worker wrote:

    "What we were not able to achieve in 1956, now we could."

    Just the opposite! Dear my fellow-countryman, look around! Fidesz-men in all positions. Like under stalinism and they really behave as stalinists.

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  • 34. At 3:10pm on 04 Jan 2011, U14740157 wrote:

    Post 28 says the euro-dollar exchange rate should be compared to ten months ago. Why, I've no idea. Why not six or twelve or a year or five years?
    But OK, let's take ten months ago: in March 2010 the euro fluctuated from being worth under $1.34 to being over $1.37. On 4 March 2010 it was worth $1.3668. Today it's $1.3421 (it was once worth less than $0.85). Man the lifeboats!

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  • 35. At 3:19pm on 04 Jan 2011, hungarianliberal wrote:

    On such a delicate affair, you should write without mistake. The law in question is really horrible. However, you write that for the media and the journalists, "The fines can be close to a million dollars and have to be paid up-front before an appeal process can begin." No, the finally accepted version of the law does not contain the upfront payment. You pay only if you lost in the appeal. Which probably implies that the grip on the courts will also have to be strengthened.
    You also write that the media watchdog "has five members and is dominated by government supporters". This is a mistake in the other direction. The council is not dominated by delegates of the governing party. It consists EXCLUSIVELY OF SUCH DELEGATES.
    Unfortunately, our country is now ruled by somebody who thinks that he is Julius Caesar. Hungarians hope that he will be a nice autocrat, giving them food and drink enough, fighting tough against ugly foreigners and oppositionals. I am afraid he will bring chaos and misery.

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  • 36. At 3:42pm on 04 Jan 2011, whnd wrote:

    Before the law you could lie and defame whatever you wanted in the news - and the mediums did so, especially against the right side in Hungary. We have a lot of left-wing liberal and destructive tvs and radios. This law can rule this effect, and I hope the dark age of the Hungarian media comes to end.
    I think that the European reaction is quite outrageous, there's no well-informed journalists among the critics - everybody iterates the damn press freedom, but this law is not about that. Pretty good air balloon to the western press and you eat it, bravo.

    -sorry for my bad English-

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  • 37. At 3:46pm on 04 Jan 2011, chiswick76 wrote:

    The multinationals are not owned or controlled by the European Union, but of course they will lobby in their home nation, if they feel that the Hungarian government isn't listening to them, and get some unwelcome "meddling" going on, as will journalists and any other groups he chooses to offend.

    I don't think that all the criticism of Orban or the press law is justified (communist he most certainly ain't)but his inability to play the political game shows he's more at home in Bunkósztán than Brussels.

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  • 38. At 4:08pm on 04 Jan 2011, joefinger wrote:

    Dear Gavin,

    Allow me to quote you one of your last sentences here: "Media freedom is more difficult to judge." Maybe it could be useful to engage on some, sort of, learning process. You know, no doubt, a bit about the BBC. The sort of freedom there, or indeed the liberties taken by the BBC, as some might say. I shall make it easy on you and for everybody else reading this, those that are so obviously taking an interest in Europe.

    On these very BBC pages, those very serious BBC pages, go and have a look at the Economy section and look for the currencies. There are lots of them there, oodles of them. You will find lovely currencies there like the Colon from Salvador, the Quetzal from Guatemala and the Peso from Uruguay, to name just a few. Yet, dear Gavin, what good is it to you in Hungrie? You got to pay there in Florints, doesn't anybody at the Beeb know? Now since your job is to go around Europe you might even have noticed that there countries with currencies like Poland or the Czech Republic. Not exactly banana republics, are they, in the conventional sens? Yet the BBC exercises it's "media freedom" and disgust, some might say, of most things European and avoids listing their currencies.

    The Euro is a puzzle to some, but it is just as good a scrabble word as other currencies, be it the Colon or the Quetzal, not to forget the Sloty or Crown. For some it means so much more, there is national pride at stake, now as a Brit you ought to know all about that. So do tell your paymasters that the Colon is no good to you in Poland and that your job demands that you respect a polish person in Poland as much as the one doing up your flat somewhere in England.

    I know it must be a bit difficult to adjust when one is so attached to to the thought of the sun never setting... . But then we all have our dreams and the freedom to express them. May dream is for the BBC to get better and better particularly in matters European. In that spirit, I remain.
    Yours etc. etc.

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  • 39. At 4:17pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    - Aegon
    - Allianz SE
    - Austrian home improvement
    - Czech energy firm CEZ
    - German utilities

    are free to take their business elsewhere, where the profit margin is more suiting to their expectation. Defaming a legitimate government for a higher profit margin is unheared off. Is this where the world is heading towards?
    Our blood-sweat of the financial crisis is not enough for the CEOs of these companies?
    Is everything about the welfare of the rich of the richest these days?

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  • 40. At 4:33pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    gaborimi wrote:
    "Life-sickening bolshevism has been given a deadly blow."





    Judging by quite a few posts from EUSSR here and in HYS - not really.

    And believe me: nobody, but nobody in "Old Europe" wants to remember the blood bath organized by Moscow in Hungary in 1956, when they sheeepishy looked the other way.

    Just like later, during a massacre of Polish shipyard workers in 1970, or not so long ago, during the massacre of Srebrenica]

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  • 41. At 4:39pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    GAborimi, a HUngarian poet wrote:

    "You'd better watch closer to see this media fuss as 0ne of the last turbulences communists can make."






    What used to be a job of L'Humanite, Morning Star and Il Manifesto is now being done by the Guardian, Le Monde and...:-(
    -------------------------------------------------------------------------
    " Brigadi Rossi, Brigadi Rossi"

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  • 42. At 4:46pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "in March 2010 the euro fluctuated from being worth under $1.34 to being over $1.37. On 4 March 2010 it was worth $1.3668. Today it's $1.3421"



    Nope, it's merely 1.33 and falling.

    Obviously you're not in a currency market. :-)

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  • 43. At 5:53pm on 04 Jan 2011, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    Incredible, according to the comments on this forum the Hungarian law is a storm in a glass water, but the EU is a dictatorship & the media full of communists - really, Le Monde, as if you even read Le Monde. Spurious references to historical events - really, 1956 ? - ...

    Reminds me of the youtube commentary under speeches by Van Rompuy that accuse him of being part of the 'Bilderberg group' 'NWO' or being funded by - lol - G. Soros.

    Also, the TOS of this site are not equivalent to your 'freedom of speech' laws. Jeesh.

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  • 44. At 6:05pm on 04 Jan 2011, Magyar_UK wrote:

    I have lived in Hungary for 9 years coming from the UK. I am always disappointed about how International Journalist protray Hungary.

    As I have lived with Hungarians for 9 years, I can say they are fine people. As a European nation that was established in 1000AD, of course this country deserves to hold the presidency.

    This country has suffered a lot over the years. It is a testiment to the Hungarian people that they now hold the presidency.

    I wish International Journalists would first visit Hungary, meet Hungarian people, talk to them, try to understand them.

    The International Community (including Journalists) should be trying to promote and help nations in Europe to understand each other.

    I wish Hungary and Hungarian all the best for their presidency.

    I am very sorry that some International Journalists and others are trying to give Hungary negative coverage.

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  • 45. At 6:09pm on 04 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Is Hungary 'fit' to take the EU-Brussels' rotating Presidency?

    Oh come on Mr Hewitt is this any way to begin the 2nd decade of the 21st Century in greater-EU fantasy land?

    Why not ask a tough, pertinent question, like: If the EU27 Leadership has nothing better to do every 6 months months than bu###r off to some Continental Capital for an all expenses paid jaunt when all the decisions are made in Berlin isn't it a lot cheaper to just have a German representative visit each of the other EU26 Capitals and tell them what is going to happen next?

    Altogether now, "EU is good! All else is bad!"

    Oooooh, so very cynical and so very early in 2011...

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  • 46. At 6:24pm on 04 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    40. At 4:33pm on 04 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    gaborimi wrote:
    "Life-sickening bolshevism has been given a deadly blow."





    Judging by quite a few posts from EUSSR here and in HYS - not really.

    And believe me: nobody, but nobody in "Old Europe" wants to remember the blood bath organized by Moscow in Hungary in 1956, when they sheeepishy looked the other way.

    Just like later, during a massacre of Polish shipyard workers in 1970, or not so long ago, during the massacre of Srebrenica].."


    Yeah, it is one of those irreconcilable problems for the 'pro-EU' who're also 'anti-American'!

    They complain about all sorts of injustices, frequently blame the USA, and yet when we look at the intervention record of 'western Europe' including my UK, they did diddly squat about anything and then have the nerve to attempt to blame Washington.



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  • 47. At 6:34pm on 04 Jan 2011, MaxSceptic wrote:

    Same old same old...

    Let's hope that 2011 brings more freedom and national sovereignty than 2010 - and that the EU projects faces further reverses.

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  • 48. At 6:49pm on 04 Jan 2011, polmarfi wrote:

    One of the first acts by the new media body of Hungary (NMHH) was to send to Budapest Alternative Radio Tilos FM a letter stating that the lyrics of Rap singer Ice-T were unsuitable for play on daytime radio. They handily included full translations into Hungarian of the offending lyrics (an eight page document). This must have taken some amount of time and effort alone. I will leave to the readers imagination the content of Mr T's lyrics but they are racey to say the least. Without doubt Mr Ice-T is very pleased at having such a surprising career boost since he has now become a front page news item for the first time in fifteen years after having reached a low of appearing on the likes of "Celebrity Mr & Mrs".

    The real story about the new "Media Law"? Its all really an attempt to legalise a shakedown.
    Pay up and you can say and play what you want.

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  • 49. At 6:54pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    I cannot understand that how all you people can express opinion on a law for the last month that has only got voted a couple of days before? There was not even an English version ready? Where did you get the information from ? Not by any chance from those communist that lost election and cannot steal from the public pocket any more, are you a friend of them? Why only the Hungarian law is against EU standard when its 90% text was literally copied and pasted from other itself declared democratic countries like Germany, England, France media laws? So, why the original source is not against democracy only the Hungarian copy?

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  • 50. At 6:59pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    I cannot understand that how all you people can express opinion on a law for the last month that has only got voted a couple of days before? There was not even an English version ready? Where did you get the information from ? Not by any chance from those communist that lost election and cannot steal from the public pocket any more, are you a friend of them? Why only the Hungarian law is against EU standard when its 90% text was literally copied and pasted from other itself declared democratic countries like Germany, England, France media laws? So, why the original source is not against democracy only the Hungarian copy?

    Please, note that this message will be posted also in Hungary. Let's see how this BBC freedom works here for free expression.

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  • 51. At 7:33pm on 04 Jan 2011, DiscoStu_d wrote:

    @2 "•∙∙∙∙∙∙∙► This entry is now closed for comments ◄∙∙∙∙∙∙∙•"

    I can't blame Gavin for wanting the comment periods closed.....quickly....as the offerings from the usual suspects clog this blog up with, as one might say, 'tosh and gibberish'.

    Just take a quick gander north of this comment and you'll see what I mean.

    @43 Leo: Well said. A little fresh air is always pleasant as even in winter the hot air on this board becomes intolerable. And there are certain thermal vents that could easily melt the entirety of ice on this planet with their banal, unimaginative and self-important musings.

    Oh, and by the way, Prosit Neujahr!

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  • 52. At 7:52pm on 04 Jan 2011, euormartin wrote:

    I would always be worried when politicians take power to silence critics. These powers are often mostly used on local dissenters.
    But it must be said that Trianon 1920 was a short sighted miscarriage of justice. Leaving a solid band of Hungarians around the perimeter of the new Hungary only increases nationalist tendencies and bitterness towards neighbours.

    What is more worrying is the logistic use of the border for insurgency action. If this sounds implausible just remember Hungarians have been fighting for freedom for a very long time. Transylvania is never far from the boil. Giving every Hungarian a passport is a great id travel card for a mobile insurgent.

    Europe should not forget its past, Hungary’s right wingers show all the signs of going for a land re-grab now that every neighbour and the union itself is weak. Whether this includes Hargita and Covasna in east Transylvania remains doubtful.

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  • 53. At 7:54pm on 04 Jan 2011, blefuscu wrote:

    There are masses of laws and restrictions including self-censorship by the BBC itself (where did the BBC show the M-word cartoons in solidarity with freedom of the press?).

    I am going to copy the Ice T lyrics to this site as soon as I dig them up (holding my nose as I do so)

    Print and be damned.

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  • 54. At 8:07pm on 04 Jan 2011, christina wrote:

    Freedom of the Press is a tricky concept, though. Who defines what this freedom consists of and the limits it has no right to cross? Who protects the society from bad practices of the Press?

    Manipulation of the Press is dangerous. Many rotten things are hiding behind the urge to control information. But so is total lack of restraint and the feeling that one doesn't have to answer to anybody for their deeds.

    The Press should be independent from politics, from sponsors and from the need to keep ones job, but this independence never existed. Ever. Not only in Hungary and not only this last year. You don't need laws to censor people, you can easily do it by taking your advertising elsewhere or by diminishing your reporters' salaries or by hiring people that are on your side etc etc...

    Or is the idea of a non-standard european force (see UK, France, Germany) in the spotlight annoying to some?

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  • 55. At 8:36pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    The English speaking world has got a very limited view about Hungary mainly provided by emigrants that had to leave and therefore hate their own country.
    Simply they cannot write the truth.

    The new Hungarian media law has been copied and pasted from other EU countries media laws, in order to avoid attacks. Now, it seems to be no matter what is written in this law. No one said oh, I don't like the part that has been copied from the German or English media law.

    Why is the original text is OK, the Hungarian copy must be attacked?


    Why you people are so ready to attack others that you don't even know?

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  • 56. At 8:43pm on 04 Jan 2011, Jolly Joker wrote:

    At 2:29pm on 04 Jan 2011, TG wrote: " You know what Hungary gets from the EU? Please explain, cause I dont. "

    For example, the young, skilled Hungarians can already work without any special permissions in most of the member states of the European Union.

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  • 57. At 8:59pm on 04 Jan 2011, Jolly Joker wrote:

    At 6:54pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote: " There was not even an English version ready? Where did you get the information from ? "

    Do you suggest that foreigners should not be allowed to learn Hungarian language?
    Do you suggest that foreigners should not be allowed to read Hungarian text?

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  • 58. At 9:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    56. Jolly Joker wrote:
    For example, the young, skilled Hungarians can already work without any special permissions in most of the member states of the European Union.
    ----------------------------------

    This is true also for other EU workers that found work in Hungary. The country is overwhelmed by international groups that take the profit out of the country and regularly disrespect Hungarian laws.
    The good ones, that respect Hungarian law instead started to invest even more. BMW, AUDI, OPEL, SUZUKI.
    Hungary pays a lot more money into the EU cassa then it takes out. So, the others can have a richer life. Very low quality food products are sold by the multinational chains and killed off the local economy. Now people said:"enough" You would say the same, or not? Many international companies killed off their local competitor, like Hunslet closed off Ganz-MAVAG which was able to build fine trains and metro cars. Now, in 2010-2011 Budapest is fighting against the French ALSTOM which is trying to sell not safe metro cars. I know you don’t care about Hungarian people that might die in a metro catastrophe. Mr Orban Viktor does.

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  • 59. At 9:32pm on 04 Jan 2011, gaborimi wrote:

    What a nice bunch of colourful opinions! If only we could have an endless
    series of it overnight. You seem to be getting tired of arguing however.
    Sleep well to be fit for tomorrows personal fights for a more harmonious
    life.Confusion of ideas clears up and makes better order than Tamerlan's sword.

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  • 60. At 9:42pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    Jolly Joker wrote:

    Do you suggest that foreigners should not be allowed to learn Hungarian language?
    Do you suggest that foreigners should not be allowed to read Hungarian text?
    ---------------------------------------------------------



    No, I suggest that I don't expect foreigners to speak Hungarian. Hungarian is a very difficult language.

    I suggest that it would be better, if foreigners could speak better Hungarian and would read medias like EchoTV, or HirTV, or Magyar Hirlap, just for being impartial.

    I suggest that no need to criticise a chair when it still looks like a tree.
    I suggest that the official English version is one day old, only someone with specific interest would attack a half-baked law before it gets signed by President.
    I suggest that the attacks against this law a photocopy of the articles published in the opposition’s media and not the least objective.
    I suggest that, nobody says: Oh, I don’t like the text copied from the English or German media law. No, only the Hungarian copy is attacked.

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  • 61. At 10:11pm on 04 Jan 2011, Ellinas wrote:

    #51 DiscoStu_d

    --✄-- Just take a quick gander north of this comment --✄--

    I wonder what you use in order to always find north in relation to a comment...I'll be glad if you could lend me your "super harry potter compass"...at least for once...

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  • 62. At 10:15pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "For example, the young, skilled Hungarians can already work without any special permissions in most of the member states of the European Union."

    There you said it. Who paied for the skills of the young Hungarian worker, and who reaps the benefits?

    It is getting skilled labor without having to pay for their education.

    Hungary pays, EU reaps!


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  • 63. At 10:35pm on 04 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "Freedom of the Press is a tricky concept, though. Who defines what this freedom consists of and the limits it has no right to cross? Who protects the society from bad practices of the Press?"

    What a fine mind!
    I love such educated comments.

    Thank you.

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  • 64. At 10:42pm on 04 Jan 2011, Zoli wrote:

    This scandal that has been going on about the media law here in Hungary and all over is absolutely ridiculious and hypocratic. I'am a young Hungarian and DO NOT feel any threatend or intimidated by this so called "dictatorship" Hungary has become. I wouldn't be surprised if this whole demonizing campaign was funded by the banks and the big multinationals that now have to contriute to the recovery of the Hungarian economy.The banks(that by the way caused the crisis in the first place) and the exceptionally profitable industries now have to pay a so called "crisis tax".Obviously they don't like it eventhough they have made huge profits in this country and they must have started this taunting campaign.

    In regards of the media law all i have to say is that I'm happy that now such immoral show like Big Brother and the rest will be checkd on moral issues as i find it deeply disturbing what children can see on TV nowadays.As it has been said many times before it contains nothing that an other EU country wouldn't have.What's funny is that it has just been translated into English,yet big papers all over the world are protesting without even having read it.

    Since our new government turned down the IMF on taking on even more money with huge intrests everyone has been trying to make us look bad.I think we would do great if private sector let us.

    In regards of the nationalisation of the complusary private pension funds I'm very happy that finally i don't have to pay insurance companies to take my pension contribution to the stock markets.It has been proven that the yields have been extremely poor and the charges were really high by the insurance companies.

    I found it extremely exegarated and offensive that foreging press compare us to Russia and dictatorships!After the disaster of the past 20 years people have voted for radical change so let them have it! Mr. Orban has a 2/3 majority and has the mandate to make a change for this country after having been exploited for so long. Hungary is and will be a European country in values! I can really hope all this will stop and they'll let our government do what we voted for!I have been to many many countries and believe me there's nothing extraordinary here.

    We may be trying to fix things differently.But just look at Ireland,Greece and Spain.Bless the Irish people as i grew up in Ireland,they have to endure huge problems because they are paying for the mistakes of the fatcats.I say the people have suffered enough so let the fatcats and the bankers pay for the crisis.

    All the best,

    A 22 year old guy from Budapest

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  • 65. At 11:17pm on 04 Jan 2011, BristolGuy wrote:

    It's so absurd to cry wolf together with Ms. Ildiko Lendvai, the former Socialist Party leader... who was an actual, high-ranked censor in the Communist dictatorship. I mean that dictatorship whose fall Mr. Orban contributed a great deal.
    And it's so absurd to be hysterical like this about you don't actually know... since the final version of this media law became known only a few days ago... and the full and accurate English translation may not still be available...

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  • 66. At 11:36pm on 04 Jan 2011, Eddie wrote:

    @58. At 9:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:
    "Hungary pays a lot more money into the EU cassa then it takes out."

    really?? then how do you explain this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_European_Union#State_by_state_analysis

    Hungary: net benefit €24 billion, net benefit per capita €2384 (second highest in the union)

    but hey, why bother with facts? they might get in the way of some good old EU bashing.

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  • 67. At 11:39pm on 04 Jan 2011, istvan vranich wrote:

    Dear Sirs,

    as a new BBCiD user I would very much consider these negative comments on Hungary with 'Much Ado About NOTHING'. The EU's concerns are, if you allow me - far deeper and more serious to spend more time on this media cracker than necessary. Give some time this government to prove. The privious eight years were hell on earth but Jesus...!

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  • 68. At 01:25am on 05 Jan 2011, taller4 wrote:

    Sometimes it's tricky when you have to decide whose right has a lot more worth than the other. Nations grow and stagnate depending on whose ideals people follow. Does "Freedom of the Press" carry more weight than protecting national security or public safety?

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  • 69. At 04:08am on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    The funny thing is that this is not a story about Hungary.

    It is a story about the ignorance and arrogance of senior politicians, who try to grab every photo opportunity, regardless of the costs.

    I find the quality of such politicians increadibly shallow.
    They reflect uppon those who vote for them for representation.

    Luxemburg is a worthy country to voice its concerns, and give a bad start to an underdog.

    Thank you Luxenburg for promoting harmony and understanding within these 27 different cultures.


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  • 70. At 06:09am on 05 Jan 2011, Stevenson wrote:

    Happy New Year and Merry Christmas to one and all, oooops

    that is over? Oh well, so glad to see Mr. Gavin back :)))

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  • 71. At 07:43am on 05 Jan 2011, Tony Bradley wrote:

    If this means that Journalist have to check there facts before they go to print, it might not be a bad idea. By the standard of reporting that I have seen from numerous news agencies & sources, including the BBC, what they report & what actually are grossly different. If Freedom of the Press means being able to print nonesense, then the media is living in a fool's paradise.

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  • 72. At 08:17am on 05 Jan 2011, christina wrote:

    @60

    "I suggest that no need to criticise a chair when it still looks like a tree."
    Wise point of view. Prejudice never helped anyone. But again, one shouldn't wait until the very last moment, if they can make useful suggestions and help make a nicer chair ;)


    @63
    Thanks


    @71
    "If this means that Journalist have to check there facts before they go to print, it might not be a bad idea."

    Exactly! I agree EU should watch for attempts to suppress the freedom of information, but regulations should be in place nonetheless


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  • 73. At 08:33am on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    66. At 11:36pm on 04 Jan 2011, Eddie wrote:
    @58. At 9:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:
    "Hungary pays a lot more money into the EU cassa then it takes out."

    really?? then how do you explain this? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Budget_of_the_European_Union#State_by_state_analysis

    Hungary: net benefit €24 billion, net benefit per capita €2384 (second highest in the union)

    but hey, why bother with facts? they might get in the way of some good old EU bashing.

    ----------------------------------------------------------
    Thank you for your comment. You managed to prove that, people are writing things without actually reading the source carefully.

    The link took me to a Open Europe estimates for EU-27 budget for 2007-2013 in euros (€)

    I repeat ESTIMATES, not real figures from 2007. Then the global crises came, and the lier president Gyurcsany was sent home and a democratic election gave us Mr Viktor Orban.

    As your comment aimed to make people believe in that Hungary takes more money than it gives I asked for real figures an economist. I'll let this forum know the result.

    best regars and strongly advise to read carefully, before writing.

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  • 74. At 08:45am on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @71 & 72:

    Agreed.

    These days I have to watch the same news from 3 different channel, just to try to find out what is really going on.

    Still in many cases not much luck.
    Media this days is so full of bias, and reporters not report but make presentations of their agenda.


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  • 75. At 09:15am on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    Gavin, the picture you have just made of Hungary does not differ much from the rest of the newly admitted member countries from Eastern Europe. True, there is undeniable progress in terms of democratization of the institutions, in terms of the positive reconstruction of the economies through the successful technical, economic and political cooperation within the EU. Unfortunately the creation of political elite will take time, maybe the time of another generation. You cannot compare 20 years old elite with 200 years old nobility. We in the East are aware of that evident shortage of well educated and clever politicians who would be able to guarantee a successful development of the national economy under any circumstances, a peaceful co-existences BTW all the social groups, BTW all ethnicities, an atmosphere of relative freedom for any individual when it comes to him to make his choice for a successful career, etc. Our leaders are all too eager to make up for the lost time. It will not work so easily. The social life cannot be ruled trough decrees.
    Regards from Sofia

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  • 76. At 09:27am on 05 Jan 2011, Hungarian scientific worker wrote:

    @55 "...emigrants that had to leave and therefore hate their own country.
    Simply they cannot write the truth. "
    Do you know anything about Hungarian emigrants, young friend? Let me list a few names:
    Sándor Márai (one of the best Hungarian writer)
    Albert Szent-Györgyi (Vitamin-C, citrate-cycle)
    E. Teller (father of the American hydrogen-bomb)
    Imre Kertész (jewish Hungarian writer, Nobel Prize winner)
    George Soros (moneymaker and supporter of the new generation of politicinas. Supported Mr Orban's political studies in the UK. I think he has already regreted)
    etc., etc.
    None of them hate(d) Hungary but they ferquently criticize(d) the actual governments.
    Otherwise I suggest reading a Hungarian writer Karinthy for these Orban fans writing here. Karinthy wrote about a Hungarian poet who respected E. Ady too much:
    "Master, I want to fall into your saint big buttom!" (my translation, sorry!)

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  • 77. At 10:09am on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #58. At 9:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian,

    "Hungary pays a lot more money into the EU cassa then it takes out."

    The 2009 EU budget shows that Hungary was the third largest receiver of EU funds and they received 2659.7 million Euros, in 2008 they received only 1055.5 million Euros. I think that wherever you got your information from it was incorrect as the figures I've quoted are the official EU budget figures.

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  • 78. At 10:10am on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @15 Powermeerkat
    "I doubt Hungarians alone (a v. small nation) can ruin current EUSSR's image (and credit worthiness) in the world much."
    How true!
    Hi, Happy New Year friend!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFy9p4HQwVY
    sorry for the quality of the film

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  • 79. At 10:19am on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #62. At 10:15pm on 04 Jan 2011, TG wrote:

    "For example, the young, skilled Hungarians can already work without any special permissions in most of the member states of the European Union."

    Ah yes, this old hot potato about how skills are accepted throughout the EU as proof that the much vaunted freedom of movement actually exists. The only problem is that skills are not acceptable across borders, an electrician cannot work in multiple countries without re-training, let alone a gas fitter, the proverbial tip of an enormous iceberg about how skills are not transportable.

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  • 80. At 10:29am on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #66. At 11:36pm on 04 Jan 2011, Eddie

    Er facts? your quoted source only has three years for which the official budget figures have been released (2007-2009) and four years which are at best a guess since the budget has mostly yet to be agreed (2010-2013) which 2010 agreed but not yet released. Your source is also an Open-Europe estimate so facts are certainly not the case here, furthermore per capita comparisons are an irrelevance often used by those from small countries to try and suggest they are important to the EU.

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  • 81. At 10:31am on 05 Jan 2011, arthurmoment wrote:

    If Hungary was a larger country I would be nervous. The nation borders on the principals of national socialism. There are dark sinister areas including anti-jew, gypsy etc. The population is obsessed, even though there are few alive that can remember, with the pre-1921 lost border areas. In schools nationalist ideals are part of the curriculumn. Individuals are cultivated in a system of regimentalism and show little ways of creativity and individualism. Corruption exists in all areas of society. The goverment is powerful in red-tape. Incompetency and lack of professionalism reign everywhere. Cheating is common place - rife in school and university. People treat one another without any regard.
    I know - I lived there for 5 years. Under the tourist facade is a lovely contry but has the most awful population (with a few exeptions)that thrives on self pity.
    I was glad to get back to the UK, where despite the problems has a much free, equal, honest and pleasant society.

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  • 82. At 11:01am on 05 Jan 2011, Simon wrote:

    Well Hungary's situation is not unique in the EU by any means.

    Look at Italy's press - Berlusconi's ownership of most of the private media and influence over the state media in his role as PM,is blatantly undemocratic.

    And what about Britain. If the Australian Rupert Murdoch is allowed to take over BSkyB then his influence over British media will be clearly uncompetitive and damaging to Britain's democracy. I think we should be looking at our own situation before getting involved with Hungary.

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  • 83. At 11:06am on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @81 arthurmoment
    Except for several purely national traditions that make part of the Bulgarian mentality, and that exclude the xenophobia based on the cultural differences of the ethnicities (I mean the peaceful co-existence for centuries with the Turkish, Jewish, Roma, Armenian and other minorities) our society here suffers the same negative trend you have just mentioned above. See my @75.
    Regards

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  • 84. At 11:29am on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Hungary = Big Bad Wolf ---- Democracy = 3 little vulnerable piglets

    Across the border of Hungary, in Slovakia, individual people are fined just for using their own language (hungarian).

    In Serbia, ppl are beaten dead for using Hungarian in a bus stop.

    In Rumania, neo nazis stage regular meetings in historical hungarian towns, asking hungarians to go home to hungary.

    You guys in the west, you think you are a tough defender of democracy?

    Why dont you get born in your next life as a hungarian?:)

    Thank God that I live in Japan for the last 20 years, far from this nationalist madness of yours, crap and crippy democracy.

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  • 85. At 11:43am on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    At 81. arthurmoment:

    Thank you for describing Hungary as the land of the cheaters and corruption. I am glad that you are safely back in the UK.

    Yet in the BBC news it was the UK MP's who made the new on falsibly claiming expenses.
    Is that cheating too?

    Also in the BBC, you could learn how many brits enjoy disability retirement fees from the UK government, while having the time of their life in the beaches of Spain.

    Who you call cheaters?

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  • 86. At 12:32pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    77. At 10:09am on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:
    #58. At 9:21pm on 04 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian,

    "Hungary pays a lot more money into the EU cassa then it takes out."

    The 2009 EU budget shows that Hungary was the third largest receiver of EU funds and they received 2659.7 million Euros, in 2008 they received only 1055.5 million Euros. I think that wherever you got your information from it was incorrect as the figures I've quoted are the official EU budget figures.
    ------------------------------------------------------------------

    Oh, thank you for the info, you would not mind adding a link here to check out your figures. Not, because I don't trust you, only I prefer to check out.

    Do you also know the names and bank account numbers who has received this amount of money, as it is missing from the Hungarian cassa? Any evidence upon the bank transfer would be also appreciated.

    Seriously, I would like to know how this amount was put together and will send to Budai Gyula, who is responsible for putting in prison corrupted leaders.
    Looking forward to see your sources.

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  • 87. At 12:34pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:


    Almost forgot, here is the link to get the English version of the new Hungarian Media Law.

    Please, read it first and then form your opinion. Just like a serious and professional person would do.

    ---------------------------------
    http://www.nmhh.hu/dokumentum.php?cid=25694

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  • 88. At 12:37pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    78. At 10:10am on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:
    @15 Powermeerkat
    "I doubt Hungarians alone (a v. small nation) can ruin current EUSSR's image (and credit worthiness) in the world much."
    How true!
    Hi, Happy New Year friend!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jFy9p4HQwVY
    sorry for the quality of the film

    -------------------------------------------------------------
    Why did you put a link to Bolgarian music here?

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  • 89. At 1:04pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 90. At 1:11pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #86. At 12:32pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    You should simply search for fin_report_09_en.pdf on ec.europa.eu [http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/publications/fin_reports/fin_report_09_en.pdf] and it is highly likely that it is also available in Hungarian as the last two letters denote the language. This is the report for 2009 but it also includes all preceding years.

    As for who receives all EU money that is an interesting question to which many of us here would love to see an answer, some countries do publish certain facts, especially about the recipients of CAP money but that seems to be a diminishing statistic as EU democracy gets worse.

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  • 91. At 1:26pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    One more time.
    This is not about how shity democracy is in Hungary.
    Not about how much money Hungary gets from the EU.

    This is about trying to blacken the image of a legitimatly elected government of a small EU country with big problems.

    Good luck with being used for this purpose by people you do not even know.

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  • 92. At 1:32pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Someone suggesting here we need to consider that the west has 200 years of democracy while the east has 20 years.

    PLEASE!

    For 200 years the west has been reaping off the rest of the world!
    The sun never sets on her majesty's empire!

    You guys have been stealing the wealth of other countries at gun point!
    The wealth of countries like China, Inda, South Africa.

    Now that nowhere else left to steal, you emerge as the protectors of democracy?

    I must laugh.
    If someone has to learn, its not the east but the west.

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  • 93. At 1:33pm on 05 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    88 "Why did you put a link to Bolgarian music here?"

    Because he lives there?

    Thank you General :)

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  • 94. At 1:37pm on 05 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    I wish the censors had not driven out Threnodio...his insight would have been very interesting on this subject. :(

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  • 95. At 1:43pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    90. At 1:11pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:
    #86. At 12:32pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    You should simply search for fin_report_09_en.pdf on ec.europa.eu [http://ec.europa.eu/budget/library/publications/fin_reports/fin_report_09_en.pdf] and it is highly likely that it is also available in Hungarian as the last two letters denote the language. This is the report for 2009 but it also includes all preceding years.

    As for who receives all EU money that is an interesting question to which many of us here would love to see an answer, some countries do publish certain facts, especially about the recipients of CAP money but that seems to be a diminishing statistic as EU democracy gets worse.

    ---------------------------------------------------------------
    Thanks a lot for the link. You know seeing such a big number and knowing that it has never actually reached hunagarian people makes me feel really sad.

    There's a new scandal in Hungary, about EIB loans. Banks took it and they gave a very small part to small companies.

    If you know Hungarian: [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]
    I guess this is in the EU budget as money that Hungary took.

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  • 96. At 2:09pm on 05 Jan 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    @92. TG wrote:

    For 200 years the west has been reaping off the rest of the world!
    The sun never sets on her majesty's empire!

    You guys have been stealing the wealth of other countries at gun point!
    The wealth of countries like China, Inda, South Africa.
    _______________________________________________________________________

    Well, all I can say is we should have obviously done more of it, considering how well, at least two of the countries you name, have performed!

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  • 97. At 2:24pm on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @ 92 TG
    "Someone suggesting here we need to consider that the west has 200 years of democracy while the east has 20 years."
    Sorry for the mistake. The West has more than 200 years of progressively improved skills of ruling a civilized society we are accustomed to refer to by using the term "democracy" (no matter the preferred choice of the state ruling institution). That evident fact does not necessarily mean that all "democracies" are perfect. Simply, there is no other better model of civic organization. Just question please the East Europeans because their memories are still alive. They know better... However, I thank you for your comments, and I agree with you that Colonialism is a disgusting and very shameful page of the human history that evidences the crimes, the cruelties and the humiliations over millions of people the West perpetrated for centuries.

    @88 AbiriginalHungarian
    "Why did you put a link to Bolgarian music here?"
    Powermeerkat is an American of Polish origin I appreciate very much. He knows well my country, I know well the Poles and the Polish culture, so I guess (as an exception), to have the right to wish him good luck for the New Year.

    @ 93 Freeman
    "Thank you General"
    You are welcome. The congregation Gavin Hewitt inherited from Mark Mardell has not been gathered only for the needs of a careful study by the Brits of the public opinion in Europe. Its existence gives the opportunity to establish a new field for human contacts where the ordinary people (who probably will never meet together) can freely exchange comments about any topic the BBC people would launch for discussion. It's a chance for us to improve our knowledge of each other, and eventually to improve the confidence BTW us in that large space of co-existence we name Europe...
    Regards


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  • 98. At 2:33pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #95. At 1:43pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    No problem, that web site is useful for many official publications, although whether you believe all the figures is up to you as I remain ever sceptical ablout anything emanating from the EU mandarins, including their criticism of Hungary. As I said earlier it is even worse than the pot calling the kettle black, EU mandarins have no right to lecture on democracy anywhere.

    I hope though for Hungary's sake that the replacements for the corrupt ex (reformed, lol) communists (now Socialists, ha) are more honest, but only time can tell for that.

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  • 99. At 2:55pm on 05 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Freeman wrote:
    "I wish the censors had not driven out Threnodio...his insight would have been very interesting on this subject. :(

    Yes.

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  • 100. At 3:00pm on 05 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Rightly or wrongly, the German and French governements and the "EU" are ready to put pressure on the government of Hungary.

    BUT

    "EU"-lovers and supporters have argued repeatedly on this blog that those organisations could not have put pressure on the UK government to give us the referendum on the new "EU"-treaty that we were promised that about 82% wanted and in which 70% wanted to say NO.

    We have had forty years of maniplative claptrap from supporters of European integration.

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  • 101. At 3:00pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    @92. TG wrote:

    "For 200 years the west has been reaping off the rest of the world!
    The sun never sets on her majesty's empire!

    You guys have been stealing the wealth of other countries at gun point!
    The wealth of countries like China, Inda, South Africa..."



    Oh no!

    Yet another, 'it's all the fault of the British/English'!

    What is the contagion affecting some of the contributors on here!?

    "...sun never sets...empire...": Are you completely from another time dimension?

    The British left India in 1947... 64 years ago and you still harp on about it!
    The British left every African, American & Asian colony (except Hong Kong, 1997) by the 1970s... i.e. 35 to 40+ years ago...
    The British only remain in control of 'Overseas Territories' whose indigenous populations have Voted in Referenda to remain under British rule (e.g. Falklands, Gibraltar, Tristan da Cuhna etc.).


    How about You reflecting on the fact it is EUropean nations such as the Spanish (still in the Sahara), and other nations, e.g. Turkey (Kurds & Armenians), India (Kashmir), China (Tibet), Russia (take your pick of half a dozen nations) that haven't quite retreated from their 'Imperial' past instead of trying to lay all the blame on the UK's well known history.

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  • 102. At 3:01pm on 05 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:


    Many "EU"-lovers, probably the majority, are slimy , arrogant., manipulative serial liars

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  • 103. At 3:10pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    I have received an email from moderator for a weblink. I am puzzled, as many others published weblinks and were not removed. Where is the freedom of expression here?

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  • 104. At 3:18pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    " Now since your job is to go around Europe you might even have noticed that there countries with currencies like Poland or the Czech Republic. Not exactly banana republics, are they, in the conventional sens?"



    Poland, Hungary and the then Czechoslovakia were considered banana (potato?) republics by Moscow Socialists.

    Today, Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, etc., are considered banana republics by Brussels Socialists.

    [Estonia is in an even worse predicament, since it's just become a euro zone member. :-(((]

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  • 105. At 3:18pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    98. At 2:33pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:
    #95. At 1:43pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    No problem, that web site is useful for many official publications, although whether you believe all the figures is up to you as I remain ever sceptical ablout anything emanating from the EU mandarins, including their criticism of Hungary. As I said earlier it is even worse than the pot calling the kettle black, EU mandarins have no right to lecture on democracy anywhere.

    I hope though for Hungary's sake that the replacements for the corrupt ex (reformed, lol) communists (now Socialists, ha) are more honest, but only time can tell for that.

    ----------------------------------------------------------------------

    I cannot give you more information on ex and very corrupt leaders and their scandalls as moderator removed my other link, only I can suggest to look for MR Gyula Budai.

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  • 106. At 3:24pm on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @94 Freeman @99 AliceInWonderLand
    "I wish the censors had not driven out Threnodio...his insight would have been very interesting on this subject."

    I totally agree with you. Threnodio is a Brit who has been living for decades in Hungary. Besides, most of his comments proved to be well balanced and impartial.

    Alice, welcome

    Cool_Brush_Work Happy New Year!

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  • 107. At 3:25pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "I am very sorry that some International Journalists and others are trying to give Hungary negative coverage."





    You think you have a reason to complain?

    Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A.


    Public Enemy No 1. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    [for any fellow traveler, pool-side pinko or al-Qaida/Taliban aficionado]


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  • 108. At 3:30pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    Now I can see that commenters are not any more interested in Hungarian media law. This is good. Things are getting back to normal. Anyway, the law mentioned will not be modified soon, according to Mr Péter Szijjártó.

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  • 109. At 3:33pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ cool_brush_work

    Oh yeah?
    Hungary was busy getting rid of the Russians in 1956 while you were busy trying to reassert authority over the Suez Canal!

    You might have been kicked out of India in 1947, but how much wealth did you return to it since then?

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  • 110. At 3:35pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    CBW [Happy New Year!] wrote [re my comment about 'Old Europe" looking the other way when Hungary was being drowned in blood by the Soviets.] :



    Yeah, it is one of those irreconcilable problems for the 'pro-EU' who're also 'anti-American'!

    They complain about all sorts of injustices, frequently blame the USA, and yet when we look at the intervention record of 'western Europe' including my UK, they did diddly squat about anything and then have the nerve to attempt to blame Washington.





    CBW: You know and I know that Americans are dooomed and condemned if they do, and if they don't.

    Even if, as your Churchill observed:
    "In the end Americans will always do the right thing".

    [please do not repeat that to any The Guardian, Le Monde or Il Manifesto voracious reader: they may get a heart attack]

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  • 111. At 3:45pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    104. At 3:18pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    " Now since your job is to go around Europe you might even have noticed that there countries with currencies like Poland or the Czech Republic. Not exactly banana republics, are they, in the conventional sens?"



    Poland, Hungary and the then Czechoslovakia were considered banana (potato?) republics by Moscow Socialists.

    Today, Bulgaria, Czechia, Hungary, Lithuania, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia, etc., are considered banana republics by Brussels Socialists.

    [Estonia is in an even worse predicament, since it's just become a euro zone member. :-(((]

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------

    I don't know the others, but Hungary and Poland definitely does not like to be considered banana republics. Now we in Hungary have got a strong and determined new leadership. I can understand that, it is all new, and not everybody like it. As EU is not doing well, maybe a strong leadership would do good to it.

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  • 112. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, john wrote:

    Dear EUprisoner209456731
    Let me telling you the majority of the EU lovers are people which do not wont a repetition of the last two wars in Europe please read of all the death just because people ad a nationalistic view.
    Second we are people which love our tradition and we are people which wont Europe to be Europe not the USA.
    Let us hope all Gods are blessing our EU
    John

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  • 113. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @ 107 Powermeerkat
    "Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A."
    Take it easy friend.
    Just imagine how this world would look like if the US falls apart. True, the main criticism goes directly to your rulers, but a few people dare even to imagine how to preserve the present status quo without you. It's not a fair play.

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  • 114. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    107. At 3:25pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:
    "I am very sorry that some International Journalists and others are trying to give Hungary negative coverage."

    You think you have a reason to complain?

    Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A.

    Public Enemy No 1. :-))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))

    [for any fellow traveler, pool-side pinko or al-Qaida/Taliban aficionado]

    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    I personally know American guys and I can assure you about that you are not Public Enemy No 1. in Hungary. Normal simple people suffer in America just like in Hungary. There’s no difference at all. I saw a documentary about Detroit. It was heartbreaking.

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  • 115. At 4:00pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:


    To much maligned Bulgarians, Czechs, Hungarians, Poles, Slovaks, etc.'

    and, last but not least Russian Jews:


    HAPPY NEW YEAR!

    [Unsuitable/Broken URL removed by Moderator]

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  • 116. At 4:50pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    I don't really like when people start talking about that who is Jew, who is not. I found it offensive and manipulative. Religion is a private thing. People should be judge for what they do, and not what religion belong to. There was one message here that listed Hungarian emigrants, and put also in the list who is Jew. Anybody that would express a negative opinion will be marked as anti-Semitic. This is also a form of limiting free expression.

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  • 117. At 4:52pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    109. At 3:33pm on 05 Jan 2011, TG wrote:
    @ cool_brush_work

    Oh yeah?
    Hungary was busy getting rid of the Russians in 1956 while you were busy trying to reassert authority over the Suez Canal!

    You might have been kicked out of India in 1947, but how much wealth did you return to it since then?"



    The above is just pure, lazy history based on hypothetical scenarios!


    What has Suez 1956 to do with events in Hungary or anything else?

    Hungary was occupied by the USSR Red Army forces: Many brave Hungarians sacrificed & paid a very heavy price in an attempted rebellion against that occupation.

    G.B. & France inexcusable venture into Suez (with Israel) trying to bully Egypt's Nasser may be a convenient exposition of why the Hungarian Uprising failed, however the bitter, unvarnished factual reality is nobody in the 'west' was going to come to the Hungarians' aid and no matter how fierce the uprising the Red Army would always have prevailed because the Cold War status meant no other result was feasible at that time.

    If You believe the USA was only distracted by the Suez debacle from intervening on behalf of those brave Hungarians then You have still not understood the Cold War status quo and even less about the relative importance of the political status of 'East European' nations was to that whole era.

    I repeat: You are just another contributor who seeks to lay the blame for past wrongs matters at the door of the UK & uses the 'imperial' past as an excuse for present day failings - - frankly it is a nonsense - - it is factually inaccurate and also so out-dated as to make any points raised by You almost redundant before they are even considered.

    There were Empires; there are still remnants: Almost certainly in every former colony of every 'imperial' power there are problems that relate to that exploited past, but all of them I venture to suggest to You are compounded by many much more recent events/polices etc. post-Independence.


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  • 118. At 4:59pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "For 200 years the west has been reaping off the rest of the world!"



    For over 200 years a former British colony in North America has refused to be ripped off again.


    As PRC is going to find our after November 2012 US election.


    BTW. Has China already bought whole EUSSR or is merely in a process?

    [starting with Greece]

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  • 119. At 5:06pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Alice in Wonderland!

    Glad you've survived another bout of global warming.

    Happy New Year from meerkat the goy.


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c6qo6vwE-nI&feature=related

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  • 120. At 5:10pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    112. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, john wrote:
    Dear EUprisoner209456731
    Let me telling you the majority of the EU lovers are people which do not wont a repetition of the last two wars in Europe please read of all the death just because people ad a nationalistic view...."



    Well, You will certainly be offering Your heartfelt gratitude to Thank NATO and the European Economic Community in the 'west' for all that 'peace' in Continental Europe circa 1946 - 1990.

    The political construct known as the EUropean Union, formulated at Maastricht in 1992 had almost nothing to do with no more wars: It may have expanded to the 'East', but only because the Economies of most of the EU's client States in the 'West' were beginning to fail under the stagnating, stifling, centralising 'one-size-fits-all' fixation of Brussels.

    Post-Maastricht gratitude should be for the 'Eastern' European Nations such as Hungary, Poland who were re-starting their Economies from such a low base-level post-Soviet occupation and therefore were a timely and desparately needed Economic boost for a flagging 'Western' EUrope.



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  • 121. At 5:11pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Why did you include a ink to Bulgarian music?"





    If you prefer origial aksak rhythms:


    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ygB4hPWyJig

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  • 122. At 5:24pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    generalissimo wrote (kindly)
    "Powermeerkat is an American of Polish origin I appreciate higly. He knows well my country, I know well the Poles and the Polish culture, so I guess (as an exception), to have the right to wish him good luck for the New Year."






    Ditto. All the best to all Bulgarian people who are treated as an after-thought by Brussels Socialist bureaucrats. Even more than Hungarians.


    P.S. I still remember fondly Bulgarian bread, egg-plants, cheap wine, brandy, and most of all, Bulgarians' warm hospitality and friendliness.

    After all these years.

    [although not Comrade Zhivkov's regime]


    And still think Bulgarian folk music is the richest in Europe.

    [yes, even if the Polish one is included. :-)]

    Best to you personally and to all Bulgars!

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  • 123. At 5:38pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    generalissimo66 wrote:
    @ 107 Powermeerkat
    "Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A."
    Take it easy friend.
    Just imagine how this world would look like if the US falls apart. True, the main criticism goes directly to your rulers, but a few people dare even to imagine how to preserve the present status quo without you. It's not a fair play.


    No it't not. However, our resentment of EUSSR 'fellow travellers' notwithstanding I think that if push comes to shove we'll still come over "till it's over over there". :-)


    [Unless of course our European Continental friends decide that being a part of the "new improved Russian Empire" or of a Islamist Sharia-based caliphate is in their best interest.]


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  • 124. At 5:44pm on 05 Jan 2011, MaudDib wrote:

    Dear Hungarians

    Please do not get distraught over criticism of Hungarian policies. I for one think each country has to make it's own way. Are children from the same parents all the same or clones? Why no. So, should all Europeans countries look the same? Why no. This is why I am somewhat sceptical of the European project and why I think Russia will never join. They are like Alice. Hard headed :O)))

    The problem with this democracy thing is that it is like a fragile flower. It must be nurtured on a regular basis. It needs constant attention. You need to have the setup to provide those necessary things. It is not like a plastic flower you take out of a box and voila!!!! There you have it.

    Now everybody got excited over Russia casting off communism and thought everything is gonna be all right in Who-vile. Well the truth is they just didn't have the institutions in place for such a change. Now Russians say "What is so great about this democracy, it feels the same to me or worse". The trick is the citizens of a country must stay on their politicians ass all the time. To do otherwise is to insure a totalitarian state. Unfortunately in some countries this posses a risk to your personal health. It ain't without cost.

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  • 125. At 5:52pm on 05 Jan 2011, Magyartwolips wrote:

    Thank you Gavin Hewitt for raising the issue and concern for Freedom of Speech in Hungary and the very scary scenario of a government clamp-down on the media here.

    Hungarians who support the present Fidesz government simply do not know the difference between Freedom of Speech and Censorship. Freedom of Speech means that opposing viewponts can be expressed without fear of reprisals. It means that it is possible to criticise the government - any government of any persuasion or ideological agenda.

    When Hungary was living under communist rule, surely one of the most terrifying aspects was that it was not possible to speak out against the government, without either losing your job, being kicked out of university or school or being carted away, posssibly never to be seen again. Why is this kind of censorhip, and it is censorhip, acceptable now? This is called ruling by fear, whether it is a communist government, a centre-right one, fascist or socialist.

    With Orbán’s new legislation, we are returning to communist-style rule by fear, where the government decides whose version of reality is to be publicised. The Fidesz government and its supporters simply cannot tolerate any criticsm or opposing point of view, and respond with a highly emotional and agressive outrage against anyone and everyone, including the foreign media, if they think differently to them. One only has to look at some of the comments following articles which criticise this government.

    In Hungary there is also a complete lack of undersanding of what democracy means and most Hungarians do not know what the day-to-day practicing of democracy is about. How can they, when it was non-existent for so many years under communism. So there is a confusion here about Freedom of Speech and hate-talk which encourages racism.

    No one should be allowed to generate hatred and racist comments. In more evolved Western democracies this is acknowledged and laws are in place to uphold the notion.

    The present Hungarian government has been able to work hard at erradicating the foundations of democracy, which we have been struggling to achieve here, and the crack-down on the media is a very serious symptom of this.

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  • 126. At 5:59pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Hungary was occupied by the USSR Red Army forces: Many brave Hungarians sacrificed & paid a very heavy price in an attempted rebellion against that occupation."




    I recall Poles donating blood and admitting many a Hungarian orphan in the aftermath of the Andropov's instigated invasion.

    Despite still being under Moscow control.

    To those Continentals who blame Brits: and what has France, West Germany, Italy, Portugal, Spain [forget Greece] did then?

    I remember it well: N O T H I N G!


    As usual. [remember Srebrnica?]

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  • 127. At 6:18pm on 05 Jan 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    118 powermeer writes:

    "BTW. Has China already bought whole EUSSR or is merely in a process?
    [starting with Greece]"

    Not yet powermeer. They are a bit short at the moment after buying up most of the USA (I think the Japanese bought the rest).

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  • 128. At 6:30pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    102. At 3:01pm on 05 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    Many "EU"-lovers, probably the majority, are slimy , arrogant., manipulative serial liars.."


    I'm as 'anti-EU' as You, but the above is unadulterated tosh & gibberish.

    Many, probably the majority of 'pro-EU' are sincere in their beliefs as You & I are in our viewpoints.

    It plays into the hands of that minority of 'pro-EU' who think themselves better informed, better educated, cleverer etc. than everyone else (You know them... the 'superior' ones on this blog who label us all tabloid fodder/little englanders etc. and the rest of that unsustainable garbage) whenever we 'anti' chuck these sorts of labels into the debate.

    By all means tell them straight how you feel about the EU, but as to their personality, IMO apart from the actual EU Leadership, it has little or nothing to do with it.

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  • 129. At 6:37pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    Now Russians say "What is so great about this democracy, it feels the same to me or worse".


    MaudDib, the answer is simple:

    Russians didn't know any democracy in their history.

    So they believed that what was sold to them as democracy was a genuine Western style product.

    Whether in reality it's been simply a corrupted plutocracy with KGB/FSB mafia being actually in charge. [still is under gen. Gazputin's rule]

    [As Mr. Assange's WikiLeaks revealed to some (small) extent]

    Now, if presented with such a 'democracy' would you opt for it?

    I, for one, not knowing any better, would not.

    Now about yet another trial for an American crab importer about to get yet another mujlti-years jail sentence in yet another phoney trial just as Mr. Khodorkovsky...

    I'd rather save my breath. :-(

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  • 130. At 6:51pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    margaret howard wrote:
    118 powermeer writes:

    "BTW. Has China already bought whole EUSSR or is merely in a process?
    [starting with Greece]"

    Not yet powermeer. They are a bit short at the moment after buying up most of the USA (I think the Japanese bought the rest).





    margaret, it's not exactly like that.

    The Chinese simply invest their money in the safest place possible (in THEIR view), id est in U.S. Treasury bonds, figuring that by the time the fat dog gets lean, skinny dogs (read: most of EUSSR) will be long dead.


    No, margaret, since PRC's economy is mostly EXPORT oriented and its bieggest export market by far is U.S. please imagine what would happen tothat GULAG if U.S. government introduce a 30% excise tax on cheap (in every sense of the word) Chninese goods?

    U.S. would survive (particularly since so many cheap labor markets are readily available to it in Central and S. America, not to mention Mexico), but what would comrades from Beijing Politbureau do?

    Sell their stuff to Burma? Ivory Coast? Mali? N. Korea? Zimbabwe?

    "Stop in the name of love!". And give it a thought.

    regards,

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  • 131. At 6:59pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #117 CBW

    " I repeat: You are just another contributor who seeks to lay the blame for past wrongs matters at the door of the UK & uses the 'imperial' past as an excuse for present day failings - - frankly it is a nonsense - - it is factually inaccurate and also so out-dated as to make any points raised by You almost redundant before they are even considered.

    There were Empires; there are still remnants: Almost certainly in every former colony of every 'imperial' power there are problems that relate to that exploited past, but all of them I venture to suggest to You are compounded by many much more recent events/polices etc. post-Independence. "

    Yet again this contributor fails to grasp the extensive societal problems in many countries left by the British as the Empire declined. His dishonest assumption that after independence --Britain has washed it hands clean from responsibility, conveniently denies the mass migrations of Indians and Chinese (mainly) supported and assisted by the Colonial Masters -- while ´Dividing and Ruling.´

    All over the West Indies, Africa, Asia and other colonies the hatred of those migrants did not stop when the British left. The pains of the Jews did not stop because the Nazis were defeated.

    If CBW had taken the trouble during his lifetime of looking at the World as it is, we would have been spared this continual British denial of its atrocities and suppression.

    -- Please CBW -- go to the countries and see for yourself !!!!


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  • 132. At 7:22pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #131


    Nowhere in this blog do I deny past British wrong-doings. QOT just makes it up: I have only argued that to point the finger at G.B. as if it were the only nation at fault is a disappointingly narrow perspective of World History.

    To repeat (especially for QOT's fatherland): Chucking stones with so many glass houses around is a very dodgy occupation.

    Contrary to QOT's assertion I have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of good Governance and to attribute any significant portion of modern Indian difficulties to a regime that left the sub-Continent 64 years ago is ludicrous.
    Just as it is entirely implausible for any attempt to pretend the failings of Africa are the fault of a 'Colonialism' (by the UK or any Europpean power) that had also been visited on Asia & the Americas whose general populace seem to have made far better ventures since Independence.

    That QOT, as with his drearily predictable & wayward depictions of the modern day UK, doesn't have a clue about most if any of the modern era former Colonies (of any nation) other than fevered imagination is obvious from this & all Your previous contributions.

    I've nothing to add: QOT find someone who still wants to believe You have any point except that of 'anti-British/English' on every issue.

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  • 133. At 7:23pm on 05 Jan 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    130 powermeer writes:
    "U.S. would survive (particularly since so many cheap labor markets are readily available to it in Central and S. America, not to mention Mexico), but what would comrades from Beijing Politbureau do?
    Sell their stuff to Burma? Ivory Coast? Mali? N. Korea? Zimbabwe?"

    They have been investing and buying up land in Africa for a couple of decades now. The West is only just waking up to the fact that China has replaced the European empires in dominating the African continent. Like everything else, they do it in their usual quiet, unassuming way. Their African labourers will be enticed to buy their goods as that market will be enormous.

    You also say:".. please imagine what would happen to that GULAG if U.S. government introduce a 30% excise tax on cheap (in every sense of the word) Chninese goods?"
    I don't think there will be any need. So far we have all been blinded in the West by the cheap goods being exported by China. It won't last because like myself people will soon tire of throwing away useless, faulty and often dangerous tat that has replaced the far superior quality if more expensive European products. As an example just before xmas I replaced my 30-year old tree lights with some Chinese ones and they lasted exactly 14 days. Ditto a hair drier that blew up in my face and a cheap toaster that doesn't toast properly.



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  • 134. At 7:54pm on 05 Jan 2011, Jolly Joker wrote:

    At 1:26pm on 05 Jan 2011, TG wrote: " This is about trying to blacken the image of a legitimatly elected government of a small EU country with big problems. "

    And the problems, yeah, barátom, they seem to get even bigger :))

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  • 135. At 8:00pm on 05 Jan 2011, powermeerkat wrote:

    "Their African labourers will be enticed to buy their goods as that market will be enormous"




    Buying with WHAT?

    BTW. The Chinese have started to buy EUSSR bit by bit.

    [starting with Greece]



    I realize, margaret, that you're much farther north, but if I were you I'd be much more concerned about that than about PRC supporting the most unsavory regimes in Africa, including Sudan, just to gain a footold in raw materials-rich regions.

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  • 136. At 8:12pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Just so we all know what 500+ million Citizens represented at the core of the entity are getting for their hard-earned Taxes. Needless to say unlike the supine, EU-enamoured Media of the Continent only the Telegraph queried this typical example of EU-Brussels entity:


    Headline:'Top EU officials entitled to 3 months off per year on full pay'

    The Daily Telegraph reveals that 1,962 senior EU officials, earning between £104,000 and £185,000 a year, were entitled to three months time off work on full pay last year. Top officials are allowed 24 days leave, 11 ‘non-working’ days over Christmas and six public holiday days. On top of this, EU officials are entitled to an extra 24 days off per year if they choose to work an extra 45 minutes per day, as part of a flexi-time scheme originally designed for lower paid secretarial staff. Open Europe’s Stephen Booth is quoted saying: "If the top ranks of the EU's civil service can take this much time off it raises interesting questions about how much work they are actually doing."



    Thank goodness there is a supra-National Economic Crisis or who knows how many more MONTHS OFF these pampered, over-paid, insufferably self-indulgent apparatchiks-at-the-trough would take as legitimate R & R!?

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  • 137. At 8:13pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Euractiv reports that French Budget Minister François Baroin said yesterday that the new media law passed by the Hungarian government is “incompatible with the application of ideas on press freedom that have been validated in the European Treaties”, and called on other EU member states to take action against it.

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  • 138. At 8:36pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #112. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, john

    Gibberish,

    #131. At 6:59pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree

    Total Gibberish.

    #AboriginalHungarian

    Your country has made the mistake of trying to be independent and free thinking in an EU that hates and cannot tolerate any dissension from the party line. Keep on with your attempt to reject EU doctrine and EU attempts to reinstall a communist dictatorial empire, sorry they try to call it Socialist these days.

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  • 139. At 8:44pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #137. At 8:13pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work

    So a French budget minister who has helped milk the EU funds talks about something being incompatible with EU treaties, no doubt he has forgotten his country should never have been in the Eurozone and should never have received the benefits it has. Talk about benefit scroungers!

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  • 140. At 9:48pm on 05 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    MaudDib wrote and every word is gold.

    "The problem with this democracy thing is that it is like a fragile flower. It must be nurtured on a regular basis. It needs constant attention. You need to have the setup to provide those necessary things. It is not like a plastic flower you take out of a box and voila!!!! There you have it.

    Now everybody got excited over Russia casting off communism and thought everything is gonna be all right in Who-vile. Well the truth is they just didn't have the institutions in place for such a change. Now Russians say "What is so great about this democracy, it feels the same to me or worse". The trick is the citizens of a country must stay on their politicians ass all the time. To do otherwise is to insure a totalitarian state."

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  • 141. At 10:17pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    #132 CBW

    Britain and its Empire is responsible for the problems it left societies to clear up at independence.

    Your confusion (ignorance) of Britain BRINGING (mainly) Indians and Chinese to POPULATE the colonies ( in Africa, West Indies, Malaysia, British Guyana etc. etc.) has nothing whatsoever to do with your rather arrogant-

    "Contrary to QOT's assertion I have a working knowledge of the fundamentals of good Governance and to attribute any significant portion of modern Indian difficulties to a regime that left the sub-Continent 64 years ago is ludicrous."

    As you have very little World experience to conflict with your views --the suggestion that you lack knowledge of Colonialism is more than justified.

    The racial problems existing in most ex-colonies lie at Britains doorstep.

    -- Why not admit you have never visited such societies --nor are interested to discover how Britain left them a poison chalice ?

    -- It would make life easier for us all ---rather than feigning !








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  • 142. At 10:18pm on 05 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    138. At 8:36pm on 05 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    "#131. At 6:59pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree

    Total Gibberish."


    Yes, completely agree: Among the more ludicrously non-history allegations in the QOT version of the past is this morsel: ".. - -Britain has washed it hands clean from responsibility, conveniently denies the mass migrations of Indians and Chinese (mainly) supported and assisted by the Colonial Masters - - ..."


    A fairly unique accusation even in QOT's repertoire of 'gibberish'!

    That Great Britain at no time in its Colonial History ever ruled China seems to have totally escaped his notice!
    After the infamous Opium War (which is a real blot on the UK 'imperial' past) by the Treaty of Nanjing, 1842 (1 of the "Unequal Treaties" & "national humiliations" the modern day Republic has used to very good effect with its people) the Qing (Manchu) ruler ceded Hong Kong to G.B. & various trading rights at key Chinese ports.

    That was the only part of China the British had direct rule over: Meanwhile (and no surprise QOT neglected to mention) Portugal, Spain, France, USA, Netherlands, Russia & Japan ALL had their dip into 'portions' & 'rights' over the unfortunate Chinese mainland.

    Oh, but of course, according to QOT it was only the British had a hand in the movement of millions of Chinese peoples. Which is a unique view when one looks at the list below:

    Overseas Chinese:

    Chinese originated populations
    Indonesia 7,776,000
    Thailand 7,053,240
    Malaysia 6,324,000
    United States 3,858,000
    Canada 1,318,000
    Vietnam 1,309,000
    Peru 1,300,000
    Philippines 1,170,000
    Myanmar 1,121,000
    Australia 669,896
    Japan 655,377
    Russia 500,000
    United Kingdom 400,000
    Cambodia 355,000
    France 233,000
    India 196,000
    Laos 190,000
    United Arab Emirates 180,000
    Brazil 156,000
    New Zealand 147,570
    Italy 144,885
    Panama 135,000
    Spain 134,022
    Cuba 114,242
    Netherlands 110,000


    I strongly suspect QOT at some time has read the Chinese equivalent of Harriet Stowe's 'Uncle Tom's (e.g. Chen's) Cabin', and has never recovered from a melancholic, tearstained evening of self-indulgent empathy.

    As for India's overseas population: It is another 'diaspora' resulting from British intervention, but for the last 60+ years from the 'west' European and the 'African' continents requiring additional workers and India with a surplus of unemployed & ambitious seeking employment & a better future.




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  • 143. At 10:30pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    There are few British newspapers that would not be tremendously improved by printing ONLY blank pages.

    The British publics´knowledge of World events --would not be affected.

    (--at worse, positively)

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  • 144. At 10:48pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW

    Is the British press and school system the reason for this density ????????

    -- or only the lack of interest if Britain and its Empire is not worshipped by contributors ?

    ---and the ´don´t confuse me with facts´ superior geriatric mentality ?????

    WHY NOT JUST ADMIT TO YOUR TRAVELING INEXPERIENCE IN EX-COLONIES ????

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  • 145. At 11:11pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    CBW

    http://library2.nalis.gov.tt/Default.aspx?tabid=249

    http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news401/ns403112.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolie

    --As I said -- TRAVEL and see for yourself the continuing ´British Empire´problems !

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  • 146. At 11:12pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ cool_brush_work

    You are not that cool my friend.
    Rather imagining how the worl would have look liked without Brittish colonialism, imagine how the UK would have looked like without all that stolen booties.

    You would be a 3rd world country with nothing to show.
    Once a thief always a thief.

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  • 147. At 11:28pm on 05 Jan 2011, Fledi wrote:

    My family and me (then 10 years old) came to the West (to Germany) in 1989, first chance they got to leave behind then communist Hungary and its paternalistic system, whose secret police had threatened my pa with jail just for talking with the wrong people (the "class enemy" from the West).

    Quite ironic that I chose to return to this country last spring for the same reason. I feel more free in present day Hungary than in Germany. It's mostly not even about laws, but local people's attitudes. You see, communism in the 80ies was a decaying system, the vast majority of people disliked living under it and were in practice not even following the party's orders, at least where they could avoid it. This spirit is still there, but now with a system of government that is quite similar to Western ones.

    What I'm seeing in Germany now is the exact opposite, a situation where people's first reaction to a discussion about freedom often is to mention its limits and like to solve every problem by introducing ever stricter regulations to micromanage everyday life.

    Sure Hungary has its own problems, especially with those idiots from that far right wing party, but they're definitely not tired of democracy as much as people in some Western societies sadly seem to be.

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  • 148. At 11:36pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "134. At 7:54pm on 05 Jan 2011, Jolly Joker wrote:
    And the problems, yeah, barátom, they seem to get even bigger :))"

    We shall eat problems for breakfast my friend (baratom) as we always did!

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  • 149. At 11:38pm on 05 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    "it has never been like that, and now - again!"
    Russian prime minister (Yeltsin times) Victor Chernomyrdin

    o:)))))) Folks, relax, or else we will slide into "Britain and all the rest" again. Reminder it's not cool-brush personally who empire-ed around, even if he were - he would never admit! ;o)))))) (some here seem to lack travelling experience in Britain :o))))) (I - wouldn't ;o)))) as an old empire-list incorrigible :o))); the thread is about Hungary once in a century.

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  • 150. At 11:47pm on 05 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    It was about Hungary until you guys made me change it.
    We dont need your kind attention, or breathing on our neck for trying to do what has to be done.
    It is not going to impact your life in any way anyway.

    Wanna teach democracy?
    Voluntier in North Korea please.

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  • 151. At 11:54pm on 05 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    Margaret Howard "...30-year old tree lights with some Chinese ones and they lasted exactly 14 days".
    14 days is a lot. I bought a pen yesterday and it fell in two parts in the bag ;o)))))), between the shop and home ;o)))))).

    We've got 100 watt lamps forbidden in Russia since Jan 1st :o(, and I forgot to buy stocks for the dacha, light in the garden.
    The electricity-saving ones here that look like swirls are 180 roubles instead of 18 for the old-style Russian lamp and they last 1.5 months!!!!!!! While old ones in the garden it's like once in 5 years replacement.
    If I were not an idiot and bought 3 - they would last me the next 10 years, light to all the sides.
    I will stock 75 watt ones this year to last me forever, because next year they will ban 75 ones.

    Meanwhile - try to buy foreign food or any thing, like a tooth-paste, or a shampoo, any small house-hold thing in China, even, a small snack, a chock, a bisquit, try to find any thing - foreign made there. Own market they protect.

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  • 152. At 11:56pm on 05 Jan 2011, Malkava wrote:

    Don't you just hate it when threads are hijacked by uninspired, tired, merry-go-round blame-game colonial conspiracists?

    You know what? I blame Britain for existing! Without it, I wouldn't have to expend the effort of wading through the comments bashing them!

    It's all your fault Britain.

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  • 153. At 00:05am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ Malkava

    Sorry, but no one asked you to colonize other independent countries.
    Since your country has done it, and you yourself reap the benefits of it, you could at least apologize.

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  • 154. At 00:26am on 06 Jan 2011, Malkava wrote:

    #153 TG

    Oh don't be so juvenile. Since when did etiquette dictate you need a written invitation to invade a country?

    Besides, I don't "colonize" countries. I liberate them. Key difference that. All of the benefits and none of the stigma! I find it to be a win-win situation.

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  • 155. At 00:34am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ Malkava

    Juvenile?:)
    Invitation letter to invade?:)

    If arrogance had a statue, it had your name graved in it.

    You think you are significant?
    In your neandrethal mind maybe.

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  • 156. At 01:05am on 06 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeer @119
    "Happy New Year from meerkat the goy."
    :o)))))))))))

    Happy New Year to you, meerkat, as well. Strange choice of favourite music you've got must say ;o). For those unable to hear Russian the clip said, or, rather, sang, that "only 0.5% in Russian show business are Russky".

    I will devote a couple of minutes to improving your musical education in "all things Russian". Especially that you are doing now unclear what with our blackbirds - spending winter elsewhere - who drop down from your skies like peas.

    The text (of the song old as hills)

    Have you heard how black-birds sing?
    No, not those ordinary field fellows
    But Black Birds - magicians - "drozdy" (singing black-bird)
    Eternal exiles of Russia.

    Here - they have settled down in forests
    Began sounding - to self-forgiving
    I recognise them, by their voices
    Sound masters of the Moment.

    Sounds grow up like flowers grow
    Sorrowful, merry, - any
    At times - hot - to red
    At times - chilly blue.

    They are reaching to the morning star
    They are falling, in rainbows, onto grasses
    HATS OFF! IN FORESTS BLACKBIRDS SING!
    for the soul sing - not for glory
    So, - hats off! In forests black-birds sing
    For one's soul sing, not for glory.

    Here, moderators, an unknown Russian woman sings this song. For 'the soul", not for glory ;o)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d7HixPj29DY&feature=related

    Here a young boy sings it. Looks like that bird singing himself :o)
    Must be it is some musical competition or his school event.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K_q2NDqM8QE

    Here the same popular song sings the Animal World Russian programme director, a very nice man, of the name Nikolay Nikolaevich Blackbird :o)
    - "Drozdov". His admirers or friends must have recorded it and put on youtube. As the starting text says ; "Brace yourselves! :o) Now will sing for you the blackbird song a PhD in biology ;o), a profeesor of chemistry :o), etc."

    No show business people here, powermeer. We can sing at our work places quite alright o:) In fact, I am singing the same song now :o)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A34P6XYsqPw&feature=related

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  • 157. At 01:31am on 06 Jan 2011, Malkava wrote:

    #155 TG

    If I were truly that arrogant, don't you think that the last thing I would need is a statue? Not that I oppose the idea mind you.

    It also looks as if my words were lost on you. I suppose I can't expect the little people to have the mental acuity to comprehend my illustrious grandeur.

    Such a pity.

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  • 158. At 01:41am on 06 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:

    The blog hijackers are those who incessantly see the world through their red-white-and blue tainted spectacles.

    It is possible those contributors can really offer something from their life experiences which none of us know -- however the taint is usually the whole message.

    Unfortunately the lowest common denominator is red-white-blue on both sides of the Atlantic.

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  • 159. At 03:32am on 06 Jan 2011, Malkava wrote:

    #158

    Quietoaktree, how can you honestly say that you are willing to listen to contributors who "offer something from their life experiences" when your own prejudices are so painfully transparent?

    For all that you know, there are people a-plenty who would be more than willing to share their unique experiences and offer insight. Just because they are from a country or place that you somehow take issue with, does not make their opinion invalid.

    I would suggest you listen to your own advice before you seek to dispense it upon others.

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  • 160. At 04:08am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @Malkava

    Looks like after colonization of the material kind the second best thing you can do is colonization of the minds and hearts.

    We all have to think like you, govern like you, feel like you, act like you.
    The world is getting tired of this western preaching, teaching from a high-horse mentality.


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  • 161. At 04:16am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Anybody can run a smear campaing against any country these days.
    All you need is a job in the media and a boss asking you favours.

    You guys just play along in it without the slightest idea of whats really going on.

    Freedom of the media?
    Or freedom of the fool to act as a fool?

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  • 162. At 04:24am on 06 Jan 2011, WebAliceinwonderland wrote:

    powermeerkat wrote:
    Now Russians say "What is so great about this democracy, it feels the same to me or worse".


    MaudDib, the answer is simple:

    Russians didn't know any democracy in their history.

    So they believed that what was sold to them as democracy was a genuine Western style product.

    Whether in reality it's been simply a corrupted plutocracy with KGB/FSB mafia being actually in charge.
    ____________

    Oh, we know. That is why it is so hard to obtain.

    May be the old recepie does not suit the modern times, that is another question.

    The legendary (here)(local) thing - "His Excellency Great Novgorod". Old city's name - addressed by other, less happy locals, with respect ;o)
    The Novgorod republic. Eaten up eventually by Moscow, by war.
    Shattered and chewed by mongol-tatar invasion.

    By time scale, one may say we invented democracy. 12th-15th century - they held on quite long.

    So, tell me, what will be strategically wrong now :o))))), with functioning cross-council, without a tsar, consisting of reps from all trades and all ? caste-s? classes? people in various conditions?

    Like, a rep from shoe-makers and a rep from pregnant mothers.
    A cross-representation, of soldiers and eh how to say it now, pensioners ;o)))

    For day-to-day governing. And full referendum on bigger things, like taxes and wars :o))))) Every one in the square - thousands.

    Old squares elsewhere are not even built for that. Well, in Rome, in front of that cathedral, there is one fitting I noticed ;o)

    Five centuries passed, but to this day a question "Will you go to the square?" in Russia first has a political meaning and only second thought will be tourist eh orientation ;o))))) or simply ? direction of walk.

    Then, a smaller example, and very short-lasting, but what was wrong with the February 1917 - autumn 1917 first Russian parliament - without a tsar. ?
    Bolsheviks in it had an absolute minority and no decision-making as didn't group with others. Or, rather, others didn't group with them ;o)))))

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  • 163. At 05:38am on 06 Jan 2011, Malkava wrote:

    #160 TG

    There are moments in your life where you simply have to take a step back and have a good laugh. This is certainly one of those moments.

    "We all have to think like you, govern like you, feel like you, act like you.
    The world is getting tired of this western preaching, teaching from a high-horse mentality."


    If you could please place context into the 'we' and 'you' of your argument, perhaps I could actually take you a little more seriously.

    My guess is that the 'we' is a delusion that you are creating for yourself, in thinking that people support whatever flimsy, personal contention you may have. The 'you' is the unknown entity. You have no idea who or where to place blame. Seeing as you have no real grounds for argument, you deal in generalities. In other words "You" being "Not me". That sort of thinking lends itself well in the mind of a five year old, not an adult.

    Frankly, I could care less about what you choose to think, say, or do. That's for you to decide, and I nor anyone can control that. Ultimately, no one can be blamed on your present circumstances, but yourself.

    If the "You're not the boss of me!" argument is the best you can come up with, then my discussion is done with you.

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  • 164. At 06:15am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 165. At 06:44am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ Malkava

    We the people who elected the government who has drawn up this media law!

    You the guys who invaded other countries in the name of democracy and killed a 100,000 in the process.

    We dont need your kind of democracy, but you fail to understand.
    You'd rather change countries to your own image instead of trying to understand.

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  • 166. At 08:15am on 06 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @123 Powermeerkat
    "[Unless of course our European Continental friends decide that being a part of the "new improved Russian Empire" or of a Islamist Sharia-based caliphate is in their best interest.]"
    Official Brussels is likely to privilege the commercial & technological exchange with both Russia and Turkey (Russia is an important natural gas supplier whilst Turkey is a big market). However, when it comes to the mainland politicians to approve or not the adhesion of Ankara to the EU and the alleviations for entry visas for Russian citizens, they generally would manifest a very restrained attitude which is a prove that the crushing majority of the mainlanders do not want to develop a closer relations with Moscow and Ankara. Official London is an exception in its attempt to counterbalance the Brussels-Paris-Berlin ruling trio by encouraging Turkey to join the UE.
    (My personnel belief is that the EU will not go beyond the Bosporus and that except for some little entry visas alleviations aimed at the enlargement of the tourist flow from Russia to the member states, nothing else will happen. Satisfied?)

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  • 167. At 08:24am on 06 Jan 2011, AllenT2 wrote:

    Hungarian scientific worker wrote:

    "Do you know anything about Hungarian emigrants, young friend? Let me list a few names: E. Teller (father of the American hydrogen-bomb)"

    That is not true. Other scientists and engineers contributed to creating the hydrogen bomb. There is no proof to suggest otherwise.

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  • 168. At 08:32am on 06 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @122 Poermeerkat
    "Best to you personally and to all Bulgars!"
    Thank you friend. Same to you and to your countrymen.
    I am pleased to thank also Gavin Hewitt for the attention he paid to Hungary, though without expressing a very clear personnel assessment. All the East European newly admitted member states have similar problems they try to solve with or without Brussels. However the impact of the communist rule over the mentality of our politicians is still tangible. Kindly ask you to read my @ 75.

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  • 169. At 08:44am on 06 Jan 2011, AllenT2 wrote:

    generalissimo66 wrote:

    "Take it easy friend.
    Just imagine how this world would look like if the US falls apart. True, the main criticism goes directly to your rulers, but a few people dare even to imagine how to preserve the present status quo without you. It's not a fair play."

    The common reason that criticism coming out of Europe is mainly for America's "rulers" is bunch of nonsense. It doesn't take much, or too long, for any objective American or bystander to see that anti-Americanism throughout European countries is at best insidiously petty and antagonistic, something even Obama mentioned, and at worse commonly vicious and hateful towards America and its way of life.

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  • 170. At 08:52am on 06 Jan 2011, champagne_charlie wrote:

    #158

    quietoaktree;

    "The blog hijackers are those who incessantly see the world through their red-white-and blue tainted spectacles. "

    So says the blog hijacker-in-chief. I suppose we are in for another year of bile, wind and pompous preaching from you about your "life experiences" again are we? Oh joy :(

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  • 171. At 08:53am on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear Gawin Hewitt,
    I am a bit disappointed by the uninformed coverage of the Hungarian media law in your blog. I am a hungarian living abroad and I learnt about this law mainly trough non-hungarian/foreign coverage, which I expected to be higher quality and less partial than hungarian media at least in cases where hungarian politics is concerned.
    I actually voted for the party that is in power now and brought the law. Nevertheless, I must say that I did not agree with all the changes the newly elected government made in Hungary. In fact some of their actions I clearly disapproved. After reading about the media-law in the foreign media, and also in the Hungarian media, my disapproval of the Hungarian government sky-rocketed until I actually read the most cited and criticised parts of the law. While I am not a lawyer and I did not read every detail of the law (it is a rather long and boring documents) it is very clear that the foreign and the hungarian media-coverage of the low contains clear lies. Most disappointingly, these lies are also spread by your blog!
    Probably we would all agree that what most democrats including myself would consider very disturbing in a media law if as you write a watchdog council would “impose fines on coverage it considers "unbalanced"”, which have to be “paid up-front before an appeal process can begin”. Such a law would indeed allow oppression of opposition voices. However, this statement about the law is simply a lie. The watchdog council can only condemn unbalanced media coverage, it cannot impose fines in such cases.
    It can impose fines only in cases when a media source broadcast content that is deemed inappropriate for juvenile consumption or insults “human dignity”, to my knowledge based on Hungarian media sources this expression was taken from german media law and the text of the law orders the application of currently existing European practice for determining what is deemed offending, e.g.: porn on mainstream television during the day when kids can see it. This does not seem to be so much out of tune of European values. I lived in England and I have not seen much porn in English TV during daytime, but it could happen that I did not search for it very hard. Even when a media source is fined it by the watchdog, it DOES NOT need to pay the fine up-front, if it disagree with the judgement it can attack the decision on the court, which is not linked to the watchdog, and it has to pay the fine only if it loses the appeal.
    As for the other issue, that in case of national security issues the media sources have to reveal their sources and all the information they posses on the issue to the watchdog (according to the law the watchdog have to keep these information secret thereafter) is I think perfectly understandable and natural. I have not read the British terror-law, but I would not be surprised if in that law much more effective powers are given either to the government or to agencies over which the public have very little control.
    All in all after reading key parts of the law I am very disappointed by your coverage of Hungary and the Hungarian government. The law maybe imperfect and may dent media freedom but it definitively does not destroy democracy, pluralism in Hungary and it is in no way dangerous to Europe. Due to negligence you seem to have joined the choir of hysterical voices that ostracise a whole nation based on unconfirmed information: by now Hungary and the hungarian government was compared to bacillus, pre- historic human and Fuehrerstaadt; I wonder what exotic disease Hungary will be called next. I can only hope that in the future BBC will check more carefully their sources and does not join the scare-mongrels in a storm in a spoon of water.
    Best wishes,
    Attila

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  • 172. At 08:55am on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #163. At 05:38am on 06 Jan 2011, Malkava,

    Quite so, I could not agree more with your analysis of both TG and QOT, TG started out quite reasonably with their objection to the criticism of Hungary for daring to show signs of independence from the strangulation of EU control, but has then digressed to the point of absurdity. This reminds me of older threads before Xmas when QOT and a number of new names seemed to try and hijack this blog. The similarity of posts gave the opinion that maybe it was one person with multiple identities.

    Personally, I think Hungary are quite right to try and solve their financial problems themselves and keeping out of ECB and IMF control is a very valid way to do that. The fact that it has probably upset the control freaks in the EU just shows how dangerous the EU have become, they will pick up on anything now to criticise the Hungarians, no matter how pathetic their excuse, and the media law, which seems to be a copy of other countries laws, is just such an example.

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  • 173. At 09:04am on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #165. At 06:44am on 06 Jan 2011, TG,

    "We dont need your kind of democracy, but you fail to understand.
    You'd rather change countries to your own image instead of trying to understand."

    You are espousing the same control freak kind of reasoning that you claim to dislike, your intolerance of alternative views and ideas has been shown in a number of your previous posts on this thread. It is you that need to understand and accept alternative views and values, your Hungary may have different values to the UK or Belgium or France but that does not mean some are wrong and some are right. Do you think Belgian people think of the time the Austro-Hungarian empire ruled them, not at all.

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  • 174. At 09:05am on 06 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    @ 111 AboriginalHungarian
    "I don't know the others, but Hungary and Poland definitely do not like to be considered banana republics"
    So we do. The main problem comes from our inability to make up for the lost time within the period of one generation. Hence the necessity to take more authoritarian measures against the corruption, the organized crime, etc. Some of those measures seem not to be enough popular in West Europe, especially when some business interests are concerned. For the time being the Hungarian PM is likely to be considered as a scapegoat by many people in West Europe who do not see the obstacles he has yet to overcome. I would add to the same list our PM, Mr.Borissov who has to clean up the Augean stables we inherited from the 45 year old Communist rule. Who is to blame? Mr.Orban with 66% majority in Budapest or Mr. Borissov with 50% majority in Sofia, or both?
    One thing is sure - both Hungary and Bulgaria will be much closer to the west standards after their rule is over... It is high time.
    Regards from Sofia

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  • 175. At 09:10am on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    146. At 11:12pm on 05 Jan 2011, TG wrote:
    @ cool_brush_work

    "You are not that cool my friend.
    Rather imagining how the worl would have look liked without Brittish colonialism, imagine how the UK would have looked like without all that stolen booties.

    You would be a 3rd world country with nothing to show.
    Once a thief always a thief."


    Hmm, how quickly the logic & reason departed Your contribution to be replaced with name-calling, blanket assertions etc.
    We were in part debating the role of the UK in World History, and for my part I was merely pointing out if You are just going to dump everythig at the door of the UK it's simply a 'lazy' Historical exercise bearing little or no relation to the factual reality.

    Nowhere on this blog did I write or refer to, "..imagining how the worl would have look liked without Brittish colonialism...", I think You must be confusing me with someone else.

    As for the, "..Once a thief always a thief." There again, it is a nasty catch-all phrase of no value to this debate.

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  • 176. At 09:13am on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    158. At 01:41am on 06 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    The blog hijackers are those who incessantly see the world through their red-white-and blue tainted spectacles."


    I 100% agree!

    I take it You will no longer attempt to turn every debate into a diatribe on the UK!?




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  • 177. At 09:29am on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    I don't feel being treated equally, at this forum!!!!!

    It is not fair that I keep getting my messages removed because I put weblinks. Others can do it without problems.
    This is a discrimination and BBC should be more careful.
    Other. I would kindly invite everybody to include specific text from the argued media law and not only write empty insults. The text is available in English.

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  • 178. At 09:31am on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    145. At 11:11pm on 05 Jan 2011, quietoaktree wrote:
    CBW

    http://library2.nalis.gov.tt/Default.aspx?tabid=249

    http://www.landofsixpeoples.com/news401/ns403112.htm

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coolie



    This is just too hilarious to not share: QOT cannot possibly have read the 3 references or he would never have published them!

    Having read all 3 of the above links provided by QOT I find each one entirely supports the factual Historic reality.
    The diaspora of Chinese was not as a result of the wicked British, but as all 3 links observe, because of, 1) the poverty & social distress experienced over generations within mainland China, (2) the recognition by Chinese of a way out of their deprivation was to be found in the much wealthier, job creating 'west' (across the World and not just UK Empire), and, (3) a reaction within China at key-political episodes, e.g. Japanese invasion of Manchuria, Communist civil war & take-over, the return of Hong Kong to Communist rule.

    QOT, if this is the standard of Your condemnation of the UK, please do keep it coming - - NOT ONE of the links attributed blame to the UK in the manner You seek to do - - NOT ONE did so because as I wrote at my #142, "...A fairly unique accusation even in QOT's repertoire of 'gibberish'!
    That Great Britain at no time in its Colonial History ever ruled China seems to have totally escaped his notice!"


    Sorry, have to stop... Giggle, guffaw... apologies... ROFL...




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  • 179. At 09:38am on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #94 - Freeman
    #99 - WebAliceinwonderland
    #106 - generalissimo66

    Thank you. I suppose I cannot leave this column without comment after this.

    Reading the various responses from non-Hungarians, ones first reaction is degree of ignorance that exists about Hungary. Many posters seem to want to refer back to '56 as if it was the only event in modern Hungarian history of importance and only important because of the poor response of the west. This is naive and simplistic in the extreme. A direct intervention by the west would almost certainly have resulted in a European War and quite possibly a nuclear confrontation. The vast majority of Hungarians accept and understand this. People who post rubbish about Britain being too preoccupied with Suez to be bothered should be ashamed of this travesty of history.

    This having been said, reading through the Hungarian contributions reveals the size of the political gap in this country. The middle ground is virtually non-existent. Politics are polarised to left and right and these prejudices are so ingrained that marriages and families can be and are destroyed by them.

    At 116, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    "I don't really like when people start talking about that who is Jew, who is not. I found it offensive and manipulative. Religion is a private thing."

    This is a classic example of what I mean. I could not agree more but when a political party in the run up to a general election distributes car stickers describing the capital as "Jewdapest", it becomes political. It is unavoidable and needs to be confronted. It simply is not good enough to say you don't like it.

    I notice also that the Socialist 'confession' of is being over-simplified again. In his infamous address to his party, what Gyurcsány Ferenc actually said was that the Hungarian people had been lied to about the economy by "the entire political class". In the furore which followed the publication of the speech, Gyurcsány gave an extended interview in English to Mark Mardell in which he repeats this very clearly. His successor, Bajnai Gordon was not a career politician but an economist. Painful though some of the measures were, Mszp were well on the way to meeting the terms of the IMF/ECB bail out. It is a fallacy to say that the government fell because of the 'confession' - although misreporting does not help - but because the economic pain was more than the elctorate was willing to take. There is a significant irony here. Long before 'austerity' had become the buzzword in the west, it was being applied by a socialist government in Hungary.

    I am also struck by the remarks about '56 but not a single reference to a remarkable moment when a Hungarian army officer walked up to the Austrian border with a pair of wire cutters and simply opened it. The whole Iron Curtain was gone in months. When Hungary are being the bad boys, they get the stick but when they do things of value and significance, it is largely ignored. Would Mr.Hewitt have been in the least bit interested in the new press laws had Hungary not assumed the presidency of the EU? I very much doubt it.

    . . . more

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  • 180. At 09:56am on 06 Jan 2011, generalissimo66 wrote:

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the House Rules.

  • 181. At 10:07am on 06 Jan 2011, galago wrote:

    According to Hungarian news reports, the official English translation of the country's new media law deliberately left out some of the most contentious aspects of the legislation. This further highlights the right-wing nationalist Orban government's no holds barred approach to grabbing power by any means. Now we see that, in terms of their political culture and understanding of democratic institutions, Hungary
    was not fit to join the European Union.

    In relation to the exorbitant, punative tax regime against large European corporations, the Hungarians are no strangers to killing the goose that lay their golden eggs. They did this in 1944 with their Jewish population and after 1948 with the entrepreneurial middle class. Foreign corporations, like Deutsche Bank and ING know how to hit back. In the end, only Hungary will suffer.

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  • 182. At 10:08am on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    . . . /continued

    As to the substantive questions:

    The remarks about the new press laws not being available in English and therefore out of bounds to non-Hungarian speakers are as pointless as they are offensive. Some of us do understand Hungarian.

    There are two points here. The first is that the imposition of what is, in effect, a quota system about the balance of content is entirely inappropriate. Imagine if you will that we had a 7/7 style attack on the subway. Would the press be restricted as to how much they could report because it is, after all, a criminal act? Would some of the content have to allocated to 'human interest' to balance the books? Silly questions, I know but the original proposition was ridiculous. If freedom of the press is sacrosanct, then they must be allowed to 'publish and be damned'. There are laws protecting national security and civil law which give redress to those who believe that they have been slandered. In a democracy, this should be enough. Much more to the point, the indecently large majority commanded by Fidesz puts them in a position in which they can fill posts almost at will. The idea that the Commission is independent in the sense that, for example, the UK Press Compalints Commission is, is frank laughable.

    As to the taxation of foreign companies, there are quite possibly legal issues in respect of EU companies but probably not for non-Eu businesses. Much more importantly, Hungary badly needs inward investment and this was beginning to flow again quite nicely. Any measures which mitigate against a positive investment flow are misguided. It is that simple. A deeper investigation of this quickly reveals that there are clear targets. Recent changes in the pension regulations severely punish private pension funds in favour of the state system. Taxation changes recently have also targeted banks and other financial institutions, changes in the way the insurance system buys drugs for the state health system seem to be similarly balanced. There is a simple fact of life that everyone seems to be ignoring. There is nowhere in Hungary - a Schenegen country - which is more than a couple of hours journey from another country. The prospect of many thousands of people simply popping over to Slovakia, Austria or wherever and depositing their fund where they think they are safe is not outlandish. Can Hungary really afford this outward trickle of hard currency?

    So is Hungary fit for the presidency? Well attacks from the west are certainly not helpful. There is no reason to suppose that the government cannot perform the required tasks satisfactorily. Much more importantly, the presidency is needed because, at least for the next six months, it will focus attention on a country which is, at other times, largely ignored and might concentrate minds wonderfully on whether a government with a large enough majority to change the constitution at will can afford the potential worst excesses while the world looks on. It is the end of the presidency we should be worrying about.

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  • 183. At 10:09am on 06 Jan 2011, Testudo Furor wrote:

    The Hungarian Media was without modern rules and laws. The press and news web sites could do anything without responsibility. The old law based on 1986-law, which was made by communist dictatorship.
    For example.Now its a significant change to the rules of registration of printed press products since 1986, registration became easier, and the rules, under which the publication of journals could had been prevented by a material decision during the registration procedure, were eliminated. Moreover, no press product may be removed from the official register as a sanction in the future.

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  • 184. At 10:24am on 06 Jan 2011, Testudo Furor wrote:

    The New Hungarian press law is a compilation from different western EU countries press laws. Please read it! So if there is no free press in Hungary, then no free press in Britain or Italy.
    For example the hungarian Media Council is elected by the National Assembly by way of a two-thirds majority vote. Members of the National Assembly cannot be influenced in their decision.
    - The members of the convergent British authority OFCOM – including its chairperson – are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport;
    - The chairperson of the convergent Italian authority AGCOM is appointed, in conjunction with the Minister for Communication and the competent parliamentary committee, by the decree of the President of the Republic based on the Prime Minister’s recommendation;

    I think this British or Italian rules are more "dictatorial" then the hungarian version.

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  • 185. At 10:27am on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    Re #179 & #182

    A very informative commentary Threnodio.

    I've refrained from the debate on Hungary's press laws as I really don't have any knowledge other than what I read in the press plus the translation of the Law that a link on here has provided.

    Your viewpoint seems more than adequate, so, doubtless to everyone's relief, I'll continue to refrain.

    Cheers & Welcome to 2011.

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  • 186. At 10:28am on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear Gavin Hewitt and moderators,
    I do not know why my previous comment (171) takes ages to be posted, when the comment deals with the subject of the article and the hungarian media-law in a moderate-tone (something that threnodio_II #179 rightly misses from many hungarian-hungarian political interactions).
    Let me repeat the main message: while the government of Hungary did make changes that further enhance the power of the ruling party, Hungary is far from being a dictatorship and hardly deserves the hysterical coverage in the foreign media. Having read the most criticised parts of the Hungarian media-law I must state that Gavin Hewitt was misinformed and he did not check carefully the the basis of his statements.
    Unlike what he writes the new media watchdog can not fine press because of unbalanced coverage, it can only condemn them. Thus, even if the law is not perfect, it can not silence opposition voices in Hungary. It can impose fines only in cases when "human dignity" is violated, although the term "human dignity" is a rather obscure and broad term, according to the law it has to be applied according to already existing European judiciary practice. To the best of my knowledge the term "human dignity" came from German media-law (I did not check the German media law myself, so I cannot be sure that my information is correct).
    In addition, it is not true that fines have to be paid up-front. The fines of the media watchdog can be attacked on a court and fines will have to be paid only if the court-case is lost.
    It is disappointing that the BBC, a media source that is proud of its impartiality, joined a smear-campaign against a small EU country and against its government based on unchecked and false information (see also comment 171 if it ever gets posted and comment 35 on the miss-representation of the law).
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 187. At 10:30am on 06 Jan 2011, galago wrote:

    Threnodio II, I agree with your points. However, Hungary's departure from EU norms, in relation to freedom of the media and tax laws which discriminate against other member states' corporations, call into question Hungary's fitness as a member state, let alone to assume the presidency.

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  • 188. At 10:41am on 06 Jan 2011, galago wrote:

    Testudo "The New Hungarian press law is a compilation from different western EU countries press laws. Please read it! So if there is no free press in Hungary, then no free press in Britain or Italy."

    If the Hungarian law is so similar to other member's laws, how do you explain the fact that several European governments, not to mention the OSCE have balked at the Hungarian version?

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  • 189. At 10:46am on 06 Jan 2011, Leo_Naphta wrote:

    Ugh, you people do go on, don't you? Powermeerkat, I think I've found the source of your confusion. See, you keep going on about the 'Brussels Socialists' ... something that sort of confused me, especially seeing that only 6 of the 27 commisioners are part of the PES - most of the commission is made up of liberals - free trade liberals - and conservatives.

    I think what you've missed, is that the biggest European party is called: "European People's Party". I understand that you might associate the name with some of the more exotic communist movements from the 70's, but the EPP is in reality a congregation of European Christian-Democratic & Conservative Parties. They also hold most of the important 'positions' in the EU.

    People go on, and on, and on, about the 'socialists' and the EUSSR, but in reality, the EPP is - and has been for most of the time - the biggest party. Europe is hardly dominated by Socialist PMs & Presidents either, even Van Rompuy is a Christian-Democrat.

    In short, what's with all the deliberate misrepresentations & non-arguments?

    Oh, and I find it intriguing that the 'Hungarians' posting on this forum take the same audacity as most of the other contributors in assuming they speak for the 'majority' and for their 'nation'. A little humility please, because you don't sound like Hungarians I know, and I don't want to start the he's a BAD - nationality - game. We know where that line of thinking is going to take us, right?

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  • 190. At 10:49am on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear threnodio_II,
    I think you did not read the media-law in its full extent.
    I realise that you read enough not to criticise the alleged parts of the law that elicited the hysterical attack from the west (such as fines for unbalanced coverage and fines that has to be paid up front). Probably you also know that the law does not contains these most criticised rules.
    Instead you complain about a what if situation when public emergency would require coverage of a disaster. Actually the law rules on these cases and if you read the law it would be clear to you that no media source would get fined or condemened for providing information on catastrophs/disasters that are of particular interest to the public. I am not saying that there are no ludicrous parts in the law, but the ones quoted by you and by the international media are actually either based on incorrect information or totally reasonable. I did not read the entire text of the law but the bits I looked at so far do not contain absolutely outrageous rules, although I might not necessary agree with all parts of the law.
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 191. At 10:52am on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #177. At 09:29am on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    Which links get hit is somewhat arbitrary and none of us truly understand the logic sometimes, I've even had a link to an official UK government web site removed as unsuitable so don't worry too much.

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  • 192. At 10:58am on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear BBC,
    Why is it so that my comments(171,186, 190) take up to two hours to be posted, while others equally long comments take apparently minutes to be moderated. Is this a kind of cencorship? I guess it have an explanation, but I must say it is rather unfair.
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 193. At 11:05am on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #187. At 10:30am on 06 Jan 2011, galago

    Your post sounds fine but for one rather salient point, please could you name which EU members states actually follow the EU rules and directives in their entirety. Judging by the ECJ court rulings the answer is none, therefore :-

    "Hungary's departure from EU norms, in relation to freedom of the media and tax laws which discriminate against other member states' corporations, call into question Hungary's fitness as a member state, let alone to assume the presidency."

    There exists no EU country that is truly fit to be a member state and if push comes to shove France is one of the worst. If Hungary is not fit then neither are both France and Germany.

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  • 194. At 11:13am on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #189. At 10:46am on 06 Jan 2011, Leo_Naphta

    I guess you have still to understand that the name of a political party means nothing, with the PR system the party's replicate like mad and claim to be all manner of things but most are just shades of the same tired corrupt old Socialism. There are few real conservative party's in Europe, all the rest are variations of socialist/liberal/Christian party's that all follow much the same policies. When a true conservative party gets power it is quickly identified by the criticism it invokes from the politically correct EU party's (both ESP and it's lookalike EPP). It would seem that this is the reason Hungary's leadership is being criticised, it is horror of all horrors a true conservative party and not a pseudo socialist grouping like the EPP.

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  • 195. At 11:21am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    "So is Hungary fit for the presidency? Well attacks from the west are certainly not helpful. "

    I was a pro-EU guy until this jerk from Luxemburg put up this qiestion.
    Other than that, I dont care.
    I live my life in Japan for the last 20 years.

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  • 196. At 11:30am on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    195. At 11:21am on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:"So is Hungary fit for the presidency? Well attacks from the west are certainly not helpful. "

    I was a pro-EU guy until this jerk from Luxemburg put up this qiestion.
    Other than that, I dont care.
    I live my life in Japan for the last 20 years."



    Darn!

    Japan has all the luck!

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  • 197. At 11:35am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Brussels has convinced me, Hungary should leave the EU.
    We dont have anything in common.
    You guys (the west) had 200 years of pillaging other cultures for their wealth.
    We (the esat) had 200 years of fighting just to vote in our country.

    I think we should leave the EU, and ask ourselves what we are worth of.
    If Kennedy would say "ask not what your fellow countries are worth of, ask what you are worth of to your fellow countries".

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  • 198. At 11:38am on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @cool_brush_work

    Yes, Hungary should follow countries like Japan, to preserve national identity and independence.

    Period

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  • 199. At 12:08pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear Galago and threnodio_II,
    it is clear from your comments that you view upon the reign of the previous socalist goverments with much more understanding than on the actions of the current government. Galago also assumes only bad intentions from the current government. This is a common problem in hungarian politics. Absolutely, no common ground and the depiction of the political opponent as the devil. It is sad that far too often Hungarians call for punishment for their own country, when their unliked political party is on power.
    Could it be that one of many aim of the present and the past governments was to improve Hungary as a democracy? Probably not many Hungarians would agree, but I do think so. Of course each government imagined to do this according to its own ideals.
    Some of the actions of the current governing party may seem somewhat drastic from outside. However one must note that this is a response to a handicap of the so called "right", which existed from the begining of democratic change in Hungary. Foregnier shoud keep in mind the circumstances: as democratic change began in Hungary 22 years ago, the former rulers, lower and middle leaders of the society, journalists and handlers of the former aconomy did not disappear. Many of them transformed themeselves into the new capitalists of the new society. I would risk the statements that many if not the most of the rich with economic power in Hungary are linked with the former "Comunist" ruling midle class or elite.
    Although the political power was initially lost by the former ruling elite for one electoral term they came back to power already after 4 years. The real descendent of the communist party remains at the center of a very loose network of ideology represented by influential media workers from the past and it is also at the center of a very loose network of enormous economic power. The hungarian right wing (only one part of pre-change opposition) had to compete against this network for power in the politics. How difficult this was is shown by the fact that in the last 20 years the right was only for 8 years in powers while the descendent of the former communist party ruled for 12 years. It was the totally inapt (not necessarily malovalent)governance of the socialist party in the last 8 years that allowed the return of the right wing to power.
    Considering the history of the last 70 year of Hungary it is understandable that there is incredible bitterness and disbelieve on the right wing that socialist(former communist party) can still hold on enormous power both in the civil society and in the parliament. It is also unbelievable for the right that the "socialist" network can make the socialist leaders of Hungary look more like democrats in the eye of the west. This bitterness certainly contributes to drastic looking actions on the part of the government.
    Do these actions do any good to Hungary? It is difficult to answer. They will help to balance the inequalities in Hungarian politics, and looking at what happens now, they may create new imbalances. But forigners have to keep in mind there is a lot to re-balance in Hungary. It is not good if the current government goes to extremes and it should be reminded in a decent voice, not hysterically, not necessarily publicly by politicians and only in very clear cases (the media-law is not a clear case as it stands, although it may be borderline). However whatever happens Hungary will have elections in less than 4 years and which will allow voters to redirect politics if they feel that the current government went too far. Those scare-monglers should keep in mind that the current party came to power by elections. It was tempted to start a rebellion 4 years ago but eventually it restrained itself and waited 4 years, although it believed, and I for one share this believe, that it was deprived of electoral victory 4 years ago by unfair manipulation of the electorate, which amounted to cheating on elections.
    The political power swing started at the extreme in Hungary it past the middle and now it may move to opposite direction, but eventually it will not go to such extremes as the ones where it started from and I hope over the years it will return to the middle. Only time will allow this to happen and hysterical foreign interference in a country that is very proud of its political independence will not be helpfull.
    Best wishes,
    bubu

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  • 200. At 12:19pm on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #198 - TG

    "Yes, Hungary should follow countries like Japan, to preserve national identity and independence . . . "

    . . . get roundly thrashed in a world war, have the hell bombed out of them, triumphantly engineer an economic miracle and then destroy it with equal efficiency and play host to expat Hungarians 20 years departed who claim to know more about Hungary and Europe than those of us who live here.

    Good idea TG!

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  • 201. At 12:25pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Bubu,
    You dont have to be apologetic to these people.
    Your argument is a fine work of art.
    Thank you my fellow Hungarian friend.

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  • 202. At 12:28pm on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    197. At 11:35am on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:
    "..You guys (the west) had 200 years of pillaging other cultures for their wealth.
    We (the esat) had 200 years of fighting just to vote in our country."

    AND,


    195. At 11:21am on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:
    "..Other than that, I dont care.
    I live my life in Japan for the last 20 years."


    Hmm, interesting viewpoint: So no qualms I take it about living in good old Japan, that stalwart of a century of "..pillaging" and "..reaping off.." the Far East not forgetting its "..culture" destruction in China-Manchuria-Korea!?

    But then I guess in Your view that's nothing like those awful British.

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  • 203. At 12:30pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @threnodio_II

    You will never be a hungarian.
    You may elect socialist prime ministers whose first foreing trip is to israel, but you'll never be hungarian.

    Shalom my special agenda friend!

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  • 204. At 12:34pm on 06 Jan 2011, Crystal Ball wrote:

    146. At 11:12pm on 05 Jan 2011, TG wrote:

    @ cool_brush_work

    You are not that cool my friend.
    Rather imagining how the worl would have look liked without Brittish colonialism, imagine how the UK would have looked like without all that stolen booties.

    You would be a 3rd world country with nothing to show.
    Once a thief always a thief.
    -----------------------------------------------------------------------
    TG is obviously not attending his history lessons!
    "Imagining the world without BRITISH colonialism".

    You mean no South American railway networks(still in use). India's education and political system, police force, judicial system and democratic principles (still in use).
    Australia and New Zealand established their countries on the back of Britain's Industrial Revolution, as did huge areas of the rest of the world! And what else did we give.....holding out long enough for an invasion of a Nazified Europe to be launched from our tiny little island. That alone guaranteed the freedom of billions, probably yours included!
    As for democracy, well, I suppose you believe that came from Mars!

    Crystal Ball



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  • 205. At 12:43pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear BBC,
    I do not understand what keeps you from posting my first comment:171 that actually describes the media-law to people who could be mislead by the incorrect description of the content of the law as presented by Gavin Hewitt and by other non-hungarian and hungarian media sources. If you are seriuos about maintaining a usefull blog you should not block informative comments that contain nothing offending, only the truth.
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 206. At 12:45pm on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #199 - bubu

    I agree with most of what you say but with the following reservations:

    When you are a westerner who has lived in Hungary for a number of years, it is very difficult not to judge by western standards. I love this country and am very angry when outsiders criticise it unfairly but equally it would be absurd to give too much benefit of the doubt. It is a simple fact of life that countries with a history of evolving democracy over several hundred years will have very different perspectives from a country which has had 22 years to move from an authoritarian government of the left and a managed socialist economy to the sometimes harsh realities of market economics and a apolitical free-for-all. Actually, Hungary has handled this surprisingly well but there are systemic flaws and to ignore them is simply to bury your head ostrich like in the sand. Hungary should be solving these problems, not compounding them.

    As to the old style communists re-emerging as born again democrats, this is an interesting connundrum. My personal view is that to establish a democracy and then to exclude people wheo were associated with a previous different system is wasteful. There is a lot of expertise shared amongst these people regarding public administration, economics, social policy and so on. In some of the newly emerged democracies, thex have been pilloried and excluded. In others, there has been an attitude of letting bygones be bygones. Either way, they do now need to be elected and that is a significant move in the right direction.

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  • 207. At 12:45pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Assuming that my previous comment 171 got somehow held up by mistake I paste it bellow.
    Dear Gawin Hewitt,
    I am a bit disappointed by the uninformed coverage of the Hungarian media law in your blog. I am a hungarian living abroad and I learnt about this law mainly trough non-hungarian/foreign coverage, which I expected to be higher quality and less partial than hungarian media at least in cases where hungarian politics is concerned.
    I actually voted for the party that is in power now and brought the law. Nevertheless, I must say that I did not agree with all the changes the newly elected government made in Hungary. In fact some of their actions I clearly disapproved. After reading about the media-law in the foreign media, and also in the Hungarian media, my disapproval of the Hungarian government sky-rocketed until I actually read the most cited and criticised parts of the law. While I am not a lawyer and I did not read every detail of the law (it is a rather long and boring documents) it is very clear that the foreign and the hungarian media-coverage of the low contains clear lies. Most disappointingly, these lies are also spread by your blog!
    Probably we would all agree that what most democrats including myself would consider very disturbing in a media law if as you write a watchdog council would “impose fines on coverage it considers "unbalanced"”, which have to be “paid up-front before an appeal process can begin”. Such a law would indeed allow oppression of opposition voices. However, this statement about the law is simply a lie. The watchdog council can only condemn unbalanced media coverage, it cannot impose fines in such cases.
    It can impose fines only in cases when a media source broadcast content that is deemed inappropriate for juvenile consumption or insults “human dignity”, to my knowledge based on Hungarian media sources this expression was taken from german media law and the text of the law orders the application of currently existing European practice for determining what is deemed offending, e.g.: porn on mainstream television during the day when kids can see it. This does not seem to be so much out of tune of European values. I lived in England and I have not seen much porn in English TV during daytime, but it could happen that I did not search for it very hard. Even when a media source is fined it by the watchdog, it DOES NOT need to pay the fine up-front, if it disagree with the judgement it can attack the decision on the court, which is not linked to the watchdog, and it has to pay the fine only if it loses the appeal.
    As for the other issue, that in case of national security issues the media sources have to reveal their sources and all the information they posses on the issue to the watchdog (according to the law the watchdog have to keep these information secret thereafter) is I think perfectly understandable and natural. I have not read the British terror-law, but I would not be surprised if in that law much more effective powers are given either to the government or to agencies over which the public have very little control.
    All in all after reading key parts of the law I am very disappointed by your coverage of Hungary and the Hungarian government. The law maybe imperfect and may dent media freedom but it definitively does not destroy democracy, pluralism in Hungary and it is in no way dangerous to Europe. Due to negligence you seem to have joined the choir of hysterical voices that ostracise a whole nation based on unconfirmed information: by now Hungary and the hungarian government was compared to bacillus, pre- historic human and Fuehrerstaadt; I wonder what exotic disease Hungary will be called next. I can only hope that in the future BBC will check more carefully their sources and does not join the scare-mongrels in a storm in a spoon of water.
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 208. At 12:48pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @Crystal Ball

    You make my point.
    You think you invented the world and democracy.
    How small you people are.


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  • 209. At 12:57pm on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    #203 - TG

    "You will never be a hungarian . . "

    No, probably not . . but I do vote here, pay tax here and live here.

    Shalom my special agenda friend!

    Shalom to you too - though why everyone assumes I am Jewish is beyond me. I have no special agenda. I want to live as I have always done in a free liberal democracy with freedom of the press, democratic accountability, freedom of faith. I have over the years been critical of the UK when I have seen these rights eroded and I have no intention of stopping now.

    I though that was what we all wanted - perhaps I am wrong.

    Interesting though that someone in Japan should tell me I will never be Hungarian while the people who surround me treat me as part of the furniture.

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  • 210. At 1:12pm on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #203. At 12:30pm on 06 Jan 2011, TG and #208,

    I think you are welcome to be in Japan, after all it lays claim to a very perverse form of sadism in it's culture and has a torrid history of what it has done in it's region. You may well feel at home there, that is your choice but that does not give you the right to voice the prejudiced viewpoints like that in your post #203, just remember you're a foreigner in Japan, what do they think of you behind your back?

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  • 211. At 1:14pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    Cause being hungarian is not limited to state borders, thanks to you guys.
    Foreigners have intervened long enough in hungarian matters.
    It is time Hungary manages itself the way it thinks it is fit.

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  • 212. At 1:26pm on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    TG


    Mate!


    Reading Your comments I get the impression You're cery angry about some notion of wrongs done to Hungary by a variety of nations/peoples whatever.

    I think You're OTT referring to 'jewish' contributions, the 'english', the 'west' as though its some sort of blame-game: Why the hostility?

    Does it not occur to You this Blog is for people to express their points of view?
    By the nature of the World at large some of those views will be at variance with Your own.

    E.g. I can't stand the stuff QOT chucks in to the debate, it regularly annoys me no end, but he has a right to express them. Just as all of us do: What is more, though he is IMO wholly incorrect in almost every view he has ever expressed that does not make me right or him wrong.

    So it is with this debate on Hungary and the World... None of us have the final answer nor word: You have views which some don't agree with, from my experience of Japan in the 80s-90s differing views is a part of their culture - - can't quite see why You are so antagonistic toward any who view Hungary in a different light to You - - free expression via debate is the whole point of this blog.

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  • 213. At 1:28pm on 06 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    112. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, john wrote:

    "Dear EUprisoner209456731
    Let me telling you the majority of the EU lovers are people which do not wont a repetition of the last two wars in Europe please read of all the death just because people ad a nationalistic view.
    Second we are people which love our tradition and we are people which wont Europe to be Europe not the USA.
    Let us hope all Gods are blessing our EU
    John "

    EUpris: You tell them that more Americans died in their civil war than in WWI and WWII together. I think you can include Vietnam as well.

    You tell them that we were promised a referendum and we are entitled to have it.

    You tell them that the "EU" could cause a war in three ways:

    1) German and British supporters of "EU"-Dictatorship have told me that the UK cannot leave whatever happens, no matter if every citizen of the UK wants to and every MP elected supports that view. They might try to use force to stop us leaving.

    2) The "EU" is anti-American. It waekens the western alliance.
    That could encourage the Russians or the Chinese to attack.

    3) The "EU" is sick , arrogant, undemocratic, anti-democratic, morally illegitmate etc. Like Hitler , it overrates itself. It could well start a war "on our behalf."


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  • 214. At 1:32pm on 06 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    114. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    "

    Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A.

    Public Enemy No 1. "

    EUpris: The "EU" is the Evil Empire.

    The "EU" is public enemy No.1


    Services are being cut in the UK whilst we are paying for the worse-than-useless van Rompuy

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  • 215. At 1:43pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    Dear threnodio_II (206),
    I absolutely agree with your comment. The point I was trying to make was not that the former leaders (lower, midle or high level) should be surgically removed from the society. This is impossible and clearly not desirable. The point is that just by existing and by not being able to change their brain content this network of people creates an imbalance on the Hungarian political landscape. A relatively fair democratic political competition is not possible unless at least two opposing sides have similar chances. I think right after the democratic change begin 22 years ago real balance was not created. The former “communists”, or it would be more correct to say the ideological and emmiotional club of communist party linked people never completely left power. In some ways 15-20% of the population is emotionally linked to this club, although most of these people economically and rationally did not benefited from the rule of the socialist elite. The drastic looking actions of the current governing party do try to address this imbalance, which of course destroys the status quo. The beneficiaries of the current status quo are naturally upset and loudly complain. Nevertheless changing the status quo is absolutely necessary because that is the only way to get rid of a situation that immensely disturbs a large part of the society because it is viewed as unjust. You wrote that Hungary handled the change to democracy well, but unfortunately the fundamental unjustice of the democratic change was not addressed causing a bitterness that can lead to the strengthening of really dangerous groups. Thus re-balancing the political landscape and re-balancing the society is a must.
    Is this this done too drastic way? Maybe. But the previous, mild approach apparently did not work, so a different method need to be applied which is coupled with reasserting national authority and with a more marked protection of imagined national interest. Whether the way this is done is actually within the interest of Hungary is another question. You raised perfectly valid issues in your previous comments regarding economy, about which I do not want to argue because they are legitimate points. Nevertheless, there is now one truth, not even in economy. Economy is not a real science, although it is full of math, it is full of psychology as well and we will need to wait and see what will be the results of the actions of the current government. This is not to say that we should stick our head into sand, and the government must be warned when it is in a real breach of a EU law, let it be media-law or economic law of the EU. But these warning should come when it is clear that a law was breached, as it stands I am not so sure that EU rules and the freedom of press were brutally violated in the case of media-law, they were certainly not violated to the extent that would warrant the current hysteric attack in the west.
    Best wishes,
    Bubu

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  • 216. At 1:46pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    @ cool_brush_work

    Why does Hungary need the EU?
    This is my new term of starting a discussion since you arrogant westerners have voiced your opinions.

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  • 217. At 1:51pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    BBC have not posted my initial comment so I rewrote bits, that may in some way were deemed inapropriate for the site and I broke the comment into to: first part:

    Dear Gawin Hewitt,
    I am a bit disappointed by the uninformed coverage of the Hungarian media law in your blog. I am a hungarian living abroad and I learnt about this law mainly trough non-hungarian/foreign coverage, which I expected to be higher quality and less partial than hungarian media at least in cases where hungarian politics is concerned.
    I actually voted for the party that is in power now and brought the law. Nevertheless, I must say that I did not agree with all the changes the newly elected government made in Hungary. In fact some of their actions I clearly disapproved. After reading about the media-law in the foreign media, and also in the Hungarian media, my disapproval of the Hungarian government sky-rocketed until I actually read the most cited and criticised parts of the law. While I am not a lawyer and I did not read every detail of the law (it is a rather long and boring documents) it is very clear that the foreign and the hungarian media-coverage of the law contains incorrect statements. Most disappointingly, these incorrect statements are also spread by your blog!
    Probably we would all agree that what most democrats including myself would consider very disturbing in a media law if as you write a watchdog council would “impose fines on coverage it considers "unbalanced"”, which have to be “paid up-front before an appeal process can begin”. Such a law would indeed allow oppression of opposition voices. However, this statement about the law is simply not true. The watchdog council can only condemn unbalanced media coverage, it cannot impose fines in such cases.
    It can impose fines only in cases when a media source broadcast content that is deemed inappropriate for juvenile consumption or insults “human dignity”, to my knowledge based on Hungarian media sources this expression was taken from german media law and the text of the law orders the application of currently existing European practice for determining what is deemed offending, e.g.: porn on mainstream television during the day when kids can see it. This does not seem to be so much out of tune of European values. I lived in England and I have not seen much porn in English TV during daytime, but it could happen that I did not search for it very hard. Even when a media source is fined it by the watchdog, it DOES NOT need to pay the fine up-front, if it disagree with the judgement it can attack the decision on the court, which is not linked to the watchdog, and it has to pay the fine only if it loses the appeal. to be continued

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  • 218. At 1:52pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    BBC have not posted my initial comment so I rewrote bits, that may in some way were deemed inapropriate for the site and I broke the comment into to: second part:

    As for the other issue, that in case of national security issues the media sources have to reveal their sources and all the information they posses on the issue to the watchdog (according to the law the watchdog have to keep these information secret thereafter) is I think perfectly understandable and natural. I have not read the British terror-law, but I would not be surprised if in that law much more effective powers are given either to the government or to agencies over which the public have very little control.
    All in all after reading key parts of the law I am very disappointed by your coverage of Hungary and the Hungarian government. The law maybe imperfect and may dent media freedom but it definitively does not destroy democracy, pluralism in Hungary and it is in no way dangerous to Europe. Due to negligence you seem to have joined the choir of hysterical voices that ostracise a whole nation based on unconfirmed information: by now Hungary and the hungarian government was compared to bacillus, pre- historic human and Fuehrerstaadt; I wonder what exotic disease Hungary will be called next. I can only hope that in the future BBC will check more carefully their sources and does not join the scare-mongrels in a storm in a spoon of water.
    Best wishes,
    Attila

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  • 219. At 1:56pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    threnodio_II

    Your following text is misleading and manipulative as not foreign companies had to pay the Robin Hood-tax. All foreign and Hungarian that reached a specific profit. So, there were many foreign companies that did not pay.

    Your text: As to the taxation of foreign companies, there are quite possibly legal issues in respect of EU companies but probably not for non-Eu businesses.

    As to the inward investment the following companies found good enough the new reduced company taxation that also has been introduced by the new FIDESZ government and which you have deliberately left out from your message:
    AUDI, BMW, OPEL, SUZUKI

    Your text: Much more importantly, Hungary badly needs inward investment and this was beginning to flow again quite nicely. Any measures which mitigate against a positive investment flow are misguided. It is that simple. A deeper investigation of this quickly reveals that there are clear targets.

    As to the obligatory private pension funds, you again deliberately and misleadingly omitted the fact that they accumulated enormous losses and they are under investigation for fraud and that they were obligatory. I repeat OBLIGATORY!!!!!

    Your Text: Recent changes in the pension regulations severely punish private pension funds in favour of the state system.

    Your text is again misleading and manipulative. When the big crises broke out the Hungarian government paid for and saved those banks. Without this enormous scarifies, today we could not talk about these banks, as there were already dead. Now, the tax they had to pay, as they managed to survive the crises is a very low % of the profit that they produced.

    Your Text: Taxation changes recently have also targeted banks and other financial institutions, changes in the way the insurance system buys drugs for the state health system seem to be similarly balanced. There is a simple fact of life that everyone seems to be ignoring.

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  • 220. At 2:05pm on 06 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:

    216. At 1:46pm on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:

    "...Why does Hungary need the EU? ..."

    EUpris: Nobody needs the "EU" except overpaid "EU"-Apparatchics/Eurocrats and criminals like the ones who have murdered, gang-raped and filmed it, stolen in organised gangs, smuggled and sold drugs, organised prostitution, scrounged off our social security system around here and carried out ram-raids and posed as false policemen in Austria.




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  • 221. At 2:08pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    Thank you Testudo Fur. Your message is clear and fair.

    ----------------------------------
    Your text:

    184. At 10:24am on 06 Jan 2011, Testudo Furor wrote:
    The New Hungarian press law is a compilation from different western EU countries press laws. Please read it! So if there is no free press in Hungary, then no free press in Britain or Italy.
    For example the hungarian Media Council is elected by the National Assembly by way of a two-thirds majority vote. Members of the National Assembly cannot be influenced in their decision.
    - The members of the convergent British authority OFCOM – including its chairperson – are appointed by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport;
    - The chairperson of the convergent Italian authority AGCOM is appointed, in conjunction with the Minister for Communication and the competent parliamentary committee, by the decree of the President of the Republic based on the Prime Minister’s recommendation;

    I think this British or Italian rules are more "dictatorial" then the hungarian version.

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  • 222. At 2:14pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    Why did cut and paste only the message I replied to and not my answer?

    My answer was:

    I personally know American guys and I can assure you about that you are not Public Enemy No 1. in Hungary. Normal simple people suffer in America just like in Hungary. There’s no difference at all. I saw a documentary about Detroit. It was heartbreaking.

    Your text:

    214. At 1:32pm on 06 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    114. At 3:57pm on 05 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    "

    Well, I'm an American from the evil U$A.

    Public Enemy No 1. "

    EUpris: The "EU" is the Evil Empire.

    The "EU" is public enemy No.1


    Services are being cut in the UK whilst we are paying for the worse-than-useless van Rompuy


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  • 223. At 2:17pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    Gosh, In Hungary forums are not pre-moderated and does not take an hour to get message up on board. If this is a freedom that you are trying to protect from Hungary, that we are more free that you.

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  • 224. At 2:27pm on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    216. At 1:46pm on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:
    @ cool_brush_work

    Why does Hungary need the EU?
    This is my new term of starting a discussion since you arrogant westerners have voiced your opinions."


    So, when a 'western' person (though how You know they are not also in Japan, Thailand etc. or what Faith they hold, only You can explain) gives their viewpoint that constitutes "..arrogance" on their part.

    Whereas, when You contribute Your viewpoint that is only fair, reasonable, logical and all those other finer points of debating.

    Hmm, strikes me You're being a tad 'arrogant' in Your assumption of what value is placed on Your Comments compared with anyone else.

    Still, please keep contributing because the blog needs diversity.


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  • 225. At 2:30pm on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #221. At 2:08pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian

    For the British media rules you have to thank the previous Socialist administration who amongst other things turned the UK into the most surveillance orientated country after Russia in terms of the number of cctv cameras. Many in England believe that you can't sneeze without being caught on at least several cameras.

    As regards the fire storm unleashed against Hungary, this is simply because they dare to not want to curl up their toes and whimper in the corner to the Great European Empire mandarins. If they just give in and nod their heads and agree with the Paris-Berlin axis all the criticism will melt away, and any non-compliance with EU treaties will be overlooked as usual.

    Well done Hungary and their new Government, keep it up.

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  • 226. At 2:40pm on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    220. At 2:05pm on 06 Jan 2011, EUprisoner209456731 wrote:
    216. At 1:46pm on 06 Jan 2011, TG wrote:

    "...Why does Hungary need the EU? ..."

    EUpris: Nobody needs the "EU" except overpaid "EU"-Apparatchics/Eurocrats and criminals like the ones who have murdered, gang-raped and filmed it, stolen in organised gangs, smuggled and sold drugs, organised prostitution, scrounged off our social security system around here and carried out ram-raids and posed as false policemen in Austria."


    ALL of the above sort of ghastly stuff occurs with or without an EU.

    Come on EUPris, it's way past time You argued on the case for an Independent England/UK based on the Un-Democratic and Un-Economic effects of this centralising, strait-jacket Brussels entity and not on spurious criminality!

    I base my anti-Schengen argument very largely on the 'open door' border policy that has enables widespread cross-border, International Criminal activity: However, the notion that 'gang-rape, 'ram-raids' & the like are a product of the EU's policies is about as sensible as the 'pro-EU' argument that England wants to return to 'Empire' - - both are daft at best, and extremely aggravatingly out-of-place at worst!




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  • 227. At 2:59pm on 06 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    Nice to see you are still hanging around out there Threnodio.

    Good to read the other opinions from Hungary...IE not TG.
    Bad as QOT...well almost.

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  • 228. At 3:31pm on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:

    'Your text is again misleading and manipulative.'

    Really?

    "When the big crises broke out the Hungarian government paid for and saved those banks."

    With whose money? Did the Hungarian tax payer pay for it? You were clearly not subscribing to this blog when I mounted a vigorous defense of the Hungarian position in 2007/8 but you cannot walk away from the fact that the bail out of the banks was funded by IMF and ECB money and no amount of trying to sell the Fidesz position will change that. If you wish, I will argue politics with you until we are blue in the face but you cannot change harsh economic reality.

    I have already said that the government handled it well but they did so with borrowed money and there will always be a pay back time.

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  • 229. At 3:51pm on 06 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    Do not try and work out any reasoning/logic to the moderation process AboriginalHungarian. That is a ticket to a headache. Consider "Post Comment" as "Roll the dice" and you will be much happier. ^^

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  • 230. At 3:57pm on 06 Jan 2011, Freeman wrote:

    Orban seems convinced the opposition are stirring it with the EU for domestic gain.

    Although I did wonder at...
    "Hungary has sent a translated text of the law to legal experts in Brussels who will seek to clarify whether the terms comply with EU legislation."

    I thought 'we' employed an army of EU translators for this kind of thing?

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  • 231. At 4:34pm on 06 Jan 2011, Wallonia wrote:

    The Economics of Powermeerkat are very simplistic.

    About the Euro, its "relative weakness" is actually helping the post-crisis real economy of the Eurozone.

    We are seeing record exports of Germany to other markets helping countries that export to Germany, such as Spain, Italy, France, Ireland and others, improving the industrial orders of the region as a hole.

    With the recuperation gaining momentum, it is just a matter of time before the improvement of the balance sheets of governments, banks and economies.

    About the boat thing, let's not forget that the pessimistic achieves nothing. It s easy to be pessimistic and post pessimistic remarks about everything coming out of the EU, specially the Eurozone.

    No one in this blog (including myself)ever discuss causes, consequences and alternatives to the problems regarding Europe.

    This blog needs a good rational approach to the discussions.

    Just my point of view.

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  • 232. At 5:09pm on 06 Jan 2011, cool_brush_work wrote:

    218. At 1:52pm on 06 Jan 2011, bubu wrote:

    "..by now Hungary and the hungarian government was compared to bacillus, pre- historic human and Fuehrerstaadt; I wonder what exotic disease Hungary will be called next. I can only hope that in the future BBC will check more carefully their sources and does not join the scare-mongrels in a storm in a spoon of water.
    Best wishes,
    Attila"



    I too wonder what Hungary will next be called because for sure, no one on the BBC News or indeed any contributor to this Blog has used the unpleasant 'names' You mention!?

    So far as I can tell the BBC News especially via its Eiropean Editor, Mr Hewitt has attempted to Report the various viewpoints that have arisen across the EU27 concerning Hungary as it takes rotating the EU Presidency. I can divine nothing controversial by Mr Hewitt; he has kept a fairly even line, only his Article references some within the EU27 who are opposed/concerned with the new Law on Media Hungary has introduced.

    It therefore follows some writing Comments on this Blog have also expressed concerns & others such as Yourself have ably defended the Hungarian standpoint.

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  • 233. At 6:18pm on 06 Jan 2011, Wallonia wrote:

    @ CBW

    "I can divine nothing controversial by Mr Hewitt; he has kept a fairly even line"

    My friend, you have a serious problem with regard to the betweenlines. Even him must be laughing at this remark. His job is controversy.

    I wonder, are you Mr Hewitt?

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  • 234. At 7:09pm on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #233. At 6:18pm on 06 Jan 2011, Wallonia,

    Hello again QOT clone, who are you I wonder, "With the recuperation gaining momentum, it is just a matter of time before the improvement of the balance sheets of governments, banks and economies.", yawn, dormir, ronfler.

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  • 235. At 7:25pm on 06 Jan 2011, AboriginalHungarian wrote:

    228. At 3:31pm on 06 Jan 2011, threnodio_II wrote:
    'Your text is again misleading and manipulative.'

    You pointed out a very important issue. Banks were saved by IMF money. The IMF money was not used to buy medicine and save Hungarian lifes, IMF money was not used to feed the poor, no, the banks were saved and the banks sent the money back to their original countries. The IMF money did not even get warm inside a Hungarian bank server, it was gone.

    Who is going to pay back IMF money? It was not a gift. IMF does not do gifts. This is a loan that the Hungarian population has to pay back with interest.
    You again put your argument misleading. Not the Fidesz government and the only 8 months old leadership took IMF money and decided to save the banks. Now, the current government has to deal with it.
    ---------------------------------------------------------------------


    Your text:
    Really?

    "When the big crises broke out the Hungarian government paid for and saved those banks."

    With whose money? Did the Hungarian tax payer pay for it? You were clearly not subscribing to this blog when I mounted a vigorous defense of the Hungarian position in 2007/8 but you cannot walk away from the fact that the bail out of the banks was funded by IMF and ECB money and no amount of trying to sell the Fidesz position will change that. If you wish, I will argue politics with you until we are blue in the face but you cannot change harsh economic reality.

    I have already said that the government handled it well but they did so with borrowed money and there will always be a pay back time.

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  • 236. At 7:27pm on 06 Jan 2011, Wallonia wrote:


    So you are denying that the German exports to countries outside the Eurozone does not improve the economies of their trading partners inside the Eurozone.

    You deny also that the weakening of the euro does not help Eurozone exports.

    You really believe that the Germans dont have suppliers and make their goods and servicer out of nothing?

    And you object my presence in the blog by saying that i am boring.

    If you search for entertainment on this blog i really pity you.

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  • 237. At 8:17pm on 06 Jan 2011, Buzet23 wrote:

    #236. At 7:27pm on 06 Jan 2011, Wallonia,

    #231 "No one in this blog (including myself)ever discuss causes, consequences and alternatives to the problems regarding Europe."

    I recall some earlier posts by yourself and still you go on about German exports. Have you still yet to realise that German exports to eurozone countries were paid for by loans from German banks, look at the exposure to these loans that primarily caused the Greek and Irish problems. Now tell us German exports are helping the eurozone when you ignore who is funding those imports in struggling countries.

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  • 238. At 8:28pm on 06 Jan 2011, margaret howard wrote:

    200 threnodio writes:
    Yes, Hungary should follow countries like Japan . . . "
    . . . get roundly thrashed in a world war, have the hell bombed out of them, triumphantly engineer an economic miracle and then destroy it with equal efficiency..."

    I take it your are talking about a country that has the 2nd largest economy in the world? Ah, how many countries would like to have such a 'destroyed' economy!

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  • 239. At 8:34pm on 06 Jan 2011, HS wrote:

    to the cool_brush_work clones:

    I am glad that the world has shaken your colonizing parasitic existence off its shoulders.

    Next I hope, we will not have to be measured with the same standards under one EU.

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