Welcome to European Tribune. It's gone a bit quiet around here these days, but it's still going.
I forgot to explain what's up with the "peace march" format for the inofficial Fidesz mass rally today; added a sentence. Will also add a photo with Zsolt Bayer.

As for the EP debate on Hungary with Orbán present, in addition to what I wrote in the Salon, there is another moment worth to mention. Some EPP MEPs took a page from Fidesz's rhetoric, claiming that Fidesz's new constitution replaced the 1949 Stalinist constitution. Daniel Cohn-Bendit ridiculed this by asking his EPP colleagues how they could then approve the accession of a communist country in 2004?... Since then, a blogger did something even more effective: a direct comparison of the original 1949 constitution, and the version valid just before the Fidesz constitution (with all the modifications since, in particular a total re-write in 1989). Check it out yourself: new additions in green, the excised parts of the original in red, retained parts in black. Seems like less than 0.1% remained...

<sub>*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 03:33:11 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A swedish kind of death:
Could we perhaps have a diary with EPP MEPs that obfuscated?

In the EP debate on Hungary, that is. I'll do it in this long comment. The transscript is here; unfortunately, I can't find the official English translations so I had to do it with Google. First the non-Hungarian EPP MEPs who spoke – I sensed an over-representation of Italy/PdL:

  • Joseph Daul (faction leader, from France/UMP): he gave the EPP line by praising Orbán for reforming a country taken over in crisis and for replacing the 'Stalinist' constitution, and implying that MEPs should wait with judgements until the result of the Commission's investigations, and made comparisons with the previous Socialist government. In his closing note, he stressed that Hungary is still a democracy and can be travelled in freely (really!), and objected to the Orbán-Chávez comparison, then stressed again that Orbán faced the debate, and asked "Who is perfect? He who is perfect cast the first stone!" (seriously!).

  • Bernd Posselt (Germany/CSU): defended Hungary's new constitution by pointing to its parts on minority rights and contrasting it with Britain's opt-out from EU Fundamental Rights (as if those excuse any of the rest).

  • Mario Mauro (Italy/PdL): he just made a fool of himself when not getting Cohn-Bendit's barb about Hungary's EU accession with a Stalinist constitution. Later he blamed Jobbik's burning of the European flag on the ideological debate of MEPs, and reminded of the bad example of EU action against Haider.

  • Manfred Weber (Germany/CSU): praised Orbán for meeting the fury of the EP on his own initiative, attacked the Left, claimed all accusations of undemocratic or far-right nature are pure rhetoric, and called for the respect of the decisions of a parliament elected by two-thirds majority of Hungarian citizens (not true, he 'forgot' that the vote wasn't proportional like in Germany). Later, he questioned S&D leader Hannes Swoboda's claim of raising criticism out of love for Hungary and said the out-of-love assumption should apply for Orbán's actions in Hungary.

  • Simon Busuttil (Malta/PN): the EP is not a tribunal, leave that to the Commission, let's not jump to conclusions.

  • Vytautas Landsbergis (Lithuania/TS-LKD): focused on the central bank issue, said Orbán didn't want to Occupy Wall Street, makes comparison to the Soviet Union's opposition to Lithuania's constitution.

  • Theodor Dumitru Stolojan (Romania/PD-L): said Orbán government acted on good faith, pained the media law corrections a year ago as positive example (as if), praised special taxes on banks (as if that had been the thrust of criticisms in the EP).

  • Mário David (Portugal, PSD): asked whether the EP's Left called for a debate on the situation in Hungary when the prior Socialist PM admitted lying to voters in the campaign (repeating the Fidesz spin), said Orbán was elected with a clear majority to make the reforms he is making (as if he detailed his legal coup in the campaign).

  • Krzysztof Lisek (Poland/PO): remembered meeting Orbán in 1989 (forgot his 'development' in 23 years since).

  • Giuseppe Gargani (Italy/PdL): I can't make much sense of the Google translate of his speech, except for speaking about an affront to sovereignty.

  • Michael Gahler (Germany/CDU): praised Orbán for raising the EP's stature by appearing for debate, reminded of Gyurcsány's lies speech and talked of two-thirds election majority too, and blames the old communists for giving a twisted image of events in Hungary to the rest of Europe. He even managed to defend the lack of independence of the central bank: suggesting that it should apply from the Eurozone entry only. He claims that a leftist government would have celebrated the lowering of the retirement age for judges as a social measure for the younger generations (as if there would be lots of jobless judges).

  • Frank Engel (CSV/Luxembourg): claimed the fact that the Orbán government gave a 19-page prompt reply to Viviane Reding's letter on judicial reform is proof of willingness to cooperate (ignoring the actual content of the reply which brushed off concerns and led to the Commission action), and protests the rhetoric about democracy in danger when contrasted with the rather limited Commission action.

  • Sergio Paolo Francesco Silvestris (Italy/PdL): another one who praised Orbán for attending the EP and talked about the 1949 constitution, accusing some of "nostalgia", and said Article 7 action for a judge retirement age of 62 is ridiculous.

  • Carlo Casini (Italy/PdL): I'm not sure I get this via Google translate either; but seems another guy who doesn't want to talk about on-going investigation by the Commission, and protests protests against the new constitution before it took effect.

Non-EPP supporters were mainly from Poland:

  • Zbigniew Ziobro, ECR (Poland/PiS): compared EU action to Soviet tanks in 1956.

  • Ryszard Antoni Legutko, ECR (Poland/PiS): called Orbán's MEP critics hysterics, and accused them of double standards when it came to the prior Socialist government of Poland's present government.

  • Jacek Olgierd Kurski, ECR (Poland/PiS): praised Orbán for going after banks, writing Catholic-conservative values into the constitution, and angering Russia.

  • Philip Claeys, NI (Belgium/VB): compared EU interference to the Brezhnev Doctrine (and attacks Verhofstadt).

  • Peter van Dalen, ECR (The Netherlands/CU): praised the new constitution's definition of marriage between a man and a woman.

  • Mario Borghezio, EFD (Italy/LN): focused on sovereignity, said Orbán would be welcome as a hero in (nonexistent) Padania.

  • Mirosław Piotrowski, ECR (Poland/PiS): accused the Commission of hypocrisy for ignoring action against Catholic-conservative media in Poland.

  • Oreste Rossi, EFD (Italy/LN): closed by telling "shame on you" to whoever denied in the debate that Europe is based on Christian values.

There were some more who contributed in writing after the debate closed, but I ignore those.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 06:25:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Gah, wading through all that bullshit took way too much of my time... but here is the original quote of something funnier. The left-of-centre MEPs also brought up the naming of the wife of Fidesz MEP leader József Szájer as the new overseer of the judicial branch (who can name, move or remove judges at will). Another Fidesz MEP theatrically objected by calling on a Green MEP to speak up against sexism (as if the criticism had been over the new overseer's sex). The reply:

Debates - Wednesday, 18 January 2012 - Recent political developments in Hungary (debate)

This is not about gender discrimination, and I can assure you that I would have something to say on that subject if it were. If Mr Szájer were married to a man, the same thing would apply, but I know that is not possible in Hungary.

The extra detail is that József Szájer is widely rumoured to be a closet gay, and was sent to Brussels/Strasbourg after (1) a gay group called on him to come out and speak up after violent protests against the Budapest Gay parade and (2) he escaped with his immunity when a brothel was busted in Vienna for employing underages.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.

by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 06:35:30 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Sorry about that. And no Swedish MEPs (even in the text messages at the end) to bring down a rethorical hammer on.

Sweden's finest (and perhaps only) collaborative, leftist e-newspaper Synapze.se
by A swedish kind of death on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 06:51:26 AM EST
[ Parent ]
And here comes the most bizarre support for the Orbán government... from the Israeli Right:

Diplomacy: The Israeli feel ... JPost - Features - Week in review

solated, feeling misunderstood and misrepresented, Hungary is getting a taste of what Israel goes through.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Sat Jan 21st, 2012 at 07:10:25 PM EST
[ Parent ]


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