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The gate of freedom, Hungary of 1989 misled by the former freedom hero of 1989 Viktor Orbán now in the service of Vladimir Putin is rejecting the Eurozone, even openly mocking the Euro, claiming the Euro to be a failure. If József Antall knew what Viktor Orbán is doing, well… No comment.
69% of Hungarians want to join the Eurozone,
but Viktor Orbán prefers manipulating the Forint and running Hungary as his fief. The opposition sadly is not focused, and hoping to end the Orbán regime, they seem to lack the cohesion to win. The left-wing tax populist Klara Dobrev will certainly not defeat Viktor Orbán with a high tax populist platform and married to Ferenc Gyurcsány, the disgraced former Socialist Prime Minister whose confused economics mixed by confused politics led to the 2nd victory of Viktor Orbán in 2010. Gergely Karácsony, the mayor of Budapest, seems a much more reasonable candidate, with better chances to oust Orbán. Key is to focus on the Eurozone, on Orbán’s Russian pivot and close Putin ties and not roll out a Socialist wish list including massive tax hikes. Hungary’s tax system needs to be adjusted to reduce VAT on the EU level to 20% and
raise Corporate Tax to 15% from the current 9%, but keep the 15% flat tax and avoid the temptation of socialist tax populism driving the Hungarian middle classes back to Orbán.
Keeping taxes low and flat at 15% inside the Eurozone is the way for Hungary to catch up with the Czech Republic and Slovenia in this decade and reach Austrian prosperity levels by 2040 as Austria stays a high tax country after the failed tax reform of Sebastian Kurz and Werner Kogler from October 2021.
Orbán will certainly try another anti-migration campaign, so the EU would be well advised to take the pressure off all such redistribution schemes to avoid giving Orban his topic. Better focus on Rule of Law and clearly the Euro for Hungary. Here it would help if Romania would join the Eurozone in 2024 together with Bulgaria, as this would make many Hungarians with links to or living in Romania reconsider their position, and Orban would have much to explain. It would help if Donald Tusk took the Eurozone for Poland as a flagship topic for his return to Poland. It would help to have this debate in the Czech Republic. And Croatia’s Eurozone membership will have an impact as well. Croatia overtaking Hungary into the Eurozone is certainly a message that won’t be lost on Hungarians. But given the misalliance between Orbán and Vucic,
the EU offers to Serbia to change the currency of Serbia from the Dinar to the Euro for the recognition of Kosovo would have an impact on the northern neighbour.
No matter if Serbia rejects or accepts it – such a debate and such an official offer will be reported in Hungarian media, and the debate about the Euro all around Hungary from Slovakia, Austria, Slovenia to Croatia and possibly Serbia and Romania and as discussed even in Ukraine would certainly send the debate in Budapest into a frenzy. And even Orbán’s strict massage control will not control this message, the Euro is soon a reality in Central and Eastern European countries and just Hungary is isolated, possibly left over with Serbia alone. Not so attractive for Hungarian voters, already 69% are for the Eurozone entry of Hungary.
The EU is supporting Hungary with 7.2 billion and add the 33 billion net transfer since 2004 and add the massive support from 1990 to 2004 by EU, USA and Germany and Western IFI following the end of Communism and the reconstruction and EU accession. Yes, and all this is justified, but we can ask some things, please some minimal standards of Rule of Law, Anti-Corruption and Good Governance and some alliance allegiance and yes to join our tools of convergence and cohesion and our economic system – the Euro. Yes, we can ask for the Euro from Hungary.
Once the opposition has won in 2022, how will the EU react when the new Hungarian Prime Minister declares that Hungary wants to join the Eurozone? Yes, wait, we need to check and yes all criteria and we better wait until Orbán is back in power! No, this time we have to act! Get Hungary in the Eurozone straight after the election of a pro-European, pro-Euro Prime Minister, and make that clear during the election campaign.
Author: Gunther Fehlinger/ https://www.linkedin.com/in/fehlinger/