Budapest, July 26 (MTI) – Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s “shocking” address at a summer university course in central Romania’s Baile Tusnad was an obituary for the liberal state, the opposition E-PM party alliance said in a statement sent to MTI on Saturday.
According to the green opposition LMP, Orban and his Fidesz party are responsible for such developments back in the 1990s as the emergence of a liberal democracy which could not ensure sufficient protection against profiteering from public assets .
In its statement, E-PM said that the Hungarian prime minister was copying the president of Russia, and that his Saturday morning speech marked “not just the end of liberal democracy but democracy itself”. The state of Hungary no longer represents all its residents “but a small circle of beneficiaries: those that have been granted land, tobacco stores, public orders or employment”. Signatories to the statement insisted that Orban had also adopted Putin’s idea of “persecuting civil society on grounds that it receives support from other countries, too”. “Civil groups supported by the Norway Civil Fund are crucial components of a Western-style Hungary which Orban seeks to destroy. The foreign agents are not them but Orban himself, who has borrowed from Putin’s Russia nearly 1,000 times the amount of the annual Norway grants, to finance a totally pointless upgrade of the Paks nuclear plant,” E-PM said in its statement.
Speaking to MTI, LMP co-chair Andras Schiffer suggested that Orban’s Fidesz party had supported the privatisation of state assets “without control” after 1989. He also said that the alternative to a liberal democracy should not be a “public work-based society or slavery” but a democracy based on voter participation. Schiffer also lambasted the government for its economic policies, and said that those in the past four years were “not a bit different” from the policies of the previous 20 years. Building the economy on multinational companies will increase the country’s vulnerability, Schiffer said, and added that recent layoffs and the closure of factories indicate that those policies have failed and cannot be used to create new jobs. Public works schemes will not prevent young people from seeking employment in other countries, he added.
According to the Socialist Party, Orban’s speech indicates that the prime minister has “left the values of European and Hungarian democracies behind”. Socialist chair Jozsef Tobias called for a country in which “freedom is a realistic experience”, whether it is the freedom of civil movements or the individual’s freedom of choosing between jobs.
The radical nationalist Jobbik party referred to ethnic Hungarians in Romania as “the largest minority in Europe deprived of their rights” and criticised Orban for “omitting to mention that the EU does not provide a resolution” for them. Jobbik deputy leader Elod Novak said that his party agreed with the government that a work-based society should be encouraged, but said that rather than “doctoring statistical figures” the government should provide incentives for couples raising children.
Board member of the leftist Democratic Coalition (DK) Szabolcs Kerek-Barczy said that in his address that the prime minister had in fact called for “a fascist state and dismantling freedom”. Kerek-Barczy voiced shock at Orban’s citing Russia or China as examples to be followed, “just because those states are efficiently organised”, and said that the welfare or pension systems of those countries are far behind those in the forefront of the European Union. Kerek-Barczy also criticised Orban for dismissing the promotion of freedom rights as a democratic priority, and said that “all democrats in Hungary should be on the lookout and prepare for civil resistance”. He argued that “Orban is ready to set fire not only to Hungary but Central Europe and the whole of the democratic West”.
Photo: MTI – Laszlo Beliczay