Readers’ letters: From Berlin to Budapest
Jan Patrik Vilhelm Brinkmann von Druffel-Egloffstein, born 1966, is a Swedish-German businessman and entrepreneur in mining and real estate. Brinkmann also has a longstanding commitment to charity in Sri Lanka, supporting schools, hospitals and orphanages. He has further devoted himself to international political patronage and has a broad political network covering everything from social liberal to conservative and nationalist parties.
Brinkmann gained fame In Western and Northern Europe when he in the 2000s, through personal contacts in the Knesset, set out to strengthen ties and defuse the tension between European and Israeli parties and politicians with similar views on things such as the left and the moral decay of society. Outside Europe, Brinkmann has diplomatic, political and business connections in e.g. Azerbaijan, Ethiopia, India, Israel, Nigeria, Sri Lanka, Sudan and Thailand.
In November 1989, at the age of 23, I stepped out of a plane at Budapest Ferihegy International Airport. The Hungary I was about to meet was in the midst of great upheavals. The Iron Curtain was being torn down – only a few months earlier 200 km of fence had succumbed to the march of history. Now, after a quarter century has passed, I see great potential in this country – politically as well as economically.
Earlier in 1989 parliament had passed a so-called “democracy package” that changed the constitution in important ways, safeguarding relatively generous rights for the citizens, such as freedom of the press. The government had begun talks with the anti-communist opposition, including the then newly formed “Fidesz”. A figure of central importance in these talks was the 26 year old student Victor Orbán, who during the Summer of 1989 had gained international fame through a public speech in Budapest where he demanded that Soviet troops be withdrawn fro Hungary. Only a few weeks prior to my arrival at Ferihegy a multi-party system had been introduced, thus practically closing the chapter “People’s Republic of Hungary” in the country’s history.
As a businessman with an anti-Communist bent, Hungary was a very exciting place to be at the time. After nearly half a century of communist occupation the Hungarian people was ready to turn a new leaf. A number of generations of Hungarians had been raised in a totalitarian system and now would suddenly begin to build a national democracy.
Being a cultural conservative, I remember also how impressed I was by the strong, vibrant and proud heritage that awaited me in Hungary. The first thing that greeted me was Budapest – a magnificent European metropolis where every street corner tells of a proud and rich history. I also had time to visit a rural area with charming villages and grand estates. But above all, I encountered a people with a strong identity, a people with a deep appreciation for national values, culture and history.
My visit to Hungary in 1989 made a strong impact and as I now, a quarter century later, am in the process of establishing a second base in Budapest, I have happily concluded that the Hungarians have managed to maintain a sense of identity, of nation and culture, despite over 25 years of Hollywood cultural bombardment, alluring promises and capital from the West (something that has not always ended well, by the way).
And not only that – since Fidesz came to power in 2010, it seems to me that the Hungarian people has really taken command of their country and shown that they are their own masters – however much the EU, the US, the IMF and their left-liberal friends in the international media are attempting to bully Hungary. Europe has in recent years been witness to a European country that dares to challenge the otherwise so strong leftist elite, in all arenas. A country with national-conservative policies in culture, education and foreign affairs, and with an economic policy oriented entirely towards Hungarian preconditions and requirements, trying to build sustainable growth and prosperity over a longer time-horizon than the current mandate (unlike previous leftist governments’ short-term “borrow and spend” policies).
When the government was reelected in April I felt confident that these sound policies for growth and financial independence will continue. In addition, Hungary political climate is unique in having a national-conservative government that not only represents a fragile right wing, Fidesz has actually a dominant position in the middle-right of Hungarian politics, with natural opposition blocks on both the left and the right of the government on the political spectrum. On one side a block consisting of the globalist Liberal, Green and Socialist parties that are trying to get along and on the other a younger and more radical nationalist and traditionalist block consisting of Jobbik.
This political playing field provides excellent conditions for Hungary keep a balanced, pragmatic, conservative government that protects one’s own nation, for many years to come. Should the government begin to waver over fundamental national values, Jobbik is there, on their right, to ensure that they stay the course and that the country is not sold out or sacrificed to foreign interests.
The current cultural and political climate makes me happy in Hungary and I plan to spend a lot more time in the country going forward. The economic policies make Hungary a country worth investing in for those of us who have a long term interest and are not chasing quick profits. Therefore, I now have take a step with one foot from Berlin to Budapest and it is with almost childish glee that I look forward to this adventure.
Patrik Brinkmann von Druffel-Egloffstein
Entrepreneur, philanthrope and political patron