Category Archives: Uncategorized

Seasons Greetings

The Perspective is getting better

We are wishing all the best for the Holiday Season to all our friends, relatives, acquaintances and readers for Christmas and the New Year.

One of the many Christmas street cars.

I suppose, our writing passion is going to be somewhat dulled by all that food and alcohol we must consume in the service of celebrating these coming notable days. I also feel that the year left behind us was certainly not a banner year, there was not much to celebrate about it. All we can do is preparing for making a better one next.

For our part the Hungarian Perspective shall continue to strive to accomplish that.

Best wishes from

Janet, András and Sándor

Crime in slow motion

As the EU is passively looking on

The disagreeable minister of regional development in Hungary is trusted to negotiate with the European Union for the release of the billions withheld from Hungary for over a year now. The reason for the stern suspension of funds was the belated, but nevertheless, determined position of the European Union that Hungary ceased to be a lawful democracy and until this condition is corrected, payments shall be withheld. Minister Navracsics, formerly a professor of law and also one of the leaders of Fidesz party, was also appointed by prime minister Viktor Orban in 2014 as EU commissionaire. He was surrounded with suspicion and distrust in his position as commissionaire of a minor portfolio there. He failed to convince his collegues about his readiness to represent union interests as opposed to national Hungarian ones as demanded from him his ”master,” Mr. Orban. But now he is back on his old turf, as someone with connections to the Union bureaucracy, commissioned by Viktor Orban to be the sly fox that will eventually lure, cajole, or wrest the billions of Euros from the holding of the Union escrow. And Mr. Navracsics is busy, negotiating almost weekly in Brussels, trying to convince his interlocutors about the corrective measures the Hungarian government have done to comply with the twenty seven ”mile stones” the European Commission set for them as the conditions of releasing the funds. And while he is repeatedly assuring the Hungarian public about the imminence of the arrival of the funds, the truth is that the government is rather trying to sneak around the required changes than instituting any substantial improvements as demanded from them. All the changes are superficial, without really restoring in their effect the rule of law, or reduce the staggeringly rampant corruption in Hungary. And for a while it looked like the European Commission, (or for that matter the European Court of Justice), shall not be fooled and the stalemate remains.

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Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła

“Poland is not yet lost”

So goes the opening line of Poland’s Mazurka style national anthem.  As long as we live Poland will not be lost.  And this is how much we know for sure about the Parliamentary elections in Poland held on October 15.

Furthermore, and quite honestly, this is the takeaway from a European perspective.  The final result will eventually allow three opposition parties to form a coalition government, which will end two dark four-year terms of the Law and Justice Party (PiS) rule in Poland.  Poland would once again play a constructive role in the European dialogue for a more perfect Union.  The country of almost 40 million population may take its decisive role in pursuing a constructive European agenda.

From the Hungarian perspective, there will be a host of other conclusions and takeaways as to how all this may impact Hungarian politics and public discourse about the restoration of a democratic order.  Our Hungarian Perspective will attempt to address some of the ramifications of the defeat of the born-again nationalist PiS rule.  Our Blog will assess the outcome of the Polish vote and the prospects of the new government in other posts too, soon to come.

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Is Something Rotten in Sweden, too?

The ratification of Sweden’s accession to NATO has been delayed repeatedly over this last year by the Hungarian Parliament.

Why is this so?  Is there anything wrong with Sweden? We know that something is, literarily speaking, ”rotten in Denmark.” Is then something rotten in Sweden too?  Do Hungarians have good reasons to withhold, hand in hand with Turkey, their consent to the timely accession of Sweden to NATO?  Hardly so.

Who among the Hungarian decision makers (to be sure there are only a handful) hold grudges against the Swedes?  No one, we venture to say.  This game must be about something else than against the very country from whom Hungary had procured SAAB Gripen fighters which make up the entire air force fleet of Hungary.  Yes, the whole Hungarian Air Force was manufactured in the country which the Hungarian Government does not see fit to join the NATO military alliance.  And yes, in September 2001, Minister Matolcsy (then Minister of Economy) and Defense Minister János Szabó (does anyone remember this military talent?) announced that Hungary was to purchase its fleet from SAAB in an offset program.

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The ”other” twenty seven

Just a coincidence

A new subscriber, also a friend (and incidentally an economist), was wondering what the twenty-seven so-called milestones are that the European Union is setting in front of the Hungarian Government as the condition of restarting the transfer payments, that are presently withheld. (The terms of conditionality are laid out in the Country Specific Report 2022, and can be found in the document attached at the end of this article.)

It is a mere coincidence that the number of the members in the Union is the same as the so-called super-milestones set out for Hungary to pass. The ”magic number” is twenty seven.

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No More Rubbing of Equestrian Testicles

Here is the Rub

Rubbing delicate parts of a statue is thought all over the world to bring about luck.  At least tourists and students believe in this magic in many cities.

Well-wishers rub the nose of Greyfriars Bobby, a patient dog statue in Edinburgh.  His story can break the heart.  In Cambridge, Massachusetts, mostly students touch the toes of John Harvard’s shoes.  The toe caps of both shoes are shiny, while the high heels remain black.  In Verona, if you are lucky with lining up, you may touch the boobs of Juliette without inviting charges for child molestation.  Juliette’s right breast has been rubbed more frequently than the left one.  And in New York City’s Timer Warner Center at Columbus Circle, you have Fernando Botero’s (God rest his soul) giant and no doubt portly Adam and Eve statues, and you may already guess that so many people touch Adam’s rather small but prominent penis that it has been worn to a shining golden color.  For the record: Eve’s body is untouched.

We in Budapest have an early 20th century policeman statue on the corner of October 6 and Zrínyi Streets, leading up to the Government evicted Central European University’s old entrance.  The jovial cop’ sizeable belly is shining gold as a result of friendly touching.

So, what kind of city is this, we may ask our question once again?

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An untimely celebration

Barely two weeks ago the thirtieth anniversary of the re-burial of admiral Miklós Horthy took place. His ashes had been repatriated from their resting place in Portugal and  interned in the town cemetery of his birth place in Kenderes. The awkward event in 1993 was condoned by many members of the then Prime minister József Antall and his colleagues and all the followers of the nascent retrograde right-wing political class.

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Inscribe Us in the Book of Life

Those of us who finished our Passover Seder dinner last April around 10:00 o’clock or so dutifully reiterated the time-honored closing desire: L’Shana Haba’ah B’Yerushalayim – Next year in Jerusalem.

We expressed our wish to be in Jerusalem next year.  Now we are on the brink of yet another new year.  Rosh Hashanah will be arriving on the evening of September 15.  We are still here in Budapest, and, in all likelihood, this will be so in Year 5784, too, but who knows when and how we will assemble in Jerusalem.  It will be so one day.

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What Kind of City Is This?

Perceptive readers may recall that in my introduction of our Hungarian Perspective on September 4, 2023, I did bring up the story of a troubled woman who arrived to Paris to murder Jean-Paul Marat, and before she carried out this awful deed she got caught up with the horrors of Paris in transition.  What kind of city is this?  – she would repeat the same question in a catatonic manner before she rang the doorbell on Marat’s home.  Surely, what kind of city is this?  As I have noted in my first post, the question, pertaining to this country, will come up in this Blog a number of times from different aspects.

I must say that I never intended to exclude villages and small towns from the inquiry of what kind they are.  If something takes place in rural settings, villages, this also qualifies to the generic question: What kind of city is this?  Here we have a telling story which advises you a fair bit of what kind of a country, city and village life we experience in Hungary.

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The last pavan in Brussels*




noun: pavan

  1. stately dance in slow duple time, popular in the 16th and 17th centuries and performed in elaborate clothing.

Oh! How I would love to amuse my dear readers with the fascinating etymological history, the musical derivations and geographic variations of the word and the dance! But, alas, this time I must restrict myself to the one and only Hungarian derivation, inadvertently coined by our resourceful prime minister, Mr. Orban, based on a misunderstanding and some deceptions. Mr. Orban somehow understood, mistakenly, that the mating dance of the peacock, that is to say stepping forth, than stepping back, is an apt description of how he is dealing with political obligations that he is going to ignore and will not carry out, no matter what, but for the sake of appearances he and his government are willing to pretend to try; and he named this elaborate, deceptive dance of forward and backward steps the ” peacock dance,” in short: pavane.

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