The debate in the European Parliament

The parliamentary debate in the European Parliament was eagerly awaited by many in the Hungarian media.  Viktor Orbán participated in a very similar debate about a year ago, on the topic of the media law. Some of the same people, like Daniel Cohn-Bendit, took part here as well.

Daniel Cohn-Bendit at the EP session

The end result however was not so clear. Gábor Török, a well known political scientist and harsh critic of Orbán, noted the following points:

„1.  Viktor Orbán was a lot more restrained, supple and accommodating than at his last appearance a year ago. Even though his speech contained messages for the domestic front as well, he was not focused on the “defense” [of Hungary], but rather aimed to prove his ability to compromise on the international stage. It must be noted that the Hungarian Prime minister – especially in the second part of his remarks – has shown that he can effectively debate at a European level. 

2. Maybe due to the restrained nature of Viktor Orbán’s remarks, the style, tone and direction of the debate was somewhat different from the one that took place a year ago. Party politics came through even more than last year, and the debate seemed much more balanced and unremarkable. 

3. Most importantly the debate – as it could be expected – didn’t bring us closer to answering the real question. We don’t know much more about the situation, we don’t know how far will the EU go in terms of demands or how far will the Hungarian government go in terms of concessions. Yet this is the point.

Maybe a bit disappointed with the results, Török lamented that the debate was not worth a whole article on his blog, and instead posted the above brief remarks on Facebook (they still recieved over a hundred comments, within a short time of being posted)

On the far left however they clearly interpreted the debate as a disaster. László Bartus of “Amerikai Népszava” lost what little sanity he had to begin with and berated the members of the European Parliament as “retards” and “morons” and a “collection of miscreants”.  Bartus also added that the debate convinced him that all is lost, and should he be in Hungary, he would flee immediately… The radical Gyurcsányist website, Galamus used a similar tone with its “we are alone rhetoric” also.  Eva Balogh, a left-wing blogger tried to find comfort in the fact that “It was only the first round”.

It will be very interesting to see the international press’ take on the events.

Not entirely related but here is an extremely interesting recent article with a unique take on the general events in Hungary.

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