German press criticises Hungarian Premier

Author: MTI Original title: A német lapok bírálják a magyar kormányfőt
Publication: Date: 16:49 06/09/2015

German press criticises Hungarian Premier

Note from the translators: The article below is an English-language translation of the weekend review of the German press as prepared by the Hungarian news agency MTI. Since the review was published in Hungarian, many of the quotes and paraphrases used in the article were translated from the Hungarian, rather than from the original German. Where possible, we link to the original German article.

The German newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung (FAS) published an article with the title “What’s with this Hungary?” by Stephan Löwenstein, who amongst other things writes: It is often said of Viktor Orbán that he has a feel for the wishes of the Hungarian public, but by now the Hungarian electorate is tired of his constant combative rhetoric and of legislative improvisations bringing results that are often very far from being worthy of a professional politician.

Whilst describing recent internal political events, such as the loss of the two-thirds parliamentary majority, he also emphasized that in this situation Viktor Orbán made migration his main campaign-issue. Part of this was the survey that used loaded questions, the billboard-campaigns, the speeches, interviews and the rather ineffective but nevertheless greatly symbolic border fence. All this, on the other hand, does not mean that Orbán is not totally serious about what he is saying about the issue of migration – adds Löwenstein.

Orban’s Rage (“Orbáns Wüten”)

Link to original article 

The Süddeutsche Zeitung’s weekend edition published Cathrin Kahlweit’s article entitled “Orbán’s Rage,” claiming that Orban’s crude world-view frames Hungary as a victim. The premier aims to seal off this little country like an island in the ocean of international crisis, because he thinks that Hungary is one nation, one faith, one ideology and that’s how it should stay. This policy is un-historical, un-Christian and inhumane, and what’s more, not even realistic – says the Süddeutsche Zeitung journalist.

Spiegel Online’s article by Keno Verseck is entitled “Refugee-chaos in Hungary: stupid, brash, Orban.” Spiegel’s view is that Viktor Orban let the refugee crisis putrify in his country on purpose. For him, there is only one important thing and that is to win his next election. The author also thinks that you cannot expect a humane, sustainable approach from Orban to resolve the crisis, as he needs the the atmosphere resembling civil war to escalate and be sustained.

German television channel ARD published Kai Künstner’s comment with the title “EU refugee crisis – selfish and not European” (original German title: “EU-Flüchtlingspolitik: Egoistisch statt europäisch”)

Link to original article  

Künstner’s article claims that the individual states’ selfish behaviour dominates the refugee-crisis. The reasons behind this are usually based on internal politics, and either the EU has to start regarding the asylum seekers with more solidarity or it will fall apart.

The loudest representative of this selfish behavior is Viktor Orban, who is obviously worried that his competition will overtake him from the right, therefore he generates fear – writes the ARD journalist, adding that it is high time that Merkel talks to her coalition partners.

Vienna and Berlin acted fast and correctly. A huge tribute to Austrian, mainly Burgenland’s authorities who in a matter of hours arranged the transport of several hundreds of refugees. This “herculean” task was further aggravated by Hungarian authorities who were everything but cooperative, not willing to carry the refugees a short distance further inside Austria. This was just one of the several vexations created by the Hungarians in the past few days – wrote the Der Standard, a liberal Austrian daily newspaper on Sunday.

Viktor Orban obviously used the refugees as “pawns” at his EU-level talks in order to receive more European funding – writes Alexandra Föderl-Schmid, chief editor of the newspaper in her lead-article.

Link to original article

This could even be called blackmail at the expense of the refugees. This sort of treatment is not in line with norms of basic human rights, and all this in the middle of Europe – she says. Conditions that were observed in Hungary bring shame on the EU that recently received the Nobel prize and is demanding human rights worldwide.

It is frightening that the Visegrad-4 (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland – trans.) have rejected the EU quota system regulating the distribution of refugees, as exactly these were the countries which were for decades exiled behind the iron curtain, and they themselves received much support from the EU, including financial aid.

Double standards

The Hungarian head of government enforces EU legislation when he wants to register and hold back the refugees, but involuntarily he also demonstrates that it does not work – wrote Die Presse, the Austrian conservative daily newspaper on Saturday.

Link to original article 

According to the publication, double standards are applied when many get upset about Orbán putting up a barbed-wire fence: very few reacted when Spain has been using a much higher fence on its North-African territories for years now.

The EU must make a decision immediately about an action-plan package, which will be expensive, but will cost only a fraction of what they spent on handling the Greek debt crisis. There is a need for a system distributing the asylum-seekers equally, for a single European law about refugees, for the setting up of jointly-financed receiving stations handling requests for asylum.

However if Orban refuses all this and calls this a “German problem” he can be offered the same alternative the Greeks were offered recently, namely that maybe he would feel more comfortable in Vladimir Putin’s Eurasian-Union – writes Die Presse.


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