The Faux Foe

Scapegoat of the Day.

Scapegoat of the Day.

Fidesz officials used the June 4 Day of Cohesion commemoration of the Treaty of Trianon to denounce the European powers responsible for determining the truncated borders of Hungary following the First World War. The following are quotes from Hungarian News Agency (MTI) reports: 

Deputy National Assembly Speaker Sándor Lezsák:  “For the Hungarian people [magyarság], this is a day of national mourning, whereas for the former European decision-making political officials, it was merely a historical fact that could be forgotten and whose consequences had to be accepted in the manner established over the decades. This can be called Euro-cynicism.” Leszák said that there can be no doubt for anybody in Europe who possesses true knowledge that the dismemberment of Hungary through the Trianon peace dictate represents the greatest tragedy in the history of the Hungarians and the greatest shame for the European powers. He said that it was shamefully cynical that over a period of nearly one century, nobody has wanted to recognize the immoral and unreasonable character of the Trianon decision before the European public.

Prime Ministry Secretary János Lázár: “We want a Europe of nations in which borders do not divide, but connect, in which the system of national cooperation and cooperation among nations takes precedence over everything—nationality, national borders, politics, history and Trianon as well.”  Lázár said it takes precedence over the scandal of Trianon, which descended upon us Hungarians 90 years ago and for which Europe has forgotten to feel shame for nearly a century.  

Interior Ministry State Secretary Károly Kontrát: Hungary’s dismemberment by way of the Trianon peace treaty is the greatest shame of the European powers. The state secretary said that it was shamefully cynical” that over a period of nearly one century, nobody has wanted to recognize the immoral and unreasonable character of the Trianon decision before the European public. (Note that the quotes from State Secretary Kontrát and Deputy National Assembly Speaker Lezsák are almost identical, indicating that these officials were speaking according to a set of preconceived talking points.)

Keyword: shame (szégyen). The powers of Europe, now as part of the European Union, should be ashamed of themselves for forcing their will upon Hungary—explicitly in 1920, when they ratified the Treaty of Trianon that left millions of Hungarians living as minorities in the newly established and expanded states of Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia and Romania; and implicitly in 2013, when these powers are attempting to impose their notion of democracy on Hungary through the proposed adoption of the Tavares Report criticizing the Orbán government’s concentration of power and curtailment of civil liberties.  

The official castigation of the great powers of Europe in Hungary on the anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon is part of the Orbán government‘s quest to gain political legitimacy through the waging of a populist freedom fight (szabadságharc) against the country’s post-communist left-liberal (balliberális) economic and political élite and its foreign accomplices. Over the past couple of months, Prime Minister Orbán and high-ranking members of his government have regularly accused the European Union of unfair and imperious treatment of Hungary.

One thing the Orbán administration has failed to mention with regard to the European Union: in 2011, the last year for which there is final data, Hungary paid 835 million euros into the European Union budget and received 5.33 billion euros therefrom, making the country a net recipient of roughly four and a half billion euros that year (source in English). 

With enemies like that, who needs friends?  

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