Netanyahu attacks EU on open mic at V4 meeting in Budapest

Visiting Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was caught on a hot mic calling the EU’s policy towards Israel “crazy” during a meeting in Budapest with the prime ministers of Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Poland today.

The meeting with the V4 premiers was otherwise a closed session, but Netanyahu’s remarks were transmitted into headphones worn by reporters, as reported by Haaretz.

“The European Union is the only association of countries in the world that conditions the relations with Israel, that produces technology and every area, on political conditions,” said Netanyahu, who called this arrangement “actually crazy.”

Timmermans rejects Orbán’s claims that the EU is doing Soros’ bidding

Index is reporting that Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President of the European Commission, thinks that it is ridiculous to even have to respond to Prime Minister Orbán’s criticism of the EU as a stooge of billionaire George Soros, and that the organization wants to bring 1 million migrants into Europe annually. Orbán made his comments a week and a half ago during an interview on Hungarian public radio.

Timmermans denied that the European Union was “carrying out the plans of Mr. Soros or anyone else.”

Hungary hoping to benefit from Brexit

The Hungarian government is hoping to lure several important European Union institutions and large Western organizations from London to Hungary due to the fallout from Brexit, claims Hungary Minister of National Economy Mihály Varga.

Varga told Magyar Idők that Hungary has already submitted an application to host the EU’s bank supervising authority, and intends to compete for the Union’s pharmaceutical authority as well.

“There are a number of EU bodies with headquarters currently in London, and these authorities will certainly relocate to other countries,” stated Varga, noting that it would increase Hungary’s role and influence within the EU if one or more of them found a new home in Budapest.

Hungarian Politics podcast – László Andor, Katalin Halmai on Brexit

In this week’s Hungarian Politics podcast, we have a look at the so-called Brexit vote, the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union, and examine its possible effects on Hungary.

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Katalin Halmai, Brussels correspondent for Népszabadság

We have two excellent guests this week with extensive knowledge of the European Union and are able to break down this topic for us, although we spoke with both of them before Thursday’s historic vote.

Our first guest is Katalin Halmai, the Brussels correspondent for Hungarian daily Népszabadság. Halmai tells about the unusual advertisement taken out by the Hungarian government about the Brexit vote and what its purpose might have been, and also discusses some of the implications of the UK’s departure from the EU on Hungary.

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László Andor, former EU Commissioner from Hungary

We then speak with László Andor, who was EU Commissioner from Hungary between 2010-2014, and is now the head of the Department of Economic Policy at the Corvinus University of Budapest.

Prof. Andor gives us added insight into the likely repercussions of Britain exiting the European Union. We examine how this is likely to affect Hungarians living, working and studying in the UK, as well as the lasting economic impact on Hungary.

In addition, make sure you read this fascinating speech that Andor delivered in York, England just last week on “The Economic and Social Consequences of Brexit.”

You can follow Katalin Halmai on Twitter @eublogo, and László Andor on Twitter @LaszloAndorEU

And why not follow us as well on Twitter? We’re at @nelsonstevend Also, if you enjoy the show, please leave a review on iTunes.

You can listen to the show in the player at the top of this post, or download the file to your local drive. Thanks for listening!

Hungarian Politics podcast – Őszöd speech 10 years later

This week on the Hungarian Politics podcast, we commemorate the 10-year anniversary of Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány’s delivery of the infamous “Őszöd speech” to his fellow party members, following their successful re-election in 2006.

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Veteran foreign correspondent Kester Eddy

Longtime journalist and observer of political affairs Kester Eddy joins us to talk about the long shadow that the Őszöd speech has had over Hungarian politics during the past decade and its devastating effect on the Hungarian left wing. He also gives us his opinion on the political future of Ferenc Gyurcsány, who is still active in politics.

Politico Europe reporter Tara Palmeri pic
Politico Europe reporter Tara Palmeri

In the second half of the program, we are joined by Tara Palmeri, a journalist and columnist for Politico Europe. We discuss an article that Palmeri wrote on May 13, “‘Hungarian? Who, me?’: Confessions of Brussels Pariahs”. Palmeri’s article examines the difficulties that Hungary and its bureaucrats face in implementing the country’s interests in Brussels, primarily due to antipathy in the EU towards the current Hungarian government’s policies and positions.

Palmeri tells us about the background to this story, whether some EU members privately support the Hungarian position even though they may publicly lambast it, and finally offers some advice on how Hungary can improve its standing in Brussels. She also comments on the official Hungarian government’s response to the article by spokesperson Zoltán Kovács.

You can follow Tara Palmeri on Twitter @tarapalmeri.

Listen to the show in the player at the top of this post, or download the file to your local drive. Thanks for listening!

Hungarian Politics podcast – Benedek Jávor

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Benedek Jávor at the “Sustainable Energy Scenario for Hungary” Conference, 18 May 2016

Hungarian Politics welcomes Benedek Jávor, Member of the European Parliament from the Dialogue for Hungary opposition party (known by its Hungarian initials PM), for the inaugural edition of the program.

Jávor joins us for a discussion on the planned expansion of the nuclear power plant in Paks, Hungary by the Fidesz government, and tells us why he and his party are so adamantly opposed to these plans.

Among the topics discussed in this interview are:

  • the major problems and dangers he sees with the current agreement to expand Paks
  • how Hungary can maintain its energy needs without increasing nuclear power capacity
  • the four specific complaints that the European Union has lodged with the Hungarian government regarding Paks
  • how he plans to continue raising awareness of Paks within the EU and among the Hungarian public
  • the few areas where PM and the ruling Fidesz government are in agreement with each other

You can visit Benedek Jávor’s homepage, go to his official European Parliament page, or follow him on Twitter @javorbenedek

Listen to the interview above, or download the file to your local drive. Thanks for listening!