The New Era of Ethnic Chauvinists

BUDAPEST/BERLIN | | ungarn

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - Berlin's government advisors are expecting an intensification of tensions in Eastern Europe, following the Hungarian parliamentary electoral victory of the ethnic chauvinist Fidesz Party. An expert at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP) warns that should Hungary's next prime minister, Victor Orbán, implement his plans and attribute his country's citizenship to Hungarian-speaking citizens of neighboring countries, the relations, for example, between Hungary and Slovakia, will continue to deteriorate. In addition, having won a sixth of all the votes cast, the rightwing extremist Jobbik Party constitutes Budapest's third strongest parliamentary group, giving it the potential of establishing itself "as a long-term political factor." The landslide victory of the ethnic chauvinist rightwing is a result of a reinforced ethnic chauvinist policy being pushed, above all, from Germany throughout the EU. Ethnic chauvinist organizations in Hungary and within Hungarian-speaking minorities in the countries bordering on Hungary, have been receiving support from Germany for years. Budapest's historical revisionist demands are paralleled by Berlin's similar offensives. The German foreign minister has characterized as "excellent" Germany's relationship to Hungary, which will take over the presidency of the EU Council on January 1, 2011.

Two Thirds

Last Sunday's overwhelming electoral victory of the Hungarian ethnic chauvinist right-wingers is being commented around the world with great apprehension. The ethnic chauvinist Fidesz Party, led by former - and future - Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, received an absolute majority of 52.8 percent of the votes in the first round and could even attain a two thirds majority in runoff elections in two weeks. This would grant it absolute power, to change the constitution. The rightwing extremist Jobbik Party, whose 14.8 percent success in European elections in June 2009 had already caused a sensation, could rise to 16.7 percent. Altogether more than two thirds of the electorate voted for the ethnic chauvinist rightwing. The social democratic party MSZP fell to approximately 19.3 percent, the democratic, ecology oriented party "Lehet Más a Politika" (LMP, "Another Policy is Possible") received 7.4 percent.

Reincarnation of the Arrow Cross Party

Public attention remains concentrated mainly on the rightwing extremist Jobbik Party, which, with 30 seats in the next parliament, will be the third largest group. Jobbik represents the openly anti-Semitic, anti-democratic social sectors, seen as behind the growing violence, particularly aimed at Roma, but also against Jews, the left and liberals. At least eight Roma have been killed in racist attacks over the past few years. There is a growing degree of verbal harassment of Jews - or those perceived to be Jews. Even liberals see themselves exposed to a growing wave of violence. On various occasions liberal organizations have been forced to cancel public events as a result of rightwing extremist threats. Observers consider Jobbik "a sort of political reincarnation of the former Cross Arrow Party," the Hungarian supporter of the German Nazi Party.[1] The "Hungarian Guards," a militia in the Jobbik entourage - described by critics as "similar to the Nazi SA paramilitary organization"[2] - has become internationally known for its provocative parades through Roma settlements. Officially it is banned, but has reappeared under another name. "Jobbik has established structures throughout the country," says Kai-Olaf Lang, an expert on Eastern Europe at the German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP). He considers that the party "could establish itself as a long-term parliamentary factor."[3]

No More Inter-Party Disputes

The rightwing Fidesz Party, which will form the next Hungarian government, is also ethnic chauvinist oriented. Fidesz pursues a "greater Hungary" policy in respect to the Hungarian-speaking minorities in bordering countries.[4] As the cultural scholar Magdalena Marsovszky confirmed to this journal, the party ideology encompasses a structural anti-Semitism as well as an ethnic chauvinist mythology ("The Lessons of the Holy Hungarian Crown").[5] Critics consider that there is "no distinct line of ideological demarcation" between Jobbik and Fidesz.[6] According to Magdalena Marsovszky the Fidesz was even implicated in the founding of Jobbik.[7] For quite some time, Fidesz party leader, Viktor Orbán, has called his political adversaries "alien-like" and "alien-hearted". Reverting to old anti-democratic stereotypes, only recently in anticipation of his party's long prophesied electoral victory, he declared that "rather than dual lines of force, dividing the society with permanent debates on values, with negligible results," finally "a durable, great government party will be created," "a central line of force," that "will not lapse into constant dispute" but will be "capable" "of taking on the national cause."[8] Last Sunday, Orbán declared that with this election, "the Hungarians have drawn the line under an era that has been a failure."[9]

German Role Model Imitation

Within the European Union, Germany, in particular, is pushing the ethnic chauvinist policy, as implemented by the Fidesz Party. Budapest sees itself as the guardian power of the Hungarian-speaking minorities in its bordering countries, and interferes on their behalf in the domestic affairs of its neighbors. In so doing, it is imitating its role model, in Berlin, which also interferes in the domestic affairs of other countries on behalf of German-speaking minorities. According to the assessments of government advisors in Berlin, Victor Orbán's intention of according Hungarian citizenship to the Hungarian-speaking minorities of the neighboring countries will provoke new tensions in Eastern Europe, particularly in its relations with Slovakia.[10] All the same, Orbán is following Germany's lead, which over the past 20 years has granted German citizenship to hundreds of thousands of Poles and tens of thousands of Czechs of German origin.[11] Ethnic chauvinist organizations of the Hungarian-speaking minorities in Rumania, Serbia and Croatia have either full or associative membership in the Federal Union of European Nationalities (FUEN), a front organization of Berlin's foreign policy, which, with German government financing and support of the German-speaking minorities, as well as the Hungarian prime minister's offices, is promoting linguistic minorities in Europe and Asia from its headquarters in Flensburg, Germany.[12] In addition, Berlin and Budapest have been united since the 1990s in their opposition to the Beneš Decrees, with which Czechoslovakia, in the aftermath of World War II, took the consequences from the common German-Hungarian aggression in 1938.[13]

With German Help

Even Orbán's Fidesz Party has close ties to Germany, not just within the framework of their membership in the European Parliament's conservative European Peoples Party (EPP), in which the CDU and CSU have very strong standing. Incidentally, the EPP also has the parties of the Hungarian-speaking minorities of Slovakia (Strana mad'arskej Koalicie, SMK) and Rumania (Uniunea Democrata Maghiara din România, UDMR) as members, which already provides a cooperative framework for Fidesz. Fidesz is furthermore one of the cooperation partners of the CDU affiliated Konrad Adenauer Foundation. Both the Konrad Adenauer Foundation and the CSU affiliated Hanns Seidel Foundation were instrumental in the founding of the Fidesz' affiliated Foundation for a Civic Hungary (PMA) years ago. The foundation's inauguration took place at Budapest's Gyula Andrássy University, which also has close ties to official German administrations.[14]

The "Injustice" of the Peace Treaties

The radical accents in Hungarian ethnic chauvinist policies find parallels and rear guard support in the European hegemon's development. For example, the ethnic chauvinist Hungarian right-wingers, including the Fidesz Party, always place the Trianon Peace Treaties into question. This 1920 treaty set the new borders of Hungary, who, with Austria and Germany, had been one of the World War I aggressors in 1914. Today in the Federal Republic of Germany, the treaties ending World War I are also being publicly criticized. Last year, for the 90th Anniversary of the signing of the Versailles Peace Treaty, German mass media organs wrote that the treaty was in clear violation of the "right of self-determination of peoples". In fact Germany should have been "larger rather than smaller," since with the demise of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, "millions of Austrians and Sudeten-Germans sought to join the German Weimar Republic."[15]

Excellent

It will be the future Orbán government that will take over the presidency of the EU Council beginning January 1, 2011. With Budapest's support, Berlin would like to implement important foreign policy projects, especially its "Danube Strategy," which is supposed to prepare the way for further German expansion into Southeastern Europe.[16] The German foreign minister characterizes German-Hungarian relations as "excellent".[17] Under German hegemony of the EU, the Fidesz ethnic chauvinist policies can develop without impediment.

For information concerning the German-Hungarian relationship, see also: A Special Relationship, The German Ethnic Model (I), Ethnic Loyalty, Berlin's Poison-Pen Letter and The Danube Strategy.

[1], [2] Rudolf Ungváry: Die Auferstehung der Pfeilkreuzler in Ungarn; www.welt.de 09.04.2010
[3] Rechtsextreme schaffen Europas Pulverfass; www.sueddeutsche.de 12.04.2010
[4] see also "Transsilvanien ist unser"
[5] see also "Lebensraum Karpatenbecken"
[6] Rudolf Ungváry: Die Auferstehung der Pfeilkreuzler in Ungarn; www.welt.de 09.04.2010
[7] see also "Lebensraum Karpatenbecken"
[8] Rudolf Ungváry: Die Auferstehung der Pfeilkreuzler in Ungarn; www.welt.de 09.04.2010
[9] Ungarn holt den Volkstribun zurück; www.rp-online.de 12.04.2010
[10] Rechtsextreme schaffen Europas Pulverfass; www.sueddeutsche.de 12.04.2010
[11] see also Das deutsche Blutsmodell (II)
[12] For information concerning the FUEN and its founders, among them former Nazi racists, see also: Hintergrundbericht: Die Föderalistische Union Europäischer Volksgruppen, Freund und Kollege, Schwelende Konflikte and The Impact of Germans in the East
[13] see also Ein besonderes Verhältnis and The German Ethnic Model (I)
[14] see also Völkisch radikalisiert
[15] see also Unbearably Harsh and Unjust
[16] see also The German Ethnic Model (I)
[17] see also Die Spitze eines braunen Eisberges