Everything that Serves Germany

BUDAPEST/BERLIN | | ungarn

BUDAPEST/BERLIN (Own report) - Hungary will exercise its upcoming EU council presidency, starting at the beginning of 2011, in the service of Berlin's foreign policy. This was announced by the Hungarian Foreign Minister after talks with his German counterpart. "As council president" his country will "support everything that serves Germany," said János Martonyi last week during his visit to the German capital. Budapest's duties in the first half of 2011 include the initiation of a strategy for expanding German business to Southeast Europe (Danube Strategy), as well as intensify the debate on "ethnic minority rights" along the lines of the German model, which Hungary is promoting in direct coordination with the "Sudeten German Homeland Association". Observers are warning that Budapest is not only instituting an ethnic oriented foreign policy, it is also bringing about an ethnic-chauvinist reorientation of domestic policy - including the reversion to ethnic-mythical 19th century "Lebensraum" (living space) ideologies. According to them, Hungary, one of Germany's closest allies in the EU, is proceeding to create an "authoritarian order".

Key Partner

Hungary will carry out its upcoming EU council presidency in the service of Berlin's foreign policy. Hungary's Foreign Minister, János Martonyi made this announcement last week after talks with his German counterpart, Guido Westerwelle. The talks had focused on Hungary's EU presidency, during the first six months of 2011. Since 2007, the council presidency has basically been administered as "trio presidencies," each time prepared by three countries, which succeed each other in office. But Germany is said to be "a key partner for Hungary" explained Martonyi, "a powerful and successful Germany" is also "vital for a powerful Europe." Therefore Budapest will not only coordinate its activities "as council president" with its "trio partners" Spain and Belgium, but particularly "support everything that serves Germany."[1]

Danube Strategy

During its EU council presidency, one of Hungary's main points of focus will be the so-called Danube Strategy. For years, numerous German institutions have been elaborating the imposition of the expansion of German businesses to the countries along the Danube. (german-foreign-policy.com reported.[2]) "Export-oriented medium-sized enterprises from Germany and Austria," explains a position paper of the Chamber of Industry and Commerce of the city of Ulm, "see the Danube region as a strategic market to be further developed."[3] These German preparations have been written into EU planning. The EU Commission wants to pass a resolution today that is to be adapted into official EU strategy during Hungary's EU council presidency. Thereafter it will only be a matter of putting the strategy into practice.

Hungary and Sudeten Germans

The spokesperson for the "Sudeten German ethnic minority" and CSU European parliamentarian, Bernd Posselt, visited Budapest a few days ago in preparation for the Hungarian EU council presidency. Posselt held talks in the capital, not only "with leading personalities of the Hungarian foreign ministry" but, according to the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung", met for "comprehensive talks" also Hungarian President, Pál Schmitt. "Ethnic groups and minority rights" also were among the topics discussed; "topics where Hungary and Sudeten Germans have many interests in common."[4] Budapest, like the "Sudeten Germans" and the German government, are seeking the revocation of the Beneš Decrees, which regulated the resettlement of Germans and Hungarians from Czechoslovakia in the immediate aftermath of World War II. As reported by the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung", Posselt was received by Schmitt in a chamber of the noble Sándor Palace, "adorned with a painting of Empress and Queen Maria Theresia" - "as a reminder of the common histories shared by Hungary and the Sudeten Germans during the Habsburg Monarchy." Following the suppression of the Hungarian liberation struggle, the Sándor Palace was used by the Hungarian prime minister, who was unable to break Hungary's dependence on Vienna, until the demise of the Habsburg Empire. The building is today considered "a particular expression of Hungary's regained independence, (...) which it is supposed to symbolize from now on," according to the "Sudetendeutsche Zeitung".

Hungarians Abroad

The current Hungarian government, which came to power last spring, initiated measures, in the summer, along the lines of the German influenced "ethnic minorities" policy creating strong tension with the neighboring countries. A new law stipulating that citizens, particularly those of Slovakia, Rumania and Serbia, who have at least one Hungarian ancestor (the so-called Hungarians Abroad) are eligible for Hungarian citizenship. This has provoked sharp protests, particularly in Slovakia. Nearly one out of ten Slovaks speaks Hungarian as the mother language and could now become citizens of Hungary. With this new citizenship law, Budapest is emulating the German model. This was how Berlin made German citizens of 200,000 Poles.[5]

Ethnic Mythical "Lebensraum" Ideology

Hungary's new government, which cooperates closely with Berlin, is also coming under strong criticism because of its ethnic-chauvinist domestic policy. Next year, during Hungary's incumbency as EU council president, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, whose party won more than a two-thirds majority in the national parliament, intends to enact a new constitution. According to reports, it will not only stipulate that the "Hungarian population" is comprised of the ethnic unity of the national population and the so-called Hungarians abroad. Orbán also plans a mythical reference to the "Holy Hungarian Crown," a reference categorized by critical cultural scholars, as a 19th Century "ethnic-chauvinist mythical 'lebensraum' [living space] ideology."[6] Observers note that Orbán propagates "ethnic-chauvinist, anti-capitalist notions, targeting the domestic oligarchy and foreign speculators and referring to the protection of the 'hardworking Hungarians'" - unmistakable anti-Semitic allusions.[7] Hungary, it is said, is taking a direct route "toward becoming an authoritarian order."

"New Vitality"

The " Hungarian parliament's Political Declaration Number 1/2010 on national cooperation" [8] passed June 16, 2010, shortly after the parliament had been constituted is exemplary for how the Orbán government, whose foreign minister places its EU council presidency at Germany's disposal, sees itself. It reads: "at the end of the first decade of the 21st Century" - with the new government taking office - "Hungary has reconquered the right and the capacity for self-determination." The "Hungarian nation" has "regained its vitality" over the years and, with the election of Orbán's party, created a "system of national cooperation" on the basis of the Hungarian state: "work, home, family, health and order will constitute the main pillars of our common future." German-foreign-policy.com documents this "Political Declaration", which clearly shows the ethnic-chauvinist domestic configuration of Hungary, one of the Federal Republic of Germany's closest allies in the EU - and at the same time, the governing options developed on Europe's periphery, which, perspectively, could be transmitted to the EU Center. Please click here.

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

[1] Treffen der Außenminister Deutschland-Ungarn in Berlin; www.pesterlloyd.net 05.11.2010
[2] see also From the Black Forest to the Black Sea, The Danube Strategy and Mama Duna
[3] Stellungnahme zur EU-Strategie für den Donauraum; www.ulm.ihk24.de. Auszüge finden Sie hier: Der Donauraum
[4] Gemeinsame Anliegen und Interessen; Sudetendeutsche Zeitung 05.11.2010
[5] see also Völkisch radikalisiert
[6] see also "Lebensraum Karpatenbecken"
[7] Paul Lendvai: Marsch in den Führerstaat; Die Welt 16.10.2010
[8] see also National Cooperation