Expat interest in politics in Hungary

Hello everyone,

As an expat, your day-to-day life in Hungary is impacted by decision-making at the political level in your host country as well as in your country of origin. We would like to know how involved you think expats should be in the political day-to-day of either their host or home country?

Can expats vote during elections which take place in their country of origin? Can you do so online or through embassies/consulates in Hungary?

What is the administrative process which has been set up in Hungary to enable expats to vote in their country of origin?

To which extent should political life in Hungary include expats and their concerns? Should they be more active as a community to make their voices heard?

Are there any precautionary measures to observe during election period in your host country? Any local prohibitions?

Do you keep up with politics in Hungary?

Thanks for sharing your experience.

Bhavna

EU Citizens who are residents in Hungary can vote in local elections (but not national elections). They should of course do so if they can. As the local governments have a lot of impact on their daily life. I know a local town near were I live that has many DE and AT citizens and they certainly can affect local election results if they vote  -- and they do vote, and vote especially for those willing to translate (competently*) their election pamphlets to German.

Non-EU citizens may not be able to vote in local elections. It depends on bilateral agreements.

Otherwise, politics is a very, very nasty endeavor. I can not stress this enough. I know. From personal experience. My wife was the local mayor and ran for Parliament. What was said about her in campaigns and when she was mayor, was beyond belief disgusting. Some people get really mentally sick when it comes to politics.

* It is Hungary, so not all translators are competent.

I think we already discuss issues of recent and current times in these forums.

It is possible for EU citizens to hold political office in some countries.  Some UK citizens are sometimes mayors of Spanish towns.   We also have German born politicians in the UK parliament.   Not really so unusual.

(side note: BoJo is also a lapsed American and he's PM back there.  Even Churchill was an American).

The most frustrating thing for me is the level of ignorance about corruption stemming from Orban / Fidesz control of the media. Search for Orban + corruption in Hungarian and you get almost nothing except whimsical statements about how Orban is fighting corruption and dreaming about a Hungarian Renaissance. Google in English and the results overflow with corruption investigations and penalties.
Most recently, Hungary chose to pay a 10% flat penalty fee levied for misappropriation of EU funds rather than pursue corrective actions or allow a more thorough audit. That means that Hungarians pay twice -- once to the corrupt Friends of Orban who stole the money, and their own taxes will pay the 500 billion forint fine. (Yes, Hungary voluntarily chose to pay 500 BILLION forints rather than submit to an audit or showing proof of non-corruption).

When asked about politics, I find Hungarians are rather complacent with answers such as:
- Corruption is everywhere, there is nothing we can do about it
- All politicians steal
- We have no alternatives, the others are worse
- You can't believe what foreigners write about Hungarians, they are biased and always disliked us
- The EU is just penalizing us for not accepting migrants

https://hungarytoday.hu/govt-concedes-t … -eu-funds/

For this reason, I stay away from politics because I find them to be every bit as dense and unreasonable as Americans who refute climate change or many who vote for Trump. There are no facts that will sway them.  The only difference for Hungary is that most if not all dissenting articles are blocked or censored in some way so that the information never reaches the passive public's ears.

Vicces1 :

The most frustrating thing for me is the level of ignorance about corruption stemming from Orban / Fidesz control of the media. Search for Orban + corruption in Hungarian and you get almost nothing except whimsical statements about how Orban is fighting corruption and dreaming about a Hungarian Renaissance. Google in English and the results overflow with corruption investigations and penalties.
Most recently, Hungary chose to pay a 10% flat penalty fee levied for misappropriation of EU funds rather than pursue corrective actions or allow a more thorough audit. That means that Hungarians pay twice -- once to the corrupt Friends of Orban who stole the money, and their own taxes will pay the 500 billion forint fine. (Yes, Hungary voluntarily chose to pay 500 BILLION forints rather than submit to an audit or showing proof of non-corruption).

When asked about politics, I find Hungarians are rather complacent with answers such as:
- Corruption is everywhere, there is nothing we can do about it
- All politicians steal
- We have no alternatives, the others are worse
- You can't believe what foreigners write about Hungarians, they are biased and always disliked us
- The EU is just penalizing us for not accepting migrants

https://hungarytoday.hu/govt-concedes-t … -eu-funds/

For this reason, I stay away from politics because I find them to be every bit as dense and unreasonable as Americans who refute climate change or many who vote for Trump. There are no facts that will sway them.  The only difference for Hungary is that most if not all dissenting articles are blocked or censored in some way so that the information never reaches the passive public's ears.

So much to agree with there.   What the EU has done is essentially to agree to a continuation of less transparency.   It's essentially endorsing and financing the OV illiberal state.  The EU should have insisted on transparency rather than go for the cash as there's nothing quite like sunlight as a disinfectant.  As for Google, Facebook etc.,  their search results are based upon who is paying.   

I'm wondering when Radio Free Hungary is going to start up.

Vicces1 :

Most recently, Hungary chose to pay a 10% flat penalty fee levied for misappropriation of EU funds rather than pursue corrective actions or allow a more thorough audit. That means that Hungarians pay twice -- once to the corrupt Friends of Orban who stole the money, and their own taxes will pay the 500 billion forint fine. (Yes, Hungary voluntarily chose to pay 500 BILLION forints rather than submit to an audit or showing proof of non-corruption).

https://hvg.hu/gazdasag/20191112_Tobb_s … z_EUpenzek

Left wing economic portal: The "fine" is a simply the withdrawal of the funds for the questionable projects. The funds are available for other projects though.

Vicces1 :

For this reason, I stay away from politics because I find them to be every bit as dense and unreasonable as Americans who refute climate change or many who vote for Trump.

The problem with people believing unconditionally in climate change is the FACT that they dont understand what they believe in, much like religion.

Humanity-induced global warming is an existing, and artificial phenomenon, which should be combated and minimized. Climate change however is natural, and is used as fearmongering.

http://www.biocab.org/Geological_TS_SL_and_CO2.jpg

We are currently in an ice age, historically speaking. The warming of the climate is part of a natural, multi-million year long cycle. And humanity can do nothing about it, the climate will get warmer.

Rawlee :

....

We are currently in an ice age, historically speaking. The warming of the climate is part of a natural, multi-million year long cycle. And humanity can do nothing about it, the climate will get warmer.

Hmmm....in which basket should we put our eggs?  Really it's very difficult......

On the one hand there's a naive OV apologist running an e-commerce site for handbags and on the other hand there's the UN climate specialists  who apparently know nothing at all.

It's a tough one!

fluffy2560 :
Rawlee :

....

We are currently in an ice age, historically speaking. The warming of the climate is part of a natural, multi-million year long cycle. And humanity can do nothing about it, the climate will get warmer.

Hmmm....in which basket should we put our eggs?  Really it's very difficult......

On the one hand there's a naive OV apologist running an e-commerce site for handbags and on the other hand there's the UN climate specialists  who apparently know nothing at all.

It's a tough one!

I just wrote that global warming in man-made, and then you mock me. You mock me, because I have different values and different worldview than you. And for you, it is a sin that is untolerable. Liberal tyranny is coming...and these are the people who value freedom of thought.

You do know that the "climate catastrope" is just fearmongering, and designed to radicalize simple minded people? Because the real problem is the extinction of bees. And not a single ecologist, left wing activist or politician care about it. But unlike climate change, the extinction of bees can kill off humanity.

Rawlee :

....
I just wrote that global warming in man-made, and then you mock me. You mock me, because I have different values and different worldview than you. And for you, it is a sin that is untolerable. Liberal tyranny is coming...and these are the people who value freedom of thought.

Well, duh....and your point is?

If you believe in democracy (do you?) opposing view deserves to be  challenged.   Just because I don't share your views does not make me a tyrant.  And besides, liberal tyranny is an oxymoron.   With illiberal fascism, open debate would not take place.  Like I said naive. 

Apart from being TLDR, you actually said at the end it was part of a natural cycle and therefore that's not man-made.  So are you agreeing then or not?

Rawlee :

....
You do know that the "climate catastrope" is just fearmongering, and designed to radicalize simple minded people? Because the real problem is the extinction of bees. And not a single ecologist, left wing activist or politician care about it. But unlike climate change, the extinction of bees can kill off humanity.

Ok, so this is a a straw man argument.  One cannot redirect or refute climate change by introducing or diverting using bees in the discussion.    To put together a reasoned discussion, you need to talk about if climate change is real or not and then it should move on to the effects of climate change as evidenced by changes in the bee population.  So, are you agreeing or not that climate change is real?

But while I'm here, I happen to know something about bees as my dear old Dad was apiarist (bee keeper).  Back when he was lending out his hives to farmers, the issue became verroa a tiny parasitic mite which introduced viruses into the bee.   The "medicine" for it is now I believe ineffective.  For sure bees do not like climate change but it depends where they come from.  Some bees are invasive species now in Europe - South American angry bees for example. Some bees are immune to the verroa pest.   You're probably talking about CCD (Colony Collapse Disorder) which is linked to types of pesticides.   That's nothing to do with climate change.

It seems Rawlee has provided direct evidence for my own statements.

Vicces1 :

It seems Rawlee has provided direct evidence for my own statements.

Yup, that's entirely true. 

Usually younger people are left leaning over the injustices in the world, not right wing apologists.   

The descriptor  "illiberal" would not allow all views and contributions so the naive contributor would seek to stop all dissent and discussion so there would be no forum for putting forward an alternative.       There's also the  logical fallacies put forward.

"A young man who isn’t a socialist hasn’t got a heart; an old man who is a socialist hasn’t got a head".

Rawlee :

Because the real problem is the extinction of bees. And not a single ecologist ... snip... care about it.

As someone who has two degrees in Ecology, this has got to be one of the most ignorant comments I have ever seen. Concerns about declining bees has been a topic of concern for a long time among Ecologists. As this decade old article shows:

https://www.researchgate.net/publicatio … ommunities

My full reply moved to Absolutely Anything Else. Topic #4743

This TV report from ZDF covers how EU funds are (mis-)spent. 

Hungary runs from about time 07.20 to 17.10.   It's in German.   

ZDF Report on EU funds

Nothing really we haven't heard before but it made the news - see Hungarian Times.

I wonder how the EU will combat this obvious corruption.
We mentioned elsewhere that Hungary just paid a fine of 500 billion forints rather than open its books to the EU auditors.  For me, that's like passing GO in Monopoly and landing on Property Tax, then just handing over the $200. No need to look into finances, we already know this is the less expensive option!
With Brexit, British contributory funds are out, and then with the addition of some poorer countries, and finally the potential exit of Fidesz from the EPP.... There is no doubt in my mind that the average Hungarian will suffer and Fidesz will scapegoat the EU....

Vicces1 :

...
With Brexit, British contributory funds are out, and then with the addition of some poorer countries, and finally the potential exit of Fidesz from the EPP.... There is no doubt in my mind that the average Hungarian will suffer and Fidesz will scapegoat the EU....

According to Mrs Fluffy, OV is working on the gypsies as the next target.  These are plays to the domestic older voter who fears everything and wants to timewarp to some place where nothing will change whatsoever.   

There's some sort of petition going around on FB (possibly fake) to have gypsies from one particular village deported somewhere.  Doesn't say where but this is the kind of behaviour history has seen before and that apparently no-one in "educated" Hungary has any vague knowledge of or chooses to ignore.  Well, at the risk of Godwin (and others), "Befehl ist befehl".

Interesting test one might find worth experimenting.  Ask anyone say, over 50, if they know Stalin was in league with Hitler in the early WW2 period (Molotov-von Ribbentrop pact).  Hardly anyone I know, educated in HU during the communist period seems to know that.

O1G
(Always learning new things here!)

Vicces1 :

O1G
(Always learning new things here!)

Yup, I know that one!

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