Danube sector Regions

Events in Hungary. Tightening of "nuts" or protection of interests

The content of the question

The last days of the 2018 year in Hungary seemed rather turbulent. Since December 16 in Budapest, the protest movement against the Prime Minister's government, Victor Orban, has intensified due to the adoption of a law to increase the number of admissible overtime hours per year, which had already been dubbed as "slave". However, appeals from the Protestants were not heard, and the President of Hungary, nevertheless, signed a scandalous document. What to expect next?

Protests in Hungary intensified after the December 12 parliament passed amendments to labor legislation. The party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban - "Fides", has proposed to pass a law that provides for an increase in the maximum number of overtime hours per year from the current 250 to 400. Under the law, employers are guaranteed to be able to assign overtime to 250 hours per employee. At the same time, further increase of overtime work with the consent of the employee is possible. The government said changes would benefit those who want to make more money by working more hours. In turn, the parliament agreed with this thesis and supported the bill. However, trade unions opposed, because it is believed that through this law employers can, by setting low wages, "forcing" workers to agree to work more.

In fact, the point is that the authorities in chief with Viktor Orban try to solve the issue of labor shortages in this way. Hungarian business, which is supported by Fides, lacks more than 80 thousand workers in the construction, tourism, food and restaurant industries, high technologies and healthcare. This is due to the fact that, after the accession of Hungary to the European Union (2004 year), 80 thousands of Hungarian citizens traveled to other European countries, mainly to Germany and the United Kingdom. The situation has complicated the decline in fertility in Hungary over the past years. Skilled workers among ethnic Hungarians simply do not have enough. In fact, Orban does not want to use Muslim laborers, among whom there are many people of different professions, as it does in other European countries, and decided to go a simpler way, "obliging Hungarians to work more".

On the one hand, it is a decision that dictates reality, and the government's desire to solve urgent needs at the expense of internal resources, but on the other - such an approach does not suit part of the public. In fact, according to local experts, the adoption of a "slave law" is an example of "conurbation of Orban to the interests of the business, especially its environment." The premier is suspected of corruption in connection with the fact that the firm of the son-in-law Istvan Tirboas Elios Innovativ has won an order for the supply of street lamps for Hungarian cities, which cost exceeded the market by 56%. Purchase was spent on EU money. In addition, the construction of large infrastructure facilities involve oligarchs associated with the party Fides. For example, a contract for the construction of the stadium in the Felksut settlement (Orbana's home town) was received by 120 firms of businessman Lorentz Mesaros, who is considered to be the party's trustee.

In addition, it added oil to the fire of the protest movement on the last days of 2018 year, last week's adoption, and another law, which in fact involves the introduction of a parallel judicial system during the 12 months, whose competence will be extended to issues related to public administration, including electoral legislation, corruption, the right to strike. New courts will not be tied to the current judicial branch of government and will be subject to executive power, as the Minister of Justice of Hungary will be able to control the appointment and dismissal of judges. That is, the authorities create, in a way, a controlled system that allows it to exercise oversight over the courts.

All this, of course, stirred active citizens of Hungary to protest, because, according to their conviction, this is the onset of our freedom and the rights of citizens, as well as the modern principles of democracy. If allowed to happen, then the country can slip into authoritarianism and dictatorship of power.

At the same time, one should not exclude that the aggravation of the internal confrontation in the country is also due to the joint efforts of the Hungarian opposition and Brussels, which is not satisfied with the policy of Orban. After all, during the time of his stay in power, the party "Fides" introduced amendments to the Constitution of Hungary on strengthening the control of the executive power over the courts, mass media, banks. Orban deprived more than 100 religious groups of the status of "churches". He, in fact, through his businessmen connected with the Fides party took control of about 60% of the information resources of Hungary. Practicing the release of oppositionally-minded officials and journalists. There is a crackdown on non-governmental organizations that support migration. Well, the Central European University, sponsored by the American-Hungarian billionaire George Soros, has been forced to move from Budapest to Vienna under pressure from the 2019 year-round. Orban believes that Soros is guilty of destabilizing the situation in the country.

All this led to the fact that the Europeans began to accuse the Hungarian prime minister of authoritarianism, the violation and restriction of democratic rights and freedoms, the reluctance to take part in the European Commission on the resettlement of refugees and the like. In September 2018, most MPs voted for sanctions against Hungary, which could deprive the country of the right to vote in the European Council or funding from the organization's budget. And in November the President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, stated in general that Orban could not be considered a Christian democrat, since he endorsed xenophobia, homophobia, anti-Semitism, restricts media freedom, supports Putin and makes unfair attacks on Ukraine.

Consequences and prospects

Indeed, the demonstration at the end of December 2018 year in Hungary was not as numerous as expected by opposition forces to power. Approximately 15 thousand people took part in the protests. For comparison, the defections of disobedience to the results of the parliamentary elections in April 2018 year immitations against the Internet tax in the fall of 2014 year at least 100 thousand citizens attended ....

In addition, despite the authoritarianism of Orban and his conservative party "Fides", they arrange a significant number of Hungarians. In the last parliamentary elections in April 2018, half of the voters voted for Fides, while for the socialists who took part in the protests, - 19%, and green - 7. Orban managed to unite the Hungarian society around the threat of a migration crisis. His rhetoric on the prevention of Muslim refugees in Hungary won in the war for supporting the Hungarian electorate.

As a result, Protestants failed to press the authorities, and the President of Hungary Janos Ader 20 December 2018 signed a reform of labor legislation. The Hungarian president explained his decision to the effect that changes to the law "do not violate the Constitution". In addition, he said, the new rules of overtime work "do not exaggerate the norm of other European countries." In particular, the President noted that in the United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland and the Czech Republic, the number of overtime hours allowed was the same or higher than in Hungary.

Ultimately, the situation today looks like this. On the one hand, the authorities are trying to defend the national interests of the country through the provision of migrants to their own labor market and increasing the possibility of using their own internal human resource, and on the other actively conducts political measures aimed at strengthening their powers.

However, increasing the pressure on the population traditionally leads to an increase in internal resistance among the population. It is not possible to constantly use the "tricks" for migrants and "Soros's influence". Early or late, the Hungarian population may, due to the fact that its demands do not hear, radicalize and already carry out more aggressive actions against the authorities. Of course, it is unlikely that on the eve of the Christmas holidays there will be some kind of rioting, but after the people are aware of previous events and is not excluded the next increase in voltage.

Nevertheless, there is definitely only one thing, the Fides party is dominated by the Hungarian political arena, the country will have a gradual "twist of the nuts" and the accumulation of defects in favor of the current political elite in the first place with V. Orban. How much this "success" will depend entirely on the population. However, given the level of civil society development in the country, we can say that the upcoming 2019 year will be sufficiently saturated with various events that may have totally unpredictable consequences.