Back to top
Submitted by JP on Wed, 04/20/2022 - 21:00
The new book "Hajrá. Hungary 2010-2022 "

On Thursday, April 21 at 1 p.m., at Wacław Felczak Institute in Warsaw, there will be a presentation of a scientific study on contemporary Hungary: "Hajrá. Hungary 2010-2022 ". It will be attended by special guests from Hungary: Századvég Foundation vice-president Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa and foreign affairs director Csaba Faragó.

- The publication of the book "Hajrá" is a very important event. Especially at the time of a clear reevaluation of Polish-Hungarian relations and a heated discussion about the policy pursued by the authorities in Budapest, this publication helps to better understand the specificity of Viktor Orbán's rule. There are many valuable materials in the book. Lucie Sulovska's text "Thirty Years of New Hungary" brings Orbán's path to power closer. The voice of analysts such as Anton Bendarsevszkij, as well as an interview with the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Péter Szijjártó, are also very valuable, as they enable a better understanding of Hungarian-Russian relations, which are currently causing so much controversy in Poland - says Antoni Opaliński, historian, journalist and radio journalist, author of the program "Świat w enlargement" broadcast on Polskie Radio 24 in a brief interview with the

Századvég Center for Public Knowledge Foundation was established almost thirty years ago as the intellectual product of young generations taking an active role in the change of regime in Hungary. The foundation, which initially undertook the publishing of newspapers, books and education, primarily sought to present the values of Hungarian progression and the patterns of European development. The founding generation played an important role in laying the foundations for a democratic Hungarian rule of law and a market based economy. 
To this day Századvég Foundation - also known as Hungary’s first think tank after the change of regime - is the largest conservative knowledge center not just in Hungary, but in Central Europe too. In addition to its extensive scientific work, the foundation also has a group of political analysts who follow current events on a daily basis, whose members on all public platforms take part in the discussion and anticipation of public processes of both domestic and international relevance. Also, Századvég Foundation provides ongoing or ad hoc consultation and advocacy on a wide range of policy issues to help the government make complex decisions in the most efficient and appropriate way possible. 

This wide-ranging political knowledge capital thus enabled the institution to lay out not only targeted but also comprehensive strategic political support for the Hungarian Prime Minister on key issues that all have serious domestic and foreign policy implications. Board of Trustees: Gábor Fűrész, Chairman; Zsolt Barthel-Rúzsa, Vice Chairman; Tamás Görgényi, Member; Áron Hidvégi, Member (For more information open the attached PDF file).

"Hajrá. Hungary 2010-2022". An introduction by Maciej Szymanowski 

The electoral victory of the right-wing coalition of Fidesz and the Hungarian Democratic Forum in 2002 had a bitter aftertaste. The Hungarians highly appreciated the four years of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán's rule, but 49% of the seats won in the parliamentary elections meant in practice a return to the opposition benches. For the next eight years, the helm of government fell into the hands of liberal-leftist forces, led by the post-communist Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZMP). These were not the best years for Hungary. Although the media favoring the authorities painted beautiful pictures of the modernizing country - a member of the elite club of European Union countries, at the same time the largest energy sector plants, water supply networks and other basic infrastructure were sold out. Investments were becoming more and more expensive and less and less to the usual standards, which was symbolized by the endless construction of the fourth metro line in Budapest and the highway to Szeged, which turned out to be ten centimeters narrower than planned.

The state debt at that time breaks first 60% and then 70% of the level of gross domestic product. There is a shortage of people willing to buy government bonds. The forint is devaluing, which puts tens of thousands of families - owners of mortgage loans denominated in foreign currencies - on the verge of bankruptcy. Public sector workers like doctors, teachers and policemen have to be content with lower salaries. After all, the author of the famous words: "we lied in the morning, at noon and in the evening (...), bust ... everything we could" - Ferenc Gyurcsány, finally leaves the post of prime minister, and the International Monetary Fund loan (twenty billion euros) helps the Cabinet to survive another prime minister - Gordon Bajnai, to the regular parliamentary elections in 2010, in which vox populi turns out to be unequivocal. Fidesz, in alliance with the Christian Democratic People's Party (KDNP), has as much as 68% of seats in the National Assembly. It gains a constitutional majority, while the MSZMP, which has been ruling for most of the years of transformation, suffers a historic defeat (59 seats in the 386-person National Assembly), and its long-term coalition partner - the liberal Union of Free Democrats (SzDSz), does not exceed 5% of the electoral threshold at all .

One can say anything about the situation after the 2010 parliamentary elections, but certainly not that the policy of "hot tap water" won. As part of immediate anti-crisis measures, the government abolished private pension funds in order to be able to ensure the financial liquidity of the state. A tax reduction and a flat income tax (16%) were introduced. The so-called alternative taxes, the most famous of which was the tax levied on large-format stores, but the new levies also applied to financial operations, banks, telecommunications companies, and the media. As part of the government's Szécheny Plan, a mechanism has been created for EU funds to generate additional financial resources from the private sector and local governments. After the prices of gas (fourteen) and electricity (six) repeatedly increased between 2002 and 2010, the prices of these energy commodities were reduced by about a fifth. The transfer of funds to families with children has started. Foreign participation in the banking sector in Hungary was limited. Job creation has been stimulated in various ways to bring about a noticeable increase in the number of people employed in the country, which has been a great success (an increase from 55% to the current 70% of the working population in the adult population of the country).

These and many other measures to consolidate the public finances of the state, undertaken by the Hungarian government immediately after the 2010 elections were won, brought such results that already in 2012 Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, in a letter addressed to the President of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) Christine Lagarde, could write : “The IMF's list of demands is long and not in line with our nation's interests. We do not intend to make deep budget cuts, especially in education, healthcare and public transport. We will not reduce family benefits, increase income tax and property tax, or reduce them pensions, increase the retirement age. Nobody will dictate to us what and when to privatize. " To further support the pronunciation of these words, Hungary then repaid the entire debt to the IMF and ... terminated the lease agreement for the Budapest branch of the fund.

Radical changes did not spare other areas of life as well. Fidesz reorganized the central administration of the state, reducing the number of ministries by almost a half (from fourteen to eight) and the number of deputies sitting in parliament: from 386 to 199. The number of deputy ministers who, within ministries, not so much coordinated the work of individual, "assigned" departments was also reduced , but supervised the work of task groups formed from them, created depending on the needs. Moreover, the number of people employed in the state apparatus was reduced, though only by a few percent. However, giving up the original idea of moving selected ministries to non-capital cities, which would foster greater competition and the replacement of clerks.

In the field of energy, the Fidesz government blocked the takeover of the national oil company Magyar Olaj (MOL) by the Russian Surgutneftegaz, after a long, nearly two-year legal battle, buying back 21% of MOL shares from the Russian company. Further, for a price of EUR 870 million, the government bought back the Hungarian assets of the German E.ON in 2013, additionally launching a program of taking over shares of other foreign energy companies (GDF Suez, Rhein-Westfalen Energy Plant RWE, ENI).

The Act on media services and mass media, adopted by the parliament in December 2010, prevented the emergence of media monopolies. It also introduced restrictions on the emission of advertisements (practically a total ban on advertising aimed at children) and subliminal advertising. In addition, it established minimum quotas for the emissions of programs produced in Hungary and the EU. In the case of television - it was respectively: 30% and 50% of the airtime, which benefited domestic creators and producers. A slightly later adjustment of the tax on advertising profits made it difficult for media giants such as RTL television to underestimate the value of their income, which was the usual practice until now.

The decommunization, which had been abandoned by the predecessors, was returned to. Even during the earlier rule of the right wing in Hungary (1998–2002), April 16 was declared the Day of Remembrance for the Victims of the Holocaust. The impressive Museum of Nazism and Communism Terror Háza (House of Terror), headed by the head of advisers to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, prof. Mária Schmidt. After Fidesz came back to power, Terror Háza branches in selected provincial cities, such as Hódmezővásárhely, began to be put into operation, with a rich educational program for schools. The victims of the German occupation 1944–1945 were commemorated in the form of a monument unveiled in Budapest. New museums were opened devoted to the street massacres carried out by the communists during the 1956 uprising and the history of the constitution and Hungarian parliamentarism. An equivalent of the Institute of National Remembrance - the NEB Committee of National Remembrance was also established. It's not everything. As if on the occasion of the fight against the addiction of smoking among young people, the license to sell cigarettes by traffic kiosks was withdrawn. The important thing is that until 1989, traffic kiosks were usually in the hands of officers leaving the service of the Hungarian Security, as a specific form of remuneration and an extra addition to the pension, and was customarily inherited by departmental families.

In the years 2010–2015, the National Assembly adopted nearly nine hundred laws, including the basic law - the Constitution. Beginning with the words "God, bless the Hungarians", and with an overwhelming preamble, the 2011 constitution was based on the classic for the republic, the tripartite division of power and a parliamentary-cabinet system with a president elected by the parliament with not very broad prerogatives, although with the possibility of dissolving the parliament in the event of failure to pass the budget act.

In the parliamentary elections held in April 2014, Fidesz again secured a two-thirds majority in the National Assembly, and a few months later, with an unprecedented result, ended local elections, taking power in all provinces and in nineteen of the twenty largest cities in Hungary, including in Budapest - until now a stronghold of post-communists and the Hungarian left. However, Prime Minister Orbán saw this not so much as a social gesture of recognition for the four years of his rule, but as a legitimation to continue reforms and changes. “Thanks to courage, work and perseverance, the Hungarians managed to leave the basement. Now our task is to move our country in the European Union to a higher floor. "

Taking part in the conference entitled "What Europe We Want" on 7 May 2014, alongside people such as Chancellor Angela Merkel, President and future President of the European Commission José Manuel Barroso and Martin Schulz, and Prime Minister David Cameron, he characterized the policy of his government: “There is no consent to ignore human attachment to the national community; There is no consent to treat religion only as religion, and not as an integral part of culture, without which our civilization cannot exist; The time of blindly copying Western patterns in Hungary is definitely over. The financial crisis of 2008 clearly showed the weaknesses of our transformation, bringing the Hungarian economy to its knees. It is simply impossible to continue the way we are. "

The year 2014 is important for one more reason: the appearance of the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Affairs - and the order of the words used in the name is by no means accidental. Hungary decided to focus on the economization of foreign policy, the aim of which was to balance the trade within the EU (similarly to Poland, mainly with Germany). The so-called the policy of opening to the East, i.e. strengthening trade contacts with such different countries as: China, Japan, South Korea, Russia, Turkey, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan. On this occasion, they did not hesitate to even use cultural arguments. Although Hungarians are strongly aware of belonging to Western culture and the role they have played over the centuries as the bulwark of Christianity, there is also a sense of being a non-Indo-European people, a people from the East (Kelet népe), which they also eagerly referred to in the 19th and 20th centuries. Hungarian conservatives. What is no less important in the discussed context, the awareness of the Eastern origin of Hungarians is not only in the Hungarian consciousness. When in December 2013, during his official visit to Istanbul, Prime Minister Orbán said the words "we are Turks too", it sounded strange only to Polish ears. Not for President Recep T. Erdoğan. Hence, he undertook the activities of the Hungarian prime minister in accordance with the principles of the Eastern Protocol.

The export of Hungarian goods outside the EU in the following years actually started to grow, although in general the strong dependence on EU markets remained its hallmark. Within its framework, it is certainly worth noting that in the spring of 2021 the symbolic limit of exports of goods to the Visegrad Group countries exceeded EUR 10 billion per month, with a generally well-balanced export-import balance. With a bit of simplification, it can be said that the policy of opening to the east, at least so far, has primarily resulted in a marked increase in the level of investment, although not from large countries such as China or Russia, but from smaller Asian developing countries (Vietnam). and the so-called Asian tigers (South Korea, Indonesia, Malaysia). In recent years, reaching a double annual advantage over investments from Western countries (EU + USA and Canada), which in one of his articles, Professor Bogdan Góralczyk aptly put it in the statement: Hungary looks to the East - mainly the Far, slightly ironically referring to those who - be it because of their own ignorance or perceiving reality through strong ideological glasses - for years have been eagerly trying to convince Poles that opening to the East = Kremlin's policy.

Without going into further details of the issue in the introduction, ignoring some economic fluctuations in 2015 and 2020 (pandemic), it can be concluded that there would not be a constant high - temporarily very high (2021: + 7% GDP) - growth of the Hungarian domestic product in the last decade, if not for the investments coming from East Asia and intensively developed exports to the Visegrad and non-European markets. On Hungarian foreign policy, including its commercial, political and defense dimensions; on the active involvement of Budapest in the Visegrad and Three Seas cooperation, as well as on the efforts made to prevent the European Union's door from being permanently slammed in front of Serbia and other Balkan states that aspire to membership, described in detail in their articles by Dr. Dávid Szabó and Anton Bendarsevszkij . Especially during the "Conference on the Future of Europe", which is currently taking place at the initiative of the highest EU bodies, at this point it would be good to only briefly present the Hungarian point of view in the discussed aspect. They were presented in person by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán in the form of seven specific theses in June 2021 at a conference devoted to the Hungarian transformation and the 30th anniversary of independent Hungary. “Our first thesis is that we are now moving towards an imperial European Union. Instead of a Europe of nations, a European superstate is being built in Brussels, for which nobody has given a mandate to anyone. There is no European demos, but there are nations. And without demos, you can't build democracy, so building a Brussels empire inevitably leads to a lack of democracy. What we want is something completely different. We want democracy of democratic states, based on the peoples of Europe. Let us not be afraid to say: we, the democrats on the national ground, stand against the empire builders, who are in fact opponents of democracy as well. " And then further theses were expressed and characterized:

2) “Today Brussels is ruled by those who perceive integration not as a tool but as a goal. An end in itself. Therefore, they want to obscure any national interests and traditional values. (…) Therefore, in the opinion of the Hungarian government, the phrase "an ever closer union" should be removed from the Treaty on European Union at the first convenient occasion.

3) "from its position as the politically impartial guardian of the treaties, the Commission [European] has been transformed into a political body. (...), decisions on the rule of law in the Member States of the Union. (…) Classifies democratically elected governments of member states on the basis of commissioned data and opinions, and wants to punish those who do not like them. It is an abuse of power, power vested in the Commission by the Member States."

4) "The idea of ​​the Union is based on the simple assumption that the Member States together can achieve more economic success than individually. If it turns out that we individually or can achieve greater economic success, the European Union is over. Therefore, for us, who are supporters of the European Union, we only need to support a policy that focuses solely on common economic success. Today, however, Brussels is struggling with itself, as it were, with its own member states: it instructs, threatens, coerces and punishes, that is, it abuses its power and thus destroys itself. "

5) The next decade will be an era of dangerous challenges: migration, migration, epidemics and pandemics. In this dangerous age, we must create security and succeed in the global economy. A condition for success is the restoration of European democracy. In order to protect the national and constitutional identities of the Member States, a new institution should therefore be established with the participation of the constitutional courts of the Member States. "

6) "The European Parliament has turned out to be a dead end to European democracy. It only represents its own party, ideological and institutional interests. He does not add, but takes away the power of the European Union. The role of national parliaments should therefore be significantly increased and national legislators should send their representatives to the European Parliament, along the lines of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. In addition, national parliaments should have the right to suspend the EU legislative process if they believe that it violates national competences, i.e. it is about implementing the already established procedure, the so-called red card ".

7) Our seventh thesis: ceterum censeo, Serbia must be accepted. Serbia's membership is more important to the Union than to the Serbs themselves. This fact needs to be recognized and acted upon. "
In the above words, there are many tones of disappointment with the state of affairs in the contemporary European Union - and at the same time very specific proposals; a strong awareness of the importance of peace and stability after the two world wars and the long Cold War whose hot front ran through Central Europe. And also faith in the power of democracy.

The latter belief is also clearly visible in the newly established correspondence institutions for referenda, which have become an integral part of Hungary's political and public life in recent years. They are carried out on average once a year in electronic form via a special portal, but also classically by sending the questionnaire free of charge to the post office. At the summit inherited from the predecessors of the economic crisis, in December 2010, the government asked 1.7 million households, including nearly 3 million retired people, to express their opinion, which is the most important task of the government in the situation in the country. About two hundred thousand responses were submitted - relatively few. On the other hand, opinion polls are usually conducted on an almost infinitely smaller number of people.

In terms of the discussed and strictly substantive aspect, the second correspondence referendum in 2011 turned out to be much more successful. whether: the new constitution is to declare only the rights or also the obligations of citizens ?; should it introduce specific regulations limiting the possibility of the state indebtedness ?; is it supposed to protect values ​​such as: family, work, home, public order, health care? A total of 920,000 people answered the questions, of which about 90% of the respondents expressed the expectation that the Constitution would equally refer to the rights and obligations of citizens, and in its open part: the overwhelming majority of records of Christian values.

The following years brought new challenges and subsequent correspondence referenda, called in Hungary nemzeti konzultáció - national consultations, due to the fact that they are not in principle decisive. In this formula, Hungarians were given the opportunity to comment on the further fate of people with foreign currency debts (2011); tax system, and more precisely, various social advantages (2012); government policy towards migrants (2015); proposals for obligatory migration quotas in the EU and possible consent to mass transfers to the EU of people from outside Europe - the so-called Soros Plan (2016 and 2018). In another referendum in 2018, 1.4 million Hungarians gave extremely strong support (99% "for") of the pro-family policy. The ninth referendum in total took place right after the so-called the first wave of the pandemic. Once again, reminding that it is only about broad public consultations, and not a classic referendum, it is worth mentioning here individual questions, the content of which can be easily anticipated, and how the answers to them are then thoroughly studied. Let us add, both by the rulers and the opposition, because both the scope and the level of detail of the questions - which is worth paying attention to, eludes classical referendum practices.

These are the issues raised in the 2020 e-referendum:
· Which of the actions proposed below would you support in the event of a new wave of the epidemic? (You can choose from nine activities, multiple choice is also possible, thus introducing exit restrictions, ordering distance maintenance, ordering the obligation to wear masks, closing country borders, closing educational institutions, switching to remote education, limiting events, maintaining a separate shopping lane for people over 65, restriction of export of security measures, free parking).
· Do you agree that the health service should maintain an epidemiological alert as long as there is a risk of a pandemic recurrence?
· Do you think it is necessary to further strengthen the epidemiological protection of nursing homes for the elderly?
· Do you agree that the government should strive to ensure that security equipment can be manufactured in Hungary, thus reducing our dependence on abroad?
· Do you agree with the view that during the epidemic, families bringing up school children and teachers should have free access to the Internet?
· Do you think it is necessary to carry out permanent epidemiological monitoring in Hungary in order to early identify and prepare for the fight against the epidemic?
Do you think that banks and multinationals should also contribute to the cost of security in times of fighting the epidemic?
Do you agree that you should support the purchase of domestic goods and services and popularize domestic tourism?
· Do you think the government should continue to maintain protection and job creation programs after the outbreak has ended?
· Do you reject the so-called György Soros' Plan II [re. EU Reconstruction Fund - editor's note aut.], who would indebted our homeland for an unpredictably long period of time?
· Do you think that Hungary should protect Hungarian companies from hostile takeovers by foreign capital?
· Do you agree that the government should continue to oppose immigration and maintain strict protection of Hungarian borders?
· Do you agree that the Hungarian government, even at the cost of open conflict with Brussels, should continue to maintain the immigration ban?

About 1.7 million people took part in this correspondence referendum. Instead of quoting detailed percentage data, yes / no votes in the responses, the conclusions drawn from them seem to be more important, such as the vaccine center, which is now being quickly built in Debrecen, which is to make Hungary independent from next year. supply of vaccines from abroad, or the maintenance of the government's opposition to the idea of ​​mass settlement of newcomers from outside Europe on the territory of the EU - despite the scale of political criticism and financial threats that this objection is met in the Commission and the European Parliament.
It is also detailed, this time the classic referendum, which will take place along with the parliamentary elections on April 3, and the essence of which concerns the scope of parents' rights towards their own minor children during their schooling period.

Correspondence referenda or referenda in general strengthen democratic and sovereign mechanisms, including the legitimacy of those in power, which is not to everyone's liking. Negative reactions have been evoked in recent years, especially in the supreme bodies of the European Union, which seem to see in the institution of referenda a strong threat to the currently preferred model of operation, to the plans to centralize the Union, i.e. to diminish the rights of states and nations.

In the discussed context, Hungary has for years been a true "outpost" of supporters of maintaining the European Union as a union of states, an international organization, counting here very much on the support of Poland and Poles, who finally have the considerable heritage of a centuries-old union of both nations, a commonwealth - a common thing, the Republic of Poland.

This was one of the reasons why Prime Minister Orbán went to Warsaw on his first foreign trip in 2010, so that during the 2011 presidency of both countries in the EU Council, he could better coordinate the policy pursued in the EU field. Looking back at these plans and intentions, it must be admitted that not much of it all came into practice. Although after another election won by himself in 2014, Warsaw again became the destination of the Hungarian prime minister's first trip abroad. As Grzegorz Górny noted years ago, “Law and Justice turned out to be closer to Fidesz, although theoretically it should be different, because the Civic Platform belongs to the same faction in the European Parliament as Viktor Orbán's party. And yet another factor turned out to be more important - a common diagnosis of the situation in which our countries found themselves a quarter of a century after the fall of real socialism. The umbilical cord connecting with the former system has not been cut, so the poisoning of collective life by deposits of post-communism continues. Anti-development interest groups derived from the previous regime are still influential. The countries of the region are falling prey to neocolonialism by large international companies that conduct unfair competition with the local middle class and small business, transfer huge profits abroad and pay ridiculously low taxes on the spot. Heavy industry, which was once the driving force of the economy, collapsed, and the void left by it has not been filled by the development of any prospective economic sector. Central European countries have been reduced to the role of assembly plants, reservoirs of cheap labor and sales markets. In the EU arena, they gave up their subjectivity, submitting themselves to the politics of Berlin and Brussels, even if it was not in line with their interests. This was favored by the post-colonial mentality widespread, especially among the intelligentsia, lined with an inferiority complex to European metropolises."

Briefly, for obvious reasons, but by no means on the sidelines of this argument, a symbolic but very tangible example should be given of what happened in Polish-Hungarian relations in the following years, when, following the initiative of Prime Ministers Jarosław Kaczyński and Viktor Orbán, in 2017 on, the parliaments of both countries decided to establish two twin state institutions: the Institute of Polish-Hungarian Cooperation Wacław Felczak in Warsaw and the Felczak Foundation in Budapest.
And one more example: a sea of ​​white and red flags held by Poland and Poles every March 15, during the celebration of the Hungarian national holiday in Budapest. And the Hungarian prime minister, whose speech that day is addressed to the traditionally largest audience, reaching tens of thousands of citizens gathered on the streets of the Hungarian capital, and who, in a way, must - in reaction to what he sees in front of him in the form of the white and red sea, start with greetings from thousands of gathered ... Poles. Year after year. Willy-nilly. There was numerous statements by Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about Poland. Cited in extenso, due to the habit of frequently turning them around in Poland, and of course only by way of example and selectively, because from the summer of 2020.

“We, the citizens of Central Europe, have to arrange our own lives. Others have already tried to do so: the Turks, the Habsburgs, the Germans and the Russians. Today there would also be volunteers. But we also know that unsolicited help usually doesn't lead to anything good. If life in Central Europe is organized by strangers, it will lead to division, hostility and subordination, and our fantastic resources, our valuable work and our intellectual achievements in the world will benefit others, accumulate them for themselves and use them to strengthen their power. Centuries have passed, when for the last time such a wonderful opportunity appeared for the nations of Central Europe, wisely grouped around the Polish flagship from the Baltic to the Balkans, to determine their own fate. We Hungarians can do so much today that we will prepare for cooperation and we will urge our friends ... "(August 19, 2020)

"So I think there is an opportunity to start erecting a Central European building, and that is why we should not think in the way that the peoples of Central Europe over the last hundred or fifty years have thought: where they will find themselves much greater protectors to hide under the wings. Germans, hide behind Russians' backs or knock on the Port to look for protectors against each other, now there is an opportunity for us to connect, try to cooperate, try to organize and somehow use this fantastic life chance that Central Europe means with its knowledge , spirit, energy and economic potential, of course while maintaining our sovereignty. To this end, we must acknowledge that we will need a flagship, which this time does not have to come from far away, as there is a flagship in Central Europe called Poland. It is a fantastically developing country of 40 million, with a serious army and enormous economic potential, with a wide range of interests in this region. If we place our own ships and crews well around the Poles and are able to come to an agreement with them, then Central Europe will have a much greater ability to defend its interests, we will be richer, we will develop faster, instead of seeking external protectors. "

“On the other hand, the good news is that under the leadership of Poles, because the Polish economy is the most resilient economy in Central Europe, the entire V4 and neighboring Slovenia and Croatia, the Central European economy heralds a success story. We were also hit by COVID-19, the epidemic also caused a breach in our economy, we have to fight for every job and every investment, but from the point of view of international competitiveness, the region looks much more promising than other parts of the European Union. This is good news, and the best part is that we live in this part of Europe. "
“We are not the navel of the world. There is one thing we can do to do our homework and Central Europe will be in a very good condition… Judging by the Polish progress, in ten years Poland will become the new Germany of Europe ”. - Prime Minister Viktor Orbán emphasized on September 4, 2020 in a weekly interview on his favorite Radio Kossuth.

The stake for Poland and the whole of Central Europe defines and, in a way, organizes Hungary's behavior on the international arena. Without this rate for active rather than reactive policy, it would be impossible to achieve such successes as the rate of vaccination of the Hungarian society against Covid-19, which in spring 2021 in Europe was comparable only to Great Britain, and outside Europe - to Israel. Or the high rating of the so-called leadership (leadership powerfull) formulated periodically by the weekly "Politico", where Hungary usually appears on the side of Sweden and Denmark - below Germany and France, but already above the other V-4 countries, Austria or Spain.

And we are talking about the rankings of the weekly "Politico", which positions itself very critically in relation to the policy pursued by the government of Viktor Orbán. Also, or rather, in particular, the goal of criticism is choosing the state of media freedom in Hungary, which is usually completely uncritically accepted on the Vistula, a symbolic example of which is the article published after "Politico" by "" on July 25, 2021, entitled: "The owner of the independent Hungarian portal Now we are the target," from which we learn, it is also a quote how "the Hungarian government kills the free media" And further: "On Wednesday, under pressure from the Hungarian government, the editor-in-chief of the largest independent from the authorities of the information portal Szabolcs Dull ”.

From this information, we learn mainly that the state of pluralism in the media in Hungary A.D. 2021 is such that the two largest information portals - as it turns out, are anti-government in nature. And this is not a special exception in the space of image and word on the Danube, taking into account, for example, the dominant position of the RTL group on the television market. In the context we are discussing, for a Polish reader who is not involved in politics, the most interesting undertaking on the media market after 2010 seems to be the establishment of the Central European Press and Media Foundation KESMA, a state-owned concern whose task is to develop small regional titles in the number of approx. 500, which, however, in the pandemic reality turned out to be a very difficult fight to simply protect them from bankruptcy.

On the other hand, the reform of public media, which, after years of balancing on the brink of financial collapse, turned out to be a success. At the same time - like the M1 program, being able to prepare information services at the highest world level, with constant relations of correspondents located from Tokyo and Delhi, to Washington and Mexico. Including the very high-level Visegrad Magazine and the broadcasting one every day - in good time bands - with an informative shortcut about the latest events in V-4.

The topic for a separate book is, in fact, a pro-family program implemented in Hungary, which has been consistently implemented since 2010. A whole set of programs like CSOK, which means kiss, but in this case it is short for three Hungarian words - Family, Home, Relief. The purpose of this program was to support young families in the most difficult moment - when salaries are usually not the highest at the beginning of their professional careers, children appear, and the apartment or house remains beyond the reach of the family. This program was successful in the sense that it resulted in significant growth - almost 20%. - marriages concluded; or a decrease (by 40%) in the number of abortions. And a significant increase in the birth of children. (Although not as high as expected.) Today, families with children in Hungary have significant financial support to buy an apartment or build a house; relief in the form of exemption from PIT income tax; but also the possibility of buying a larger car at a significantly reduced price. The year 2022 also brought an exemption from income tax for people up to 25 years of age and the payment of the thirteenth pension that seniors lost during the rule of the left wing. And as it turned out, Hungarians can afford it thanks to high GDP growth, with a constant level of state debt to GDP at 80% (relatively low for the EU).

Earlier, in the form of the so-called Sevens for the Family, the following benefits were introduced: 1) a preferential loan of 10 million ft (about PLN 135 thousand) for every woman under 40 who marries for the first time. Suspension of repayment of the said loan for 3 years upon the birth of the first child (after the second child - termination for 3 years + cancellation of 1/3 of the loan; and if the third child is also born - the rest of the debt is canceled). 2) increasing the amount of the preferential loan for the purchase or renovation of an apartment to HUF 15 million (approx. PLN 203 thousand); 3) deduction from the mortgage of the sum of min. 1 million ft for each child born. Women who have given birth and raised at least four children do not pay personal income tax until the end of their lives. 4) A state-guaranteed place for each child in a nursery or higher rates of family and care allowances. Last, but not least. The extensive pro-family program in Hungary resulted in one more issue. He paved the way for the person responsible for its implementation - Minister Katalin Novák, to the position of President of Hungary.
Somewhat overshadowed by the subsequent stages of the disputes that have been going on for years, whether the CEU Central European University in Budapest meets / should meet the requirements for universities operating in Hungary, are the changes made in the higher education system, the aim of which is - to put it briefly - to stimulate the interest of ALL its participants ie students, teachers and researchers achieving the best possible results, which also gain recognition on the international arena. It has been recognized that there is an international tendency in higher education governance for the emergence of external actors to transform ineffective forms of management and to prioritize results orientation. The main goal of this is therefore, in addition to resource efficiency, to create a results-oriented and higher-quality higher education system with the keywords competition, quality, performance and success. In this perspective, thanks to a more flexible framework, universities are to be able to increase the competitiveness of Hungary and the Hungarian economy. The state becomes here the ordering party of services provided by higher education, i.e. the partner, not the managing party.

Earlier, in the form of the so-called Sevens for the Family, the following benefits were introduced: 1) a preferential loan of 10 million ft (about PLN 135 thousand) for every woman under 40 who marries for the first time. Suspension of repayment of the said loan for 3 years upon the birth of the first child (after the second child - termination for 3 years + cancellation of 1/3 of the loan; and if the third child is also born - the rest of the debt is canceled). 2) increasing the amount of the preferential loan for the purchase or renovation of an apartment to HUF 15 million (approx. PLN 203 thousand); 3) deduction from the mortgage of the sum of min. 1 million ft for each child born. Women who have given birth and raised at least four children do not pay personal income tax until the end of their lives. 4) A state-guaranteed place for each child in a nursery or higher rates of family and care allowances. Last, but not least. The extensive pro-family program in Hungary resulted in one more issue. He paved the way for the person responsible for its implementation - Minister Katalin Novák, to the position of President of Hungary.
Corvinus in Budapest (BCE). His footsteps were followed by the University of Veterinary Sciences, the University of Fine Arts. Moholy-Nagya, University of Miskolc, University of János Neumann, University of István Széchenyi, the University of Sopron and, from 1 September 2020, also the University of Theater and Film Arts. From August 1, 2021, ten universities operating in a more flexible scientific and business framework were joined by: Budapest University of Economics, University of Debrecen, University of Dunaújváros, Hungarian University of Dance Arts, University of Nyíregyháza, University of Óbuda, University of Pécs, Semmelweis University, University of Szeged and Academy of Physical Education.

As a result of the change of the managing entity, universities became public institutions of higher education maintained by state-appointed public interest foundations, executing public orders. In all respects, they are full-fledged successors of universities prior to the change of the managing entity, i.e. there is full legal and organizational continuity, including the legal status of students and employment of employees. The most important thing in this new model of operation is that the state as a strategic partner, thanks to long-term financing guarantees, provides conditions for resilient and quick implementation of public tasks.
Over the last ten years, funding for higher education in Hungary has increased by more than 41%. Last year, higher education employees received about 30% of the wage increase. Together with the universities that have changed their operating model in recent months, over 180,000 have continued their studies in such institutions. young people, which accounts for nearly 70% of all students. The change affects a total of 21 universities.


Przemysław Czapliński in the book "Word and Territory. Essays on Central Europe ”(Warsaw 2017, p. 21), lists five reasons why“ it is worthwhile to stop at Central Europe for a longer time ”. Grounds? Fiction, phenomena - reports or science, which confirms the high public interest, thirdly: “due to the fact that the part of the continent we are interested in is currently experiencing serious political and geopolitical turbulence; fourth, that the people of Central Europe themselves do not really know where they want to go, which means the identity crisis; and fifth, because reflection on the distinctiveness of this region occupies the attention of Western European minds; These in turn - trying to reflect the Central European moods - often do not hesitate to use heavy argumentative instruments, which has an impact on the state of local social and political awareness ”.

After 2010, Hungary meets all the above-mentioned conditions. They are the subject of interest to which this introduction, and even the following chapters of the book, only partially answer. It is thanks to all great authors that the Hungarian reforms and policy of Hungary in 2010-2012 will become closer to all of us, and certainly more understandable. Thanking the Authors and the Foundation "Századvég" for the work done, I encourage you to read this book carefully. To get acquainted with the latest history of a country that is so close to us, Poles, but still little, definitely too little known.