This is definitely our favorite headline of the week:
Orbán: Hungary can solve problems without IMF but loan makes life easier
It definitely sums up the last several months of “talks” between the embattled government in Budapest and the International Monetary Fund, which you get the feeling wants to lend Hungary the money for the good of the world, but would secretly rather let the country sink. Orban has said in the past that he won’t allow Hungary to lose control over its own destiny to the money counters, and that the country will never be a colony of Brussels, or Washington DC. This is arguably a good way of avoiding the fact that it’s too late for that. But headlines like this, rightly or wrongly, make him sound like a recalcitrant teenager asking his father for money, but making it clear that he doesn’t actually need it and not to expect any gratitude. Still, for anyone who’s hoping life can start getting back to normal in the country, this is probably progress.
For a bit more context, which is probably appropriate rather than just repeating headlines, here are some of the quotes (hat tip PoliticsHU):
“Hungary is stronger today than it has been in the past and it is not dependent on anyone. We can overcome all troubles on our own, including financial and economic problems, using our own resources,” Orban said.
“The IMF loan would obviously help a lot because Europe is in a serious crisis, and another wave of crisis is approaching that will also affect Hungary. This will be easier to fend off if there is a safety net behind us. We could manage without it, too, but this would require more energy and would be more expensive,” Orban said…
“It is unacceptable that we should cut pensions, wages, child support or jobs.”
If we understand correctly, Hungary could use the loan because Europe is in crisis. And structural changes are not on the table. If we’re misinterpreting this, please let us know.