December 22nd, 2011
06:24 PM GMT
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London (CNN) –Eager for action and anxious about the future, Hungarians are taking to the streets to protest a gradual overhaul of the country’s key organs of democracy.

Eastern Europe's most indebted nation faced another unexpected obstacle after Standard & Poor’s this week became the second ratings agency to cut its debt to “junk” status.

The move, which followed a similar decision by Moody’s Investors Service, piles pressure on Hungary’s strained finances, making it more expensive to raise money to refinance existing obligations.

The vicious cycle has been exacerbated by a steady and significant decline for Hungary’s currency - the forint - which has lost 13% of its value against the euro since June.

Hungary’s financial fortunes have been mixed for some time.

Yet the country’s political and economic outlook has soured surprisingly quickly.

Current Prime Minister Viktor Orban came to power in April 2010. Orban’s landslide victory permitted his Fidesz party to rule without coalition partners for the first time since the fall of communism.

Armed with a comfortable two thirds majority in parliament, the new government set about cutting red tape.

But critics say that after less than two years in power, Orban’s iron grip over crucial (and supposedly independent) institutions is tightening.

Next year’s changes to the constitution have some Hungarians up in arms amid concerns they will curtail freedom of the press.

The moves follow proposals to re-jig governance at the country’s central bank - new legislation which will be put to a series of votes this week and next (despite warnings from the European Union and the European Central Bank).

As a former First Deputy Foreign Minister, Matyas Eorsi helped steer Hungary towards EU accession.  From Budapest he told CNN he fears his nation is now becoming isolated.

“You cannot run such a small country in the middle of Europe by claiming an independence war against everybody around you,” he said.

Eorsi urged the Prime Minister to either change his domestic policies now or to resign. Failing that, he said, Orban’s party has a duty to oust him at the next parliamentary vote.

If Orban is facing resistance at home, he can hardly look outside Hungary for help.

Fraught relations with the International Monetary Fund, which rescued the country in 2008, mean the world’s bank of last resort is unlikely to be as forthcoming with a new package if and when Hungary needs it.

Recent negotiations with both the IMF and the EU broke down amid concerns about Hungary’s domestic policies.

The government has “declared a freedom fight against international institutions like the IMF,” says Eorsi, while at home, “it has systematically dismantled the checks and balances of independent institutions.”

With the current set up Hungary risks a “catastrophe,” he says.

So, what is the solution?

According to Eorsi, the ruling party has two options - but they must choose fast.

He says Fidesz must come to the conclusion that they do not want to risk the future of Hungary and its children. As such, Hungary needs a new prime minister. “Either that or the prime minister changes his policies. There is no third option.”

soundoff (69 Responses)
  1. Davis Bradley

    Wow. Mr. Quest and Ms. Dos Santos must want Europe gone yesterday. I wonder how much they take in from short selling the EU?

    December 22, 2011 at 8:02 pm |
  2. imi13

    wooooow he is the firs guy who sends the IMF home and we should replace him? ARE U CRAZY????????????

    December 22, 2011 at 8:37 pm |
  3. imi13

    Hungary is in the MIDDLE of europe!WE ARE EUROPE!

    December 22, 2011 at 8:39 pm |
  4. imi13

    One more thing.Send that guy a new webcam and a razor!

    December 22, 2011 at 8:41 pm |
  5. imi13

    Business 180

    December 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  6. Jens

    hungarians are indeed in europe, but they originally came from mongolia. which would explain the alienation efforts and the problems with fitting in.

    December 22, 2011 at 8:51 pm |
  7. grego

    Jens, you are being racist. What's more, you mix up Hungarians with Huns, which was a different Medieval tribe. Hungarians are Europeans thru and thru, but they made an awful choice with the current PM.

    December 22, 2011 at 8:58 pm |
  8. Craig

    Standard & Poor are junk! They are one of the same rating agencies that gave AAA to the derivatives that caused the biggest economic disaster in a generation. Why should their "opinions" be worth anything. If they give a AAA rating and aren't held financially responsible for that rating, then it means nothing.

    December 22, 2011 at 10:05 pm |
  9. bj

    Just to get this straight, Nina dos Santos is interviewing a former MP, which party almost bankrupted Hungary in 2008,
    and she is asking for advice what to do now ... hahaha
    (In 2002 the dept to GPD was ~55% but in 2010 was already ~80%.)

    December 22, 2011 at 10:17 pm |
  10. bj

    @Jens: That was a nice historical "swing and miss".

    December 22, 2011 at 10:22 pm |
  11. Emil

    When a country borrows from the IMF it dictates how to use it and sets condition so the country will be able to pay it back. Looks like they are giving wrong advise.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:03 pm |
  12. Jeff

    This is what happens when voters consolidate power into one group. You voted them in, live with it.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:15 pm |
  13. Jeff

    @grego, learn what "racism" and "racist" really are before ever using it again. European IS NOT a race.....dimwit.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:17 pm |
  14. grego

    @Jeff: you're embarrassing yourself. No one said EU is a race. Think long and hard before writing again.

    December 22, 2011 at 11:22 pm |
  15. Johny

    Mr. Eorsi one of the cleverest man in Hungary. He always says the truth. Yes, Mr Orban a small dictator, who wants to be the king forever. But he will goes t the hel immidiatly

    December 22, 2011 at 11:42 pm |
  16. jerry

    Hungarians are mongolians , they came with their horses from east asia , I say we send them back :D

    December 23, 2011 at 6:17 am |
  17. Dr No

    Imi, my dear, you can send the IMF and BCE "home" but as far as Hungary owes they money, and they are probably the only ones that would lend Hungary money to keep the country working, you need to deal with it. It is great to say those are "the bad guys" now and all the problems come from that...

    December 23, 2011 at 7:50 am |
  18. Crowney

    Wow, it looks like Hungary's brave policy of independence pinches the eyes of some folks out there. Hearing such one-sided report from the 'world news leader' is pretty shocking. I am far from being anti-globalist but it is quite transparent whose trumpet Ms Santos is blowing.
    Any interests in EU bankruptcy, guys?
    Well done then.

    December 23, 2011 at 8:21 am |
  19. NeverSoclibsAgain

    Funny, I live ion the fourth largest Hungarian city, and nobody wants to demonstrate against the governmenta, and least of all, would they want back the previous Soclib govvernment whose disasterously incompetent and corrupt regime (with Eorsi as one of their representatives) has led to the current chaos. And dismantling checks and balances? Pleeeeeease, where were these critical voices when people were shot at on the streets of Budapest, in the demonstrations when Gyurcsany's lies became public?

    December 23, 2011 at 9:22 am |
  20. NeverSoclibsAgain


    I guess your ancestrors came from an ape's nest somewhere in central Africa? So what?

    December 23, 2011 at 9:25 am |
  21. NeverSoclibsAgain

    "and they are probably the only ones that would lend Hungary money to keep the country working"

    You are definitely wrong – Hungary can finance itself from markets, as it has done in the past year.

    December 23, 2011 at 9:37 am |
  22. siz1977

    We aren't Mongols, we are europeans since the year of 896. It was a pretty long ago, wasn't it? "NeverSoclibsAgain": you are a half-minded man/woman, who doesn't know what he/she says. If you really want a small and disoriented dictator to our nation, you adore him without intellectual doubt. I am angry because of suggestible poeple like you.

    December 23, 2011 at 10:24 am |
  23. alis

    I am completely agree with you, I think you are right, its very

    interesting to read your blog. I am regularly follow your blog. thanks.
    animation tutorial

    December 23, 2011 at 12:07 pm |
  24. anonymous

    I don't think the problem is with the current prime minister or the FIDESZ party. Who ever is in charge in Hungary, whether it's MSZP, Gyurcsány, Bajnai or Orbán the Hungarians just cry and cry – regardless of anything. No wonder we are called the suicidal/emo country. I'm not saying Orbán is the good dude – everyone has it's mistakes but if you are just so $$$$ing smart go rule the country yourself.

    And for all of you who have no idea about Hungary's historical background please gtfo :) This ain't a history lesson! Thanks

    December 23, 2011 at 12:57 pm |
  25. Andy1955

    My Dear Bloggers,
    It is sad that CNN gives voice to Mr. Eorsi alone without any check on the other side of the story. This guy was always happy to sit in the midle of his own nest. Anyway our Prime minister is fiting for some little freedom we still have against all the interests of the multinational companies, banks and the whole financial world. Probbly it is an impossible misson but 2/3 of th country voted for him because of this reason. So lets see...

    December 23, 2011 at 1:08 pm |
  26. 1972

    Hi All!
    My country is a real "junk"
    This goverment is a real "junk"
    Endangered democracy! :-(

    December 23, 2011 at 1:24 pm |
  27. tomegir

    Dear Cnn,

    Please muc more resarching before making such reports full with mistakes,
    On first places the guy who seems like a great opposition leader, Matyas Eorsi ha NEVER BEEN A FOREIGN MINSTER. Only a political state secretary in the foreign ministry. , wich is a less powefull and very political positionpossition.
    Eorsi, who is in the party SZDSZ is now tetired from politics, as her party invollved in many scandals and correption businesses, and now not even in the parlament, they were governal parties, but they leaded the country to ecconomical bankrupt, and noe no one wanted to vote for tham in the last election in 2010.
    Ferenc Gyurcsany is an exprime minister, who gave an interwiev to Cnn back in 2006 because of lying to win the election and not resigning. He was today taken to jail for a few hours, because he chained himself to the Parlament's gate to protest for democracy. It is really weird, because few yeras ago HE HIMSELF ORDERED THE POLICE TO HIT AND HURT PROTESTERS WHO PROTESTED AGAINS HIM. aND NOW HE IS PROTESTING FOR DEMOCRACY , iN 2006 TENS AND THOUSEND WERE PROTESTING AGAINST A REGIME, WHICH LIED TO US, AND HURT PEOPLE BY POLICE, TODAY THERE WERE ONLY 100 PEOPLE, AND WE ARE IN THE ccn NEWS

    December 23, 2011 at 2:05 pm |

    Kdedves CNN, ma Budapesten 0-1 C hömérséklet volt nem lehettek rövidujjas poloban tüntetők az utcán !

    December 23, 2011 at 2:09 pm |
  29. ceiwab

    imi13! No ! Hungary is in the east Europ, sorry not in the Europ, just a east in the World....
    Buzi Orbán
    Gay Orban the president

    December 23, 2011 at 2:46 pm |
  30. anonymous

    I just love how people cant even spell in their native language and start commenting on politics and business which they are incapable of comprehending. :D

    December 23, 2011 at 3:36 pm |
  31. flamendialis

    buzi Orban = gay Orban, well done my dear friend, show us please how intelligent the Hungarians are. This is the most important thing you want to share here???

    Hungarians are are wrong, just grab a book, perhaps you know how a book looks like, if you need help ask me.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:43 pm |
  32. NeverSoclibsAgain

    Isnt'it nice to see that sob Gyurcsány surrounded by two policemen.... pity they let him out so quick.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:46 pm |
  33. krisztina

    Viktor Orban should resign NOW! Fidesz must also go! There are a lot of protesters besides the Houses of Parliament in Budapest.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:48 pm |
  34. NeverSoclibsAgain


    Endangered democracy! :-(

    Yes sure, go and see your doctor for advice on hallucinations.

    December 23, 2011 at 3:53 pm |
  35. NeverSoclibsAgain


    Sure, there ar at least – wow, how many, like 500? I'm shocked, that Orbán has not resigned yet. Which he should clearly do, as the looser Socialists, a never-elected Gyurcsány and his DK gang, or the LMP with it what – 6% support – demand .....

    December 23, 2011 at 3:56 pm |
  36. krisztina

    500? LOL
    I can see thousands of people man!

    December 23, 2011 at 4:10 pm |
  37. Anti-idiot

    NeverSoclibsAgain: how many did the Fidesz pay to you?
    Also, they f. up the economy. Hungary was NOT junk until the FIdesz came.

    December 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  38. Anti-idiot


    December 23, 2011 at 4:17 pm |
  39. Jani

    It's funny, but somehow I don't feel that I have less freedom, but I'm sure the mistake is in me. Liberal polticians always know what's correct and what's good for the whole country. It's maybe because there is a perfect view from Rózsadomb (=Rosehill- elite part of Budapest). Our democracy is not perfect, but it's not worse than 2-3-4 years ago. This whole situation is because Orban dared to act against the interest of people whith a huge amount of money. And they are not used to it...

    December 23, 2011 at 4:41 pm |
  40. NeverSoclibsAgain

    Yep, thousands. Sure, that's convincing. Now Orbán should obviously resign. You and the other self-appointed freedom-defenders are so pathetic with your little revolution-enthusiasm and if Gyurcsány's praising LMP is the best you can have, then you better think long and hard how to shape up your little "pro-democracy" chatclub to pose even a notch of challenge to Fidesz..


    December 23, 2011 at 4:58 pm |
  41. NeverSoclibsAgain

    Hungary was NOT junk until the FIdesz came.

    May I just remind you that when the Soclibs came on power in 2002 then the budget deficit was some 58%; when they were kicked out last year, it was 84%. So unless you claim the position of this thread's retard, you should make some meaningful conclusion, instead of shooting your mouth off.

    December 23, 2011 at 5:01 pm |
  42. Daniel

    Okay everyone, I usually neglect these conversations but this time I just couldn't stand it. Last year, that election was fairly democratic, yes but it doesn't mean that 2/3 of the country voted that SOB into government. Only 52-54% of people went to vote and 2/3 of them voted to the currently governing FIDESZ party. That – if my calculations are correct – means that only 31-34% of the country wanted him to govern. By this month, a significant amount of that voters reconsidered him and his gang to be incompetent and dilettante, corrupt and selfish. So be careful with that propaganda stuff. This is for one opinion...

    The other thing. Hungarians are Europeans. We never came from the middle of Asia, we came from the very edge of Europe but long before the Roman Empire reached its maximum, we were already marching slowly toward the Carpathian Basin.

    Thirdly, the European way is the political union way. It needs time, it needs effort and it will be hard as hell. US people tend to think they are the centre of the world, that they represent the free world, that they are the very best of this planet cause they have a huge, untouchable, strong country and they speak the lingua franca language as a mother tongue. Well, you can think that... but if you go back a few hundred years you find that your own country started off as a bunch of disagreeing, multinational colonies. It was more than a hundred years before you united your colonies to form one single mega-country. Give Europe time, we are in the same shoes as you are, only 300 years back. Technically, Europe is ahead of you...

    December 23, 2011 at 7:22 pm |
  43. Gary the Hun from Hungary

    Hello America, the land of the Free!
    You who finished segragation of black people only few decades ago, who agressively destroyed native American people, who invade countries for profit, who make friends with countries like China, Saudi Arabia, etc. with no democracy, who does not even have an own national bank, who choose a western movie actor for president and another clown who gets blow-job from a monster called M. Lewinski, who started the whole economic crisis by spending more than you earn all the time, how can you have an opinion about anything other than baseball?

    December 23, 2011 at 8:31 pm |
  44. arthur uzo

    Forget the rating nonsense. I love Hungary.

    December 23, 2011 at 8:43 pm |
  45. norberto

    i hate orbán

    December 23, 2011 at 9:10 pm |
  46. CNNN

    I am familiar to the Hungarian history. Its a fact that Hungary has lost all the wars it got involved in, and they spent most of their history under the rule of foreigners such as the Austrians, Turks, Russians, etc. After the WW, they lost majority of their land to their neighbors. All the critical political decision they made was wrong and costed them dearly. Currently the entire nation is corrupt and bankrupt. Future is grim for them.

    December 23, 2011 at 10:20 pm |
  47. FanThomas

    Lie, lie, lie... A few unorthodox person made a "Show must go on..." Not much to lock at there. Pitiable!

    December 23, 2011 at 10:59 pm |
  48. cs

    Dear jerry,
    Hungary is an older country than Germany, Spain, Belgium, Italy, Holland, Portugal, France, Romania etc.
    It's a christian country in Europe for more than thousand years. You should read more history before writing anything.
    Bye, from the EU!

    December 23, 2011 at 11:07 pm |
  49. cs

    Watch this, and come to Budapest at the summertime! (:

    December 23, 2011 at 11:16 pm |
  50. Cassio

    Hungary is not East or West. We are at the cross of the cultures and have a unique culture too. Considering the genetics, we are Europe, like someone said. And we have some "quiet majority" (rather loud minority...) too, which spoken in the video above.

    December 23, 2011 at 11:49 pm |
  51. Jariocha

    Some people are so ignorant that do not know where the countries of the world are situated or where the inhabitants came from. Please if you do not know your history or geography, do not post stupid coments, I found that very annoying.

    December 24, 2011 at 12:14 am |
  52. Cassio

    @Jariocha: From? Need a map? Need a history book? Need a spine?

    December 24, 2011 at 12:23 am |
  53. Gabor

    jerry: No we Hungarians were not Mongolians, but the mix of other 7 tribes with similar culture who arrived together from Asia. We took christianity about 1000 years ago and protected Europe from the islam (Turkish) conquerors for hundreds of years (while they had to protect themselves also from the Austrian conquerors).
    Our prime minister is a gipsy little-dictator who was an officer in the old communist partys youth-organization (KISZ). His father was also an officer in the old communist regime, that is where his political power originates.

    December 24, 2011 at 2:28 am |
  54. Gabor

    Dear Andy1955,
    Not 2/3 of the voters voted for him.
    Only about the half of the people went to vote, because the other half knew that both big partys are lying.
    A little more of the half of the voters voted for FIDESZ and that gave them 2/3 majority in the parliament. So about 25-30 percent of the upgrown people voted for FIDESZ but this was enough to give them the 2/3.
    Majority of the people know that both MSZP and FIDESZ is full of lying selfish politicians. In Hungary politics is a carreer that honest people don't choose, so we don't have anyone to vote.

    December 24, 2011 at 2:44 am |
  55. Gabor

    No matter who gives money to the Hungarian government, the most of this money goes for corruption.
    All the big parties are corrupt, they steal the money that the people pay in taxes through clever ways: for example the most expensive road-constuctions are in Hungary, however our roads are very bad. The government pays it for the firms that owned by our politicians friends or families, that's how they will have money for the propaganda of the next election.

    December 24, 2011 at 2:52 am |
  56. Julianna

    People who did not go to vote gave Orban the power. Apathy is the worst enemy of Hungarians.I hope that they have learned from this experience and next time will participate in voting and take their fate into their own hands.

    December 24, 2011 at 5:09 am |
  57. fokhagyma

    In 1241–1242, the kingdom received a major blow with the Mongol Invasion: after the defeat of the Hungarian army at the Battle of Mohi, Béla IV of Hungary fled, and a large part of the population died in the ensuing destruction leading later to the invitation of settlers, largely from Germany. Historians estimate that up to half of Hungary's then population of 2,000,000 were victims of the Mongol invasion. In the plains between 50 and 80% of the settlements were destroyed.Only castles, strongly fortified cities and abbeys could withstand the assault.

    December 24, 2011 at 7:31 am |
  58. im hungary!

    Mmm bacon.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm |
  59. Jens

    The Mongols did invade and immigrate from Mongolia. Stupid mongorians!

    December 24, 2011 at 4:31 pm |
  60. butters

    I don't want to do it if it hurts or if it makes you get all sticky.

    December 24, 2011 at 4:32 pm |
  61. Dr Who

    When the former communist ‘apparatchiks’ saw the moment was right, they decided to convert their privileges into cash. So, after the fall of the Berlin wall, these guys have disappeared for a moment and re-emerged as rich businessmen. On the political field, they and their decedents – instead of ‘communist’ became leaders of ‘socialist’, ‘liberal’, etc. parties and had the power to sell off whole countries for next to nothing but getting always their percentage.
    When, after 20 years people had enough and elect those who try to change things, the gang that lost political power incite their own people and the international community in order to get back in power.
    What can I say, except that ‘never trust these perverse guys’…

    December 24, 2011 at 7:40 pm |
  62. Mr Hungary

    Mrs. Dos Santos do you live in Hungary? If not then you should not write this article. Everyone in Hungary knows that CNN is supporting the left party in Hungary. Explain one thing, why it will be better, if Hungary gets a new Prime Minister? Why??? We still have to pay the debts, nothing will change....

    December 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm |
  63. alex

    such a country should not be among european union i wander why they are among that very wicked nation and communist nation they keep poeple to get money from un . they arre corrupt every body is bad immigration police very bad poeple un should visit they and see how they treat immigrant pls let un officials visit they asylum house poeple a are dying out they thank god for saving out they with wicked communist poeple no democracy .

    December 24, 2011 at 8:16 pm |
  64. A hungarian ...

    Our primary problem is not trhe goverment, or the ripme minister. ... The main problem is:

    MONEY is OUTDATED! ...

    Furthermore it is bugged, and THE WHOLE GLOBAL SOCIETY needs a change in their mind's.
    A "system change", a change in "ideology", a complete transformation. ...

    We hungarians are more used to this phenomenon as any other country. Hungary was repeatedly in history the source of global revolutions. ....

    There was a time, just a few years ago, when at the front of the parlament 10.000's of people where shot!!!
    .. where were the US or europe back then? ... NOWHERE! ...
    I guess, that wont change, and sooner or later I guess, every country will be too busy with their inner problems. ..

    The CURRENT GLOBAL SYSTEM is not sustaiable and has to change. ...

    .. otherwise, nature will present the bills, for your 'money' ...
    Or? we want to face WW3? ...

    December 24, 2011 at 11:21 pm |
  65. EA Marco Polo

    This article is nice. However the financial question for Hungary will not have big impact on the world.

    But if the US Federal debt is expanding continuous, a huge economic crisis will happen in about 2019, and Obama would be criticized severely by historians for making this treasury catastrophe.

    December 26, 2011 at 1:59 am |
  66. Erika

    I'm Hungarian and I'm ashamed. All our politicians are liars and the majority of people don’t even see what is going on. This country has to collapse to be able to reborn.
    Voting is a lie. It doesn’t matter if you vote or not in a county like this.
    Thanks for your comments, at least someone sees what is it all about.

    People of Hungary, you HAVE to start to think and understand the whole picture!

    December 29, 2011 at 4:42 pm |
  67. paul

    There is some obstination in all countries to vote for failed politicians/parties...and that just because 'there is no other alternative' (the Greeks have two families that ruled the country for 50 years)...or just simply not vote at all. The Master Puppeteers performed their jobs superbly: they generated a chronical indiferrence tof the population for the election process. No wonder we got EVERYWHERE in this mess.....

    December 31, 2011 at 1:04 am |
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