The true political priorities of 2021.
There will be general elections in 2022 in Hungary. Orbán’s latest moves appear to suggest that he is preparing to lose – but maybe he is just preparing to govern with a simple majority. He made so many things a 2/3 legislative topic it is now virtually impossible to govern Hungary with a simple majority.
His bucket list include:
1. Squirrel away as much money into loyalist foundations as possible
Fill them up with public money and assets, castles, hotels, landmarks, agricultural land, museums, marinas, etc. Appoint loyalists to lead them. For life. Make them exempt from most taxes and put them out of the reach of any future government. Make corporations pay their taxes into these foundations and force the state to haplessly watch (and even reward it with a 300% reduction of the tax base) as its revenues go into Orbán’s foundations.
Keep feeding more assets into the foundations at a rate even the media can’t keep up with it. Block and sabotage every move of future governments if they are not Orbán’s.
2. Buy Budapest Airport
Even if the owners do not wish to sell. Bloomberg has broken the news that Orbánists are putting pressure on the owners to sell. Now they are about to receive an offer they can’t refuse – or the government will look into other means to restore its majority ownership.
Hungarian borders have been sealed much earlier than other countries’ and the closure is not expected to lift until Orbán finally manages to bleed Budapest Airport dry and make them sell. (Football events are an exception.) Apart from making hotels cheaper targets for potential takeovers – and there will be interested cronies who’d love to occupy more of Budapest – the border closure shot Budapest Airport in the leg.
The non-ethnic ownership of Budapest Airport has been a sore spot for Orbán for a long time. So when the airport turned to the EBRD for a EUR 50 million emergency loan due to the pandemic closures, the government simply blocked it. Getting the airport into “Hungarian hands” may not just be an issue of ethnic mental fog, it might be what China wants.
3. Create more state concessions and hand them to loyalists
Tobacco production and sales have gone to loyalists a long time ago. It was made a concession industry and the government just happened to license Orbán’s loyalists with it.
Now we have the following industries awarded to loyalists in concession:
- the liquidation business (very lucrative due to the pandemic and also great intel on what to buy up),
- waste management,
- highway constructions,
- and basically every industry that the EU loves to subsidize.
Then create an office that oversees these concessions and appoint an unremovable loyalist to head it in the foreseeable future.
4. Cement in Russian interests
Notably the Russian-built nuclear power station in Paks.
The Russian spy bank with de facto sovereignty is already up and running in Budapest (and thus inside the EU)
5. Cement in Chinese interests
Make the plans of a campus of China’s communist Fudan university irreversible. Sign and take on the debt.
Make the plans for the ludicrously unnecessary but desperately overpriced Budapest-Belgrade railway line irreversible. Take out the Chinese load and get the taxpayers on the hook.
6. Starve the opposition (cities) to the point they can not do anything for voters
Their right to raise and collect taxes already taken away, put more task upon them and watch as they can no longer pay even their employees. Trumpet in the media that this is what happens to a town if it votes against Orbán.
7. Make as many sport/corruption events irreversible as possible
8. Render Hungary ungovernable by anyone other than Orbán
It includes decade-long appointments as well as the infamous 2/3 laws that have proliferated to the point that even a budget can’t be passed by a simple majority.
The central bank, the prosecution, the aforementioned concession authority, the top judges, the constitutional court, etc. will immediately become an opposition to the government if anyone other than Orbán would win.
Not to mention the economic war Orbán’s oligarchs will be able to wage against the impoverished government.
9. Empty the budget and take on as much debt as possible
10. Hollow out state healthcare and drive customers into loyalists’ new private hospitals.
If there is a master plan about healthcare, it is this: empty the free, state healthcare systems by locking out those who can’t pay taxes.
Then make taxpayers leave the taxpayer-funded state healthcare because of chronic underfinancing and it becoming dangerous as a result. Make cronies of all industries build their own “superhospitals” and then use the 100% state-owned state electricity provider to advertise private healthcare to captive customers. Give your favorite crony so much support that he can afford to offer the cheapest insurance rates. For now.