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Old 11-01-2012, 11:09 AM   #201
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If this kind of tensions exist inside the countries, now imagine it between very different nations in a Europe that's small in area but huge and with great distances in cultural diversity.


not to mention the different languages too!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:10 AM   #202
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Really interesting insights Aygo. Portugal has gotten very little (if any) press in North America compared to Spain/Italy/Greece and even Ireland a couple of years ago. I also think that because of the 2008 financial crisis, North America is even more insular now and concerned with its own problems which pushes the European financial crisis to the back of our minds.

Oddly enough the Balkans are actually a region that I would be least worried about. Nobody there has any interest in physical conflict anymore - these people fought and died a mere 20 years ago and I don't want to say that they got it out of their system, but in a way, yes. The appetite for conflict among nations there doesn't exist like it did in the past, but what does exist is the appetite for domestic social unrest. Very similar numbers re: unemployment, especially of young people. Whereas their tourism is concerned, a country like Croatia is very lucky that it doesn't operate on the Euro at this point. A move to the Euro would really have disastrous effects, much like Portugal, Spain, Greece are seeing in their tourist sectors.
Croatia will join the EU on January 1st 2013 and the Lisbon Treaty says that all countries that are entering or in the EU are required to join the Euro.
I wouldn't be so peaceful about the Balcains. The Kosovo question is not resolved. Serbia still doesn't recognize independence. Even inside the EU there are oposite positions. Example: Portugal recognizes Kosovo as an independent state but our neighbour Spain doesn't. There's also the Voivodina question, similar to Kosovo's. And Albania is also a case that's never close. History has shown that in the Balkans, simply throwing logs around the fire is enough for the barrel to explode again.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:15 AM   #203
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not to mention the different languages too!
Exactly. When I mentioned cultural diversity, I included the language.
Imagine me or mama_cass being governed by a President that comes from Czech Republic.

I don't want him, a man who doesn't even speaks my language and that lives thousands of miles away, to rule me and probably mama_cass agrees.

And then, me and mama_cass would disagree in another point. She lives in a country who has a presidential regime - I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that she's for the presidential regime. I live in a mostly parlamentary regime, and I'd be against presidential regime. In fact, I'm against the fact that, in European Elections today, I can only vote for the deputees in my country. But I didn't choose that asshole of Durão Barroso (I didn't vote for him for Prime-Minister in 2002 and didn't vote for President of the European Comission in 2004 and 2009). I don't recognize political legitimacy on him.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:22 AM   #204
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Croatia will join the EU on January 1st 2013 and the Lisbon Treaty says that all countries that are entering or in the EU are required to join the Euro.
In theory. But in reality you need to meet all the economic convergence criteria. It is conceivable that this doesn't happen for 10+ years and who knows what the status of the Euro will be by then.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:32 AM   #205
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In theory. But in reality you need to meet all the economic convergence criteria. It is conceivable that this doesn't happen for 10+ years and who knows what the status of the Euro will be by then.
It's in the statutes of the EU, revised by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007.
The first members of the Euro also failed to care about economic/fiscal/social/financial convergence and harmony when they founded the currency, nor the countries that followed.
Europe is not learning one single thing from the mistakes commited, including the architecture of the Euro. Why should they care about it now?
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:35 AM   #206
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And then, me and mama_cass would disagree in another point. She lives in a country who has a presidential regime - I don't know, maybe I'm wrong, but I assume that she's for the presidential regime.
hehe i've known both systems actually - i'm English so was brought up with parliament and a queen, but have lived in France most of my adult/working life... tbh, i think i prefer parliament + the queen - i think the French president has too much power - too Napoleonic-like which would be pretty scary if someone nasty got into power, not to mention the power the local mayors have here - i see very little democracy at local level as the mayors have so much power and our mayor in particular will regularly override the local councillors on various local issues which is quite disturbing and very frustrating... i do think the French system needs a democratic overhaul especially at local level for sure - apparently the Swiss system is meant to be a good model - lots of decision-making at grass-roots level by local councils - apparently it is very effective and democratic... i think decisions should come from the people in a democracy, not be imposed from the top - i always thought that was the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship lol!!
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:53 AM   #207
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It's in the statutes of the EU, revised by the Treaty of Lisbon in 2007.
The first members of the Euro also failed to care about economic/fiscal/social/financial convergence and harmony when they founded the currency, nor the countries that followed.
Europe is not learning one single thing from the mistakes commited, including the architecture of the Euro. Why should they care about it now?
There are countries that have been members of the EU for 16-18 years and have not yet managed to adopt the Euro. No way does Croatia get anywhere near the Euro for a long, long time. Much has been written on this in Bloomberg and so on. Frankly I'd say it's a better bet that the Euro won't exist by then.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:25 PM   #208
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There are countries that have been members of the EU for 16-18 years and have not yet managed to adopt the Euro. No way does Croatia get anywhere near the Euro for a long, long time. Much has been written on this in Bloomberg and so on. Frankly I'd say it's a better bet that the Euro won't exist by then.
Oh I definitely would advise countries (special small economies) not to join the Euro and to mantain their own soveraignty.
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:31 PM   #209
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hehe i've known both systems actually - i'm English so was brought up with parliament and a queen, but have lived in France most of my adult/working life... tbh, i think i prefer parliament + the queen - i think the French president has too much power - too Napoleonic-like which would be pretty scary if someone nasty got into power, not to mention the power the local mayors have here - i see very little democracy at local level as the mayors have so much power and our mayor in particular will regularly override the local councillors on various local issues which is quite disturbing and very frustrating... i do think the French system needs a democratic overhaul especially at local level for sure - apparently the Swiss system is meant to be a good model - lots of decision-making at grass-roots level by local councils - apparently it is very effective and democratic... i think decisions should come from the people in a democracy, not be imposed from the top - i always thought that was the difference between a democracy and a dictatorship lol!!
I agree with most of this. Altough I don't like monarchies (to me, the idea that someone was appointed by a divine entity or whoever to rule a territory, is somewhat hallucinatory in terms of psyche - and of course this is an exaggeration on my part), I'm 100% republican (not in the "American Republicans" sense, because I'm mostly lefttist) and pro Parlamentary system. So, I think the british system (with the exception of the Queen instead of a President elected by universal suffrage like any other representant) is better in terms of distribution of the power.

But, by curiosity, hasn't the french system already suffered several changes through the last decades, or am I wrong and mixing it with something else?
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:32 PM   #210
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Question for you about the sentiment in Portugal - if, suppose, Greece was able to default and go back to the drachma, what would the views be in Portugal/Spain on staying with the Euro? In theory Greece on a drachma could significantly outcompete these countries in terms of tourism (why not go to Greece for 1/4 of the cost, for example). Any other southern European country with a significant tourist component would be very negatively impacted, no?
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Old 11-01-2012, 12:37 PM   #211
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Question for you about the sentiment in Portugal - if, suppose, Greece was able to default and go back to the drachma, what would the views be in Portugal/Spain on staying with the Euro? In theory Greece on a drachma could significantly outcompete these countries in terms of tourism (why not go to Greece for 1/4 of the cost, for example). Any other southern European country with a significant tourist component would be very negatively impacted, no?
Leaving the Euro and going back to the Dracma, the Escudo, the Peseta, or to have a new currency would be a disaster as big as the collapse of the Euro or the collapse of the economies inside the Euro.
In the portuguese scenario, getting back to the Escudo would mean to devalue the salaries 30% (at least) and increase the prices of basic products in 50% or more. It would be like returning to the poverty of the mid 70's when we changed the regime. It would be even worse.
In or out of the Euro (assuming that nothing's gonna change dramatically inside Europe), both scenarios appear to be bad.

The road is long and very narrow. It's like a straitjacket. And in the end, you're certain that you're going to get sick until you'll probably die.
At present, we're dying both from the disease and the cure (prescripted by the IMF, the ECB and the EU).
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Old 11-01-2012, 03:55 PM   #212
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This discussion is a very interesting read for me. Especially as I'm in maybe the most pro-European country.

The situation in Portugal barely gets any attention here. It's all about Greece and our own problems. Your description is quite terrifying.

I don't have much to add but I do agree that Europe will never work as a federation. I don't have strong feelings for my own country but I have absolutely no connection with most countries in the EU.
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Old 11-01-2012, 08:09 PM   #213
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Russia in not interested in the collapse of the EU because of the economical and commercial advantages. But Russia is interested in the embrittlement of a few regions like Greece and the Balcains.
When Greece collapses and enters into a military regime... Who do you think is gonna "help" them in the "turkish question"?
Turkey doesn't have a particularly pleasant government either I must say!

Greece under a military regime again would be terrifying, especially since it only last happened half a century ago and is probably still 'fresh' in the minds of those who suffered through it.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:56 PM   #214
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Turkey doesn't have a particularly pleasant government either I must say!

Greece under a military regime again would be terrifying, especially since it only last happened half a century ago and is probably still 'fresh' in the minds of those who suffered through it.
Indeed, Erdogan and his regime is pretty tough and hard to deal with.

But putting myself in the greeks shoes (which means putting myself in my people's shoes within 2 years)... Do greeks prefer a proto-fascist regime, do they prefer to keep with things as they are today or do they mind if the military "take care" of the country?
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:06 PM   #215
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This discussion is a very interesting read for me. Especially as I'm in maybe the most pro-European country.

The situation in Portugal barely gets any attention here. It's all about Greece and our own problems. Your description is quite terrifying.

I don't have much to add but I do agree that Europe will never work as a federation. I don't have strong feelings for my own country but I have absolutely no connection with most countries in the EU.
I've been reading that even Belgium is having some problems that always existed but that are gaining strenght with the crisis, including the Flanders separatist movements. Is that a real "threat" for Belgium? Does that possibility of separatism and those tensions really exist or there's also too much mediatic noise around it and it's not as bad as the media describe it?

Do you (all) know why most of you have heard about Greece, even Ireland and Spain, but not about Portugal?
Because that's (part of) the strategy of this Government: to play dead.

This Government thinks that if we play dead, if no one notices us, if no one talk about us, they think that (by miracle) they'll see us as "the good pupil" and suddenly the speculators will stop the attacks and not link us with Greece. I have bad news for them: we are also Greece.
As long as it depends on me, I'll tell everyone what is going on here and that they don't want it to be known outside.

There's a reason why our PM did not open his mouth to say a word to talk about Portugal's case in the last european summit, a few weeks ago.
There's a reason why out "spin doctors" sell stories to the international media that are completely fake. For example, I read an article (I think it was on The Economist, but I might be wrong) talking about Portugal's successful case and talking about the reform in the Justice sector. What reform? What are they talking about? There's no reform at all.
That's why I would advise you not to believe in what you might read in the international press about Portugal's situation.
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Old 11-02-2012, 08:13 AM   #216
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I honestly don't know.

The financial crisis might speed up the process a bit but the tensions between Flanders and Wallonia are caused by the clusterfuck that is our political system. It doesn't work and it slows everything down. There's a reason why we didn't have a government for over a year.

The separatist party won the federal elections in 2010 in Flanders while the socialist party won in Wallonia (note: the regions have different parties). Those two tried to form a government but (of course) that didn't work out. So in the end, a government was formed without the separatist party. That government is trying to reform the State by giving more authorities to the regions which is what Flanders wants but it is going too slow. Because of that the frustration in Flanders is growing and it's impossible to predict what will happen next.

Only a few weeks ago we had local elections and the separatist party got about 30% of all votes which is huge considering they're a fairly young party. Of course, the elections were local but they definitely showed what Flanders thinks of the current government. 2014 will be a decisive year for Belgium. We have regional and federal elections then. If the separatist party also wins that election and gains more than 30%, who knows what will happen. The traditional parties won't be able to ignore them then.

The success of the separatist party, however, is mainly due to the popularity of one politician (he became mayor of Antwerp which was the main focus of these elections) so it's hard to tell what percentage of people who vote for that party actually want to see Flanders separated from the rest of the country. Brussels is also a huge problem because it's so important for both regions.

So yeah, I often think the international media portrays the situation in our country as something black-white and that's certainly not the case. It's extremely complicated and like with most things here, in the end I think/hope not much will happen
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Old 11-06-2012, 03:42 PM   #217
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I honestly don't know.

The financial crisis might speed up the process a bit but the tensions between Flanders and Wallonia are caused by the clusterfuck that is our political system. It doesn't work and it slows everything down. There's a reason why we didn't have a government for over a year.

The separatist party won the federal elections in 2010 in Flanders while the socialist party won in Wallonia (note: the regions have different parties). Those two tried to form a government but (of course) that didn't work out. So in the end, a government was formed without the separatist party. That government is trying to reform the State by giving more authorities to the regions which is what Flanders wants but it is going too slow. Because of that the frustration in Flanders is growing and it's impossible to predict what will happen next.

Only a few weeks ago we had local elections and the separatist party got about 30% of all votes which is huge considering they're a fairly young party. Of course, the elections were local but they definitely showed what Flanders thinks of the current government. 2014 will be a decisive year for Belgium. We have regional and federal elections then. If the separatist party also wins that election and gains more than 30%, who knows what will happen. The traditional parties won't be able to ignore them then.

The success of the separatist party, however, is mainly due to the popularity of one politician (he became mayor of Antwerp which was the main focus of these elections) so it's hard to tell what percentage of people who vote for that party actually want to see Flanders separated from the rest of the country. Brussels is also a huge problem because it's so important for both regions.

So yeah, I often think the international media portrays the situation in our country as something black-white and that's certainly not the case. It's extremely complicated and like with most things here, in the end I think/hope not much will happen
Yeah, that's why I was curious about the Belgium case, because it's not very well told by the media and because it doesn't have the mediatic attention it deserved. I remember reading about the "revolt of the crisps", but I didn't understand it well, because it's not well explained.
Let's wait for the next chapters...
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:05 PM   #218
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I was researching a little more about Hungary, and the more I read, the scared I get. The similarities with the 1926-74 portuguese fascist regime are frightening.

I'm gonna try to make a summary of the most relevant things I read in portuguese media and I'll leave the links for those who can read portuguese.
Most of this information is unfortunatelly confirmed by the PressEurop articles, which you can read in other languages.

So, are you ready?

Hungary is today a proto-dictatorship in plain EU, which nobody cares about, nobody cares - neither Barroso and Merkel [as long as Hungary continues making products for other bigger and richer countries to consume with a low cost, it's alright].

Just a few examples of what happens in that hole that turned into a proto-fascist regime... After the IMF have been there a few years ago (2006, I guess):

1) The New Constitution [designed by Viktor Orbán's party, FIDESZ, which was once center-right] motto is just like portuguese Constitution during the "Estado Novo" regime (1933-1974): "God, Fatherland and Family";
2) Criminalization of the Left parties and the extreme right (because this last one, JOBBIK, is an electoral threat to FIDESZ). Opposition leaders have already been arrested during demonstrations;
3) The Government did whut down radios and vehicles of media linked with the opposition;
4) It is forbidden to be homeless and is prohibited scour and collect garbage. Anyone caught living on the street is put to work on public works, as well as the unemployed - in a program that (like Hitler) Orbán calls "the public work";
5) Jews and Gypsies (or descendant from these) are chased, beaten and maybe who knows what else;
6) «"The model is China, assured Orbán, in late June of 2011:" A country that was not dominated by Western ideas of the left, that waste time with books is the best way to improve the economic indicators. Over there [China], work is the structural pilar"»;
7) The global crisis in 2008, did the rest. The troika [IMF, UE, ECB] joined and with it, more cuts in this society proverbially melancholy (with one of the highest suicide rates in the world). Unemployment rose. The ghosts returned. Orbán realized the new feeling of fatigue in the country.
8) «The latest poll shows that only one in three Hungarians vote again if there were elections.»
9) School textbooks now include Nazi and anti-Semitic "Heroes", and hundreds of schools were donated to the Catholic Church;
10) «To avoid talking about politics (including the MTV, public TV - Magiar Television, not Music Television) is the most effective way for the media to defend themselves against the Media Authority - the organ of censorship;
11) The TEK is "new anti-terrorist police, led by the head of the bodyguard of Orbán 'that' can do intercept telephone call and make house searches without a warrant";
12) «Many cars, including Orbán's official one, bring along the registration, the symbol of "The Greater Hungary" which is the map of the country before Trianon (which included part of Slovakia, one third of Romania and Croatia), the treaty that penalized the country's defeat in World War. Today, Trianon is still the symbol of Hungarian frustrations.»... This is, chillingly equal to Hitler's Germany's "Vital Space";
13) «Since the City Council passed to the hands of JOBBIK (further extreme right), the "Hungarians" have classes on the first floor, the "gypsies" on the ground floor.»
14) «The document [the new Constitution] is so radical that the United States and the European Union considered it an attack on democracy.»
15) «In the new document, the term "Republic of Hungary" disappears and is replaced by "Hungary". Moreover, there is, first, an explicit religious reference - «God bless the Hungarians»
3) «The constitution also precludes any recognition of gay marriages and decrees the embryo as a human being from conception, preventing the legalization of abortion.»
4) «(...) the opposition radio, the Klubradio, has already lost its frequency.»

Keep reading and let the chills go down your spine. It's right next door.
Do many people talk about it? No.
Do the media pay much attention to it? No.
Do the EU care about this case? Not that much.

All the info was taken from these sites which you can read if you understand portuguese:
Viagem ao fim da democracia - Visao.pt
http://www.ionline.pt/mundo/nova-con...ortas-ditadura
Heróis, anti-semitas e nazis: a história que os húngaros não conseguem ler - Mundo - PUBLICO.PT
Eurodeputado neonazi da Hungria descobriu que tinha raízes judaicas - Mundo - PUBLICO.PT
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Old 11-06-2012, 04:06 PM   #219
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An uptade on the portuguese situation...

The Government, after intentionally destroying the economy and the ability of creating richness to grow, to pay the debt and to guarantee sustainability, now discovered that the State needs "to be refunded" as well as the "memorandum".
Now they suddenly discovered that we need to cut more €4000 millions (which is huge for our dimension).
To accomplish that they called the IFM to work on a plan to to that.
The intention is to take €500 million on the Defense area and the other €3500 millions on the Health, Education and Social Security. How? Selling it or with temporary concessions to the privates [specially the banks and the biggest portuguese economical groups] who have been flirting with businesses in these sectors for decades.
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Old 11-06-2012, 05:59 PM   #220
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I was researching a little more about Hungary, and the more I read, the scared I get. The similarities with the 1926-74 portuguese fascist regime are frightening.

I'm gonna try to make a summary of the most relevant things I read in portuguese media and I'll leave the links for those who can read portuguese.
Most of this information is unfortunatelly confirmed by the PressEurop articles, which you can read in other languages.

So, are you ready?

Hungary is today a proto-dictatorship in plain EU, which nobody cares about, nobody cares - neither Barroso and Merkel [as long as Hungary continues making products for other bigger and richer countries to consume with a low cost, it's alright].

Just a few examples of what happens in that hole that turned into a proto-fascist regime... After the IMF have been there a few years ago (2006, I guess):

1) The New Constitution [designed by Viktor Orbán's party, FIDESZ, which was once center-right] motto is just like portuguese Constitution during the "Estado Novo" regime (1933-1974): "God, Fatherland and Family";
2) Criminalization of the Left parties and the extreme right (because this last one, JOBBIK, is an electoral threat to FIDESZ). Opposition leaders have already been arrested during demonstrations;
3) The Government did whut down radios and vehicles of media linked with the opposition;
4) It is forbidden to be homeless and is prohibited scour and collect garbage. Anyone caught living on the street is put to work on public works, as well as the unemployed - in a program that (like Hitler) Orbán calls "the public work";
5) Jews and Gypsies (or descendant from these) are chased, beaten and maybe who knows what else;
6) «"The model is China, assured Orbán, in late June of 2011:" A country that was not dominated by Western ideas of the left, that waste time with books is the best way to improve the economic indicators. Over there [China], work is the structural pilar"»;
7) The global crisis in 2008, did the rest. The troika [IMF, UE, ECB] joined and with it, more cuts in this society proverbially melancholy (with one of the highest suicide rates in the world). Unemployment rose. The ghosts returned. Orbán realized the new feeling of fatigue in the country.
8) «The latest poll shows that only one in three Hungarians vote again if there were elections.»
9) School textbooks now include Nazi and anti-Semitic "Heroes", and hundreds of schools were donated to the Catholic Church;
10) «To avoid talking about politics (including the MTV, public TV - Magiar Television, not Music Television) is the most effective way for the media to defend themselves against the Media Authority - the organ of censorship;
11) The TEK is "new anti-terrorist police, led by the head of the bodyguard of Orbán 'that' can do intercept telephone call and make house searches without a warrant";
12) «Many cars, including Orbán's official one, bring along the registration, the symbol of "The Greater Hungary" which is the map of the country before Trianon (which included part of Slovakia, one third of Romania and Croatia), the treaty that penalized the country's defeat in World War. Today, Trianon is still the symbol of Hungarian frustrations.»... This is, chillingly equal to Hitler's Germany's "Vital Space";
13) «Since the City Council passed to the hands of JOBBIK (further extreme right), the "Hungarians" have classes on the first floor, the "gypsies" on the ground floor.»
14) «The document [the new Constitution] is so radical that the United States and the European Union considered it an attack on democracy.»
15) «In the new document, the term "Republic of Hungary" disappears and is replaced by "Hungary". Moreover, there is, first, an explicit religious reference - «God bless the Hungarians»
3) «The constitution also precludes any recognition of gay marriages and decrees the embryo as a human being from conception, preventing the legalization of abortion.»
4) «(...) the opposition radio, the Klubradio, has already lost its frequency.»

Keep reading and let the chills go down your spine. It's right next door.
Do many people talk about it? No.
Do the media pay much attention to it? No.
Do the EU care about this case? Not that much.

All the info was taken from these sites which you can read if you understand portuguese:
Viagem ao fim da democracia - Visao.pt
http://www.ionline.pt/mundo/nova-con...ortas-ditadura
Heróis, anti-semitas e nazis: a história que os húngaros não conseguem ler - Mundo - PUBLICO.PT
Eurodeputado neonazi da Hungria descobriu que tinha raízes judaicas - Mundo - PUBLICO.PT
Yep, just as I had thought. Strangling the life of the human being, virtually. It's pretty upsetting despite having little to no connection to the country.
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