Open letter: Dear Prime Minister Orban

Prime Minister,

Dear Mr Orban,

We are not blind to the situation in your country. We know you are confronted with an aggressive extremist party. We know Hungary was in the frontline of the refugee-crisis. But other countries faced with similar challenges have reacted quite differently.

Whatever tough language you choose to use concerning your favourite scape-goat ‘Brussels’, know that extremists will always go above and beyond in their level of aggressiveness and negativity, in particular towards the EU.

So, if I were in your shoes, I would change my tone altogether: consider starting to emphasize the support, both in terms of money and other, which your country receives from ‘Brussels’, every year again.

25 billion euro in total, from now until 2020. 25 billion for investment in infrastructure, support for jobs, funds for businesses, research and education. That’s 2.532 euro on average for every Hungarian. Besides that, Budapest is the seat of the prestigious, EU-funded, European Institute for Technology.

Why not focus on those great works and shows of European solidarity, from which your government budget and every Hungarian citizen benefits?

It is difficult, even impossible for us to understand that one ferociously continues to attack the European Union while having to acknowledge that ‘Brussels’, or more precisely the other Member States, invest billions of euros in Hungary, a boost for the Hungarian economy and people.

Prime Minister,

Solidarity is a two-way street. We are willing to continue the constructive and fruitful cooperation with our Hungarian colleagues. We count on you to do the same towards the EU and provide a robust solution – not window-dressing, but a future-proof solution – for the Central European University. A solution which allows this icon of higher education in Europe to continue its work in Budapest, with full respect for its operational nature and academic freedom.

Ivo Belet