After 12 years after the abolishment of compulsory military service in Hungary, the debate over the matter was brought back to the political agenda on January 16, 2016, when László Kövér, Speaker of the National Assembly expressed his regret over the abolishment of the compulsory military service and described it as a “disastrous mistake”.
Since 1993, the great majority of public institutions have been managed by local governments. The introduction of KLIK (Klebelsberg Institution Maintenance Centre) led to a myriad of changes in the everyday life of every teacher and student. Financial centralization has transformed previously easy everyday tasks into heavily bureaucratic and difficult.
Since the middle of January, the question of conscription has been in the center of public attention in Hungary. Leader of the parliamentary group of Fidesz expressed plans to change the current system but did not mention any exact agenda. The majority of opposition parties immediately objected the idea.
Hungarian educational institutions have been struggling with insufficient funding for a long time. Yet, the reforms aiming to tackle these challenges ended up damaging the education system. Tension is increasing between teachers and the government, with no solution in sight.
According to the right wing public opinion, George Soros is one of these “money men”, who support left parties and civil organizations with the purpose of subduing the Christian-conservative course. There is heavy animosity towards civil organizations coming from the political right.
One thing Hungarian citizens, businessmen and politicians all agree on, is that rampant corruption is one of the main problems of the country. This situation calls for the increased transparency of government institutions, and for providing easily accessible information regarding the handling of public funds.
Never before in the past decade has the need been so great for the civic movements to unite and respond to the threat from the East. To answer this need Free Market Foundation has organized an international conference in Budapest on June 22, titled “Europe vs Russia”.
Hungary’s Prime Minister Victor Orbán won his second consecutive term in a landside election last month. The governing Fidesz party managed to retain its absolute majority as the result of arguable new election laws and a highly inept opposition. Even more disturbingly Hungary’s infamous far-right Jobbik emerged as the second biggest party in the country.
The joint event of the Hungarian Free Market Foundation and Political Capital was searching for answers to the ever present questions such as: what is the program of the far-right, how certain far right groups in Europe differ, should the media give these parties a voice, what effective counter strategies exist and is it possible that these parties form a partnership in the EU parliament.