Thanks to the Junge Europäishe Bewegung and to the Jeunes En Marche who were invited we could listen and meet Andras Fekete-Györ yesterday night in Berlin.
Andras Fekete-Györ is a young Hungarian citizen (28 years old) already well known in Hungary for having organised the petition against the organisation of the Olympic Games in Hungary. In a poor country the money would be better used in some social or medical infrastructure. The message was so logical that for the first time Orban had to retreat, It was the very first successful and massive No to Orban since 2010.
Last year Andras Fekete-Györ created a new political party called Momentum, which counts currently 1‘500 members, and which will run for the parliamentary vote in April 2018 for the first time. Nothing predestined Andras to become a politician although he got a first taste during a internship in Germany. Andras Fekete-Györ made his PhD in law in Budapest, and already gathered interesting international experience, with 2 years in the university of law of Heidelberg, an internship in the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris (2014), a trainee in the EuroParliament in 2015-16, and a year (2016) as assistant of Hans-Peter Friedrich, Member of the Bundestag.
In 2010 Mr Fekete-Györ voted for FIDESZ, but very quickly lost his confidence in this government, before falling like most of the Hungarian citizens into a total political apathy. The wake-up came in 2014 during the next parliament vote when Mr Fekete-Györ could not vote for FIDESZ anymore but could not trust the leaders of the opposition neither. It became clear to him that Hungary needed a new political offer, and that if nobody would react the country would continue to fall. Andras Fekete-Györ dreamed about bringing some honesty into a totally corrupted political environment, and he decided to engage this route.
The objective is not to offer a complex ideological architecture but to:
– wake up people from their current political apathy,
– give positive messages where all the other political forces are negative and depressing,
– bring political peace in Hungary.
Momentum wants to focus on common goals of the society. The movement promotes much more concrete actions than any theoretical ideology. The campaign against the Olympic Game is a good example of this, as the European marches which were organised for the visit of Putin in Budapest and for the 1st of May. Momentum does not like to organise big conferences but rather like gathering people to act together, to collect signatures, to demonstrate, or to clean or refurbish some city infrastructures, like schools or bus stations. Momentum also teach people how to code. Helping and being in the community is an important line of conduct for this movement.
The Hungarian society is very much divided, anonymous, and negative. There is no civil engagement in Hungary. This is also why Momentum wants to offer to its members and to the Hungarian citizens in general some warm and rewarding community experience. The party has even a Website to facilitate the organisation of common actions to solve local issues.
If asked, Momentum would defend a ‘‘controlled free market economy‘‘, or would define itself as centrist if we really need a precise definition. But the movement is more attached to render politics a bit more sexy and human than the grey and sleeping landscape that is delivered in Hungary today.
Momentum is currently actively organising a campaign asking for a referendum in order to try to reject the law which obliges the NGO receiving any financial help from abroad to register as foreign agents. Like in Putin’s Russia. The collection of signatures started on Monday this week.
One of the biggest issues in Hungary is the level of corruption everywhere. Andras Fekete-Györ very much advocates here the independence of the justice to solve this issue. In his view this independence should be enough in order to efficiently fight against this great illness of the Hungarian society. But the basic pieces of a democratic architecture are again missing in Hungary.
Momentum also fights against Orban‘s unacceptable behaviour against Soros. Orban‘s campaign is supported by nothing but the willingness to create a Feinbild, an artificial enemy in oder to better unify Hungary behind Orban. And unfortunately this is working very well.
Andras Fekete-Györ defines himself as a true patriot, which excludes nationalism. Andras wants the young Hungarian to have a future in Hungary and not only find a solution in emigration. Himself he spent long time abroad in Europe but always wanted to come back, which he did.
Andras Fekete-Györ is a strong believer of the European project, although he very much criticises the current Europe, and although he does not think that the United States of Europe are for tomorrow. He does not deliver any structured vision of Europe but has a few precise ideas on few topics. And his main purpose is today to counter the extremely negative message that Orban conveys on Europe. Fekete-Györ is a believer of a more integrated Europe and he shall campaign in April for a more European Hungary.
He is true defender of a European Defence and does not think Trump’s America is reliable enough in order to protect Central and Eastern Europe against Putin‘s Russia.
He also fully supports the achievement of the Banking Union.
He favours control on immigration and even supports the fence which was built at the boundary of Hungary ‚‘‘because Hungary has responsibilities toward Shengen‘‘. He nevertheless fully condemns the violence made by the Hungarian forces against immigrants.
He accepts the principle of a multi-speed Europe, fully understands that it is not being useful to the European project to be obliged to always wait for the slower members of the European club. Nevertheless he is proud enough for Hungary in order to favour an entry into the eurozone as quickly as possible, for Hungary to belong to the first european circle. This is a question that Orban does not want to raise, because it would create a too much uncomfortable debate.
Andras Fekete-Györ miss a European prosecution system which would allow to really defend the rule of law everywhere in Europe. He suggests Europe could condition the disbursement of her help to the respect of the basic democratic rights and principles. He regrets the passivity of Europe face to the situation in Hungary, where Orban‘s behaviour would definitely need to be severely sanctioned.
But before even envisaging to have such a European prosecutor the European political parties should start by differentiating them from FIDESZ, which stays apparently very much welcome among the EPP in the European Parliament. Europeans lost so much their own values, and are ready to betray them so much, that they prefer to continue accepting FIDESZ then losing the weight of its MPs in the European Parliament.
Andras Fekete-Györ looks with sympathy to Emmanuel Macron, although he seems to be prudent on his chance of success. He very much likes the idea of the European Democratic Conventions, and wants to use them in order to bring Europe closer to the people in Hungary. People don’t clearly understand why it is worth defending the European project and this although Hungary receives a lot of money from the EU. Unfortunately this money very often goes to corruption and here again a European prosecution system is needed.
On Europe as on the rest the approach is more practical than theoretical. No big conceptual architecture but some concrete points like the idea to have the European citizens directly electing the President of the Commission
Mr Fekete-Györ thinks that Hungarian become now fed up with all the negative campaigns of Orban and are willing to listen to more positive narratives. Momentum has good chance in this respect. But the movement remains young, the first priority is today to develop a dense network of activists everywhere in Hungary. This objective could be even more important than the results of next Parliament vote.
Momentum seems to have a nice success among the young community of the Hungarian people living abroad. There are Momentum’s committees in Berlin, Hamburg and Munich, and we shall develop contacts with them.
Let us follow what Momentum will become and let us wish them success and pertinence.