Statement by the V21 Group

The V21 Group of former public office holders expresses its objection to the nationalization of the research institutes of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, to the removal of the National Széchényi Library from Buda Castle, and to the 1956 Institute being merged into the government-controlled Veritas Institute. The debasing of institutions of learning and research, and unjustified administrative control over them would damage Hungary’s future.

After its crippling effect on Hungary’s education system, the power grab of Fidesz has this year reached the bastions of Hungarian academe and culture. The government wants to place the research network of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, an institution with a great history, under the government’s own control. Limiting the independence of academic research can cause lasting damage to Hungary’s intellectual powerhouses. The relocation of the National Széchényi Library, with its high-tech facilities, from its actual premises in Buda Castle threatens one of the most significant repositories of Hungarian heritage. The Kilián Barracks where the government intends to transfer the Library are not suitable for the protection and maintenance of such a valuable inventory of documents.

PM Orbán’s voluntary and highly questionable interpretation of the nation’s history seeks merely to serve present political objectives. The erection, replacement or restoration of controversial monuments and statues in public spaces are not an act of respect for Hungarian historical heritage but rather an attempt to preserve the Fidesz era for posterity. Taking control of the Institute on the History of 1956, that holds so much written and verbal documentation of the 1956 Revolution, and putting it under the aegis of another institution, is motivated by the ruling party’s desire for a one-sided explanation of history that suits current political needs.

The V21 Group has shown in its analysis entitled ‘Breaking the Silence’ how the Orbán régime dismantles the institutions of democracy and blocks competition both in politics and in the economy. Rather than making the country more prosperous, this regime aims at grabbing power and at unashamedly enriching a tiny circle of people.

The local elections in autumn 2019 will provide another political opportunity for our citizens to raise their voices against Hungary being pushed further to the periphery of Europe. In all municipalities, whether villages or cities, responsible voters should support opposition candidates who are able to stand up to the political arrogance and destructive politics of the present Hungarian government. It will only be possible for society to place some checks on the actions of Fidesz if opposition parties agree to field suitable single candidates of adequate political weight in all constituencies.

 

Budapest, 20 June 2019

 

                                    Péter Balázs                                        Péter Ákos Bod

                                                           Co-chairs, V21 Group