Ferenc Gyurcsány's speech in Balatonőszöd in May 2006

Ferenc Gyurcsány's speech in Balatonőszöd in May 2006

Hungarian Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány gave a May 2006 closed meeting speech in Balatonőszöd to the "MSZP" (Hungarian Socialist Party) members of the National Assembly of Hungary. This meeting was supposed to be confidential but the Prime Minister's speech was taped and "Magyar Rádió" (Hungarian Radio) began broadcasting it late afternoon on Sunday September 17, 2006. [ [http://www.radio.hu/index.php?cikk_id=199031 Timeline of events on the web page of the Hungarian Radio] hu icon] The speech ignited mass protests around Hungary and rioting in Budapest. See 2006 protests in Hungary.

The content of the speech

Ferenc Gyurcsány's speech in Balatonőszöd, May 2006, starts with an approx. one hour long overview of the first proposed steps of the new social-liberal government. The whole text of the speech is available here (only in Hungarian): [http://www.kapcsolat.hu/index.php?cmd=/public/blog/view/id_Tc145d815a1773790c5ebf1a638f1e97/mode_archive/full_1]

English translation of the controversial (second) part of the speech:

"Whatever I could tell you here in an hour - or probably it has been even more than an hour - is of course not the whole of our politics. Naturally, it could not include a host of things, that must be done, and it could not reflect the diversity of the otherwise necessary communication, that is needed for the success. Along with this, we thank you very much for the warning and pieces of advice referring to this subject."

"If I am honest with you, I can say that we are full of doubts. That behind the self-assurance, there is torment and anguish. I know exactly that all that we are doing will not be perfect. That in a series of issues, not even that I have no clue what the sixth step is, but I don't even know the third. I know the first two. And we must, at the same time, try to take these issues forward, to maintain the cooperation and bona fide between us, to assure the support of the coalition partner " [i.e. Alliance of Free Democrats - the Hungarian Liberal Party, (Szabad Demokraták Szövetsége, a Magyar Liberális Párt, abbreviation SZDSZ)] ", to prepare the managers and leading publicists of the most influential newspapers about what they can count on. To involve them in this process. Learn not to cry out in pain every moment, and keep moving forward."

"There is no way that I can predict the consequence of all our steps. We can't. We don't have that much capacity. The truth is, that the whole team only works from 7 a.m. till night and no matter what, after a certain point it cannot be expanded more. We cannot sit with more than 12-15 people around the table, where we need to come to an agreement with governmental people, ministerial people and experts. We can't. This is the amount of talent we have, guys." "Everything that could have been done during the past one month, we did. We did whatever was possible to do in secret in the preceding months, making sure that papers on what we were preparing for would not surface in the last weeks of the election campaign. We kept the secret, while we knew and you did too, that if the election victory comes, we will have to seriously settle down to work and that we have never had such a problem. Since last summer we have been preserving our political unity and, behind it, let's say, our professional political unity as never before in recent years. Or not even ever. Obviously everything we know, the level of elaboration of our materials, leaves much room for improvement. Yes. You are right. We know exactly that we are facing a huge amount of risks. When you are telling me that we should be aware, because the Constitutional Court might send stuff back, we know that. It is not a problem that you are telling this, however believe it, we know that. A very close team is working behind Jóska Petrétei " [József Petrétei, Minister of Justice] ", *cut* because we cannot let it out to the whole ministry yet in this phase *cut* five-six-seven people. From morning to night. Literally, as I said it. To avoid mess. At certain points, we drive each other nuts to obtain the necessary amount of money. And me myself, something that had not been experienced before for a year from me, in the last one month I have started shouting and yelling maybe three times, not being able to handle the stress of all this during negotiations. Not with the colleagues, but when the political reconciliations are going on, saying 'Go to fucking hell with that. Let's move on."'

"There is not much choice. There is not, because we have fucked it up. Not a little but a lot. No European country has done something as boneheaded as we have. It can be explained. We have obviously lied throughout the past one and a half-two years. It was perfectly clear that what we were saying was not true. We are beyond the country's possibilities to such an extent that we could not conceive earlier that a joint government of the Hungarian Socialist Party and the liberals would ever do. And in the meantime, by the way, we did not do anything for four years. Nothing. You cannot mention any significant government measures that we can be proud of, apart from the fact that in the end we managed to get governance out of the shit. Nothing. If we have to give an account to the country of what we have done in four years, what are we going to say? Naturally, it is " [i.e. the government's work] " not constructed nicely, calmly or scrupulously. No. No. It is being prepared at a mad break-neck speed because we could not do it for a while in case it came to light, and now we have to do it so damned desperately that we are almost at the breaking point. And then we slowly end up falling over. Because we cannot do better in keeping up the pace. This is the situation. And in the meantime, we still have to come to an agreement with the Free Democrats because ministerial problems are still *cut* you know that."

"Look. The point is that there are no options in the shortest term. " [Finance Minister] " Jani " [János] " Veres is right. We can dither a little longer but not much. The moment of truth has arrived quickly. Divine providence, the abundance of cash in the world economy, and hundreds of tricks, which you obviously don't need to know about, have helped us to survive this. This cannot go on " [translating this sentence as "it's over", "this is the end" or "nothing more left" would be more appropriate, however neither of these would fit well in the English context] ". Cannot. And of course we can ponder for a long time, and a fucking load of analyses can be carried out as to how each social group will end up with this, that is what I can say to you. We cannot continue analysing for weeks, guys, we cannot. We must tell on the first day what needs to be done to ensure that an adjustment can be made this year and that certain tax regulations can be implemented on 1 September. I can go on analyzing for a couple of more weeks, then others who are doing this as their profession will come to me, and say that they have already went through these analyses. Hungary is written down " [It is not clear what this sentence means, not even from the context or the accentuation in the speech. In Hungarian, it can either be a resigned judgement, meaning "The fate of Hungary is already sealed. Hungary is heading to a breakdown. There's no way out." or it can be just a neutral statement, saying "We went through all the analyses on the situation of Hungary. We have all the results written down."] ". So premising that what we do is far from being perfect, I cannot tell you a 'B' version."

"With whoever influential opinion-shaper around the Hungarian Socialist Party in macroeconomy-related matters, from Kornai " [János Kornai, economist] " to Bokros " [Lajos Bokros, finance minister of the former socialist government, 1995-1996] ", from Békesi " [probably László Békesi, finance minister of the former socialist government, 1994-1995] " to Surányi " [György Surányi, economist and banker] ", from Vértes " [probably András Vértes, chairman of GKI Economic Research Co., Hungary] " to heaven-knows-who, we have discussed, suffered, yelled it through. And I must tell you as well, that we meet a lot of great ideas. Oh, gosh! And it turns out, that even the greatest ones, the most respected ones make mistakes in the order of hundreds of millions " [i.e. hundreds of million Forints, approximately from 500,000 to a couple of million USD] ". Let's lay a residential property tax on everyone! Do you know how much income it gets in from a residential property tax, in case we tax every real estate that worth more than 5 million Forints " [~25,000 USD] "? I stated a low value limit, not a hundred million " [~500,000 USD] ", but five. And by the way, we also give the 52 billion " [Forints] " to county governments, that comes in from communal tax, since we then have to give that to them, it is already their income now. The whole balance would result with less than 20 billion Forints. There comes the most influential businessman of Hungary, Sándor Demján. With an extremely loud voice, saying: 'Feri, my dear fellow, I've just read in the Sárközi-report " [probably Tamás Sárközy, governmental commissioner and university professor of law] ", that in case we close every background institutions, we will save 700-800 billion Forints. I say: 'Sanyi, my dear fellow, are you out of your mind?! At least you could know how to do calculations, for god's sake!'. There comes our fellow Gyuri " [György] " Surányi, that he got the idea in mind, how the tax immunity of statutory minimum wage can be modified while preserving " [social] " justice. And we keep working on it for a long time. Then he finally sends his piece of paper with the calculation results, and it turns out, that everything is perfect, the only thing he doesn't know, that the system of tax credit does exist in Hungary today and it also needs to be changed, which is 230 billion Forints on the whole. Oh yeah? If this 200 billion is involved in calculations, then he does not have a solution. In general, there are lots of good ideas as long as calculations do not have to be done. If calculations need to be done, then one runs out of wisdom."

"In general there is a lot of criticism, that the system is not whole enough, not self-consistent enough, everybody has ideas what to take out from it then, to let the remaining be more consistent, and then we end up with roughly one third of the money that must be collected. Oh, yeah? In that case I can also be consistent. Oh, in that case I also know a consistent system. My only problem is, that it is not 50 billion " [Forints] " that must be collected, instead, I'm-not-telling-how-much. Now this is the problem. Moreover, the whole thing must be done somehow on a way that it does not interfere with what we are willing to do in the long scale."

"Guys. We are not perfect. Not at all. We will not be either. I cannot say to you that everything will be fine. I can tell you, what I have been saying in the past one year. What can be carried out decently, what comes out from our talent, because we do not play special games, because we do not spend our energy on bullshitting with each other, because none has private interests, which otherwise would not stand publicity among us, because I am not willing to arrange something with you " [the composition of this sentence is also incomplete in Hungarian] "."

"The team to which you have entrusted the leadership of this side, this team is roughly capable of showing this much efficiency. It is roughly able to define a programme. There may be another team that can do something else. We cannot, we cannot do anything more or better than this. We will not be capable of it. Even if we work ourselves into the ground. We are doing a huge and decent job among ourselves. We must do it. I am not talking about the New Hungary, the developments, Hungarians beyond the border, relationship with churches, or another thousand things because these are not the most important things compared to the big picture. We will have substantial, significant, and profound proposals on each. One or two will cause surprise too. But compared to the whole, which we have to decide among ourselves, this is not the most important one. Reform or failure. There is nothing else. And when I say failure, I am talking about Hungary, the left wing, and I very honestly tell you, about myself, too."

"And I want to tell you now for only once three minutes " [this sentence does not make sense in Hungarian as well] ". I will only repeat this once at most. It is fantastic to do politics. Fantastic. It is fantastic to run a country. Personally, I have been able to go through the past one and a half years because one thing has given me the ambition and fuelled me: to give back its faith to the left, that it can do it and it can win. That the left does not have to lower its head in this fucking country " [The English word 'fucking' is not appropriate here, however the literal translation of 'kurva' cannot be put in the context. The word 'kurva' means 'whore' or 'bitch', also used as a vulgar prefix in cursing.] ". That it does not have to shit its pants from Viktor Orbán " [chairman of opposition Alliance of Young Democrats - Hungarian Civic Alliance, (Fiatal Demokraták Szövetsége - Magyar Polgári Szövetség, abbreviation Fidesz - MPSZ)] " or the right, and it should now learn to measure itself not against them, but against the world. This gave me the faith why it is worth doing this. It was a great thing. I loved it. It was the best part of my life. Now it " [i.e. the faith] " comes from the fact that I make history. Not for the history books, I do not give a shit about them. I do not at all care whether we or I personally will be in them. I do not at all care. Will we do something big? Are we going to say: goddammit, some people have come who dared to do it and did not fart around with how they would deal with the travel expenses, fuck it. Some came who did not fart around whether they would have a place in the county government, because they understood that this fucking " [prefix 'kurva' used again] " country is about something else. They can understand that the reason it is worth being a politician here at the beginning of the 21st Century is to create a different world. Only for this. Livelihood can be found in many other ways."

"I know that this is easy for me to say " [viz. Ferenc Gyurcsány is among the richest 100 of Hungary] ". I know. Do not keep smacking this into my face all the time. But this is the only reason it is worth doing it. I almost perished because I had to pretend for one and a half years that we were governing. Instead, we lied morning, noon and night. I do not want to carry on with this. Either we do it and you have a person for it, or someone else will do it. I will never give a single interview at the end of which we part with each other in argument. Never. I will never hurt the Hungarian left. Never. But it is only worth doing it to touch the big issues. For explaining it and then sitting on long committee meetings and then holding a new work committee, and then finding it out, that never on a single law we can make an agreement, because only those compromises are being resulted again, that is " [singular used in Hungarian as well] " basically the compromise of idleness, to preserve what was there before. Because everything else trespasses upon somebody's interest. You need another madam for that. This won't change my adoration, not at all. I won't stand up every day. Gyula Horn " [former socialist prime minister of Hungary, 1994-1998] " had this kind of minister too, who wanted to resign all the time. I had this kind of prime minister predecessor, who was saying all the time, that he, that I am not that kind of guy. While there is force in it and we keep moving forward, until that point I stay, and then once I shall sneak away in deep silence. It's not worth doing it for anything else. Everybody should decide to oneself, whether one's doing it for 400-500 thousand Forints " [~2000-2500 USD, the average monthly salary of a parliamental representative in Hungary] ", which is fucking " [prefix 'kurva' used again] " important, especially if one does not have any profession other than this, I know. Whether one will be able to move beyond the events of the last 15 years and make new *cut*..ses, or one thinks, that this will be such four years " [i.e. such a governmental period] " again, that yeah goddammit, we have survived the former one so far, we will get over this one as well. We had enough prime ministers, oh, we will get over this guy as well. We use to stay anyway. Maybe. And I also tell you that this is a legitimate argument, and it doesn't even hurt my feelings, not at all, not at all. There are not one but several people in this fraction who are eligible to be a prime minister. I tell you all, to take a deep breath, drink a fucking " [prefix 'kurva' used again] " huge amount of wine, sleep on it for a couple of nights, and make up your minds. If everyone can say only what has always been said in the past years, and does not get to say 'well, damn it, maybe I have to say something else than I used to say for five years because we could not, apparently, come to an agreement with each other'. Because if all the one hundred and ninety " [i.e. socialist representatives in the Hungarian Parliament] " keeps saying the same sentences one has been saying in the past years, then similarly, nothing is going to happen, because we similarly won't be able to come to an agreement. Fuck it, although I don't agree, I let it go. They do it for the first time. Other times, *cut* let it go, to let them do it. It is not a reform to wait for others to change. It is not a reform, by the way, that we stand out and keep telling the people the mantra. The reform is, that we are willing to reassess everything we have thought and done before in many aspects. Compared to this, the matter of the first months, the matter of the adjustment is just a simple constraint, I must admit that to you. You are wrong at the point, if you think that you have a choice. You don't. Neither do I. Today, at best, the choice is whether we try to influence what is happening, or it will damn fall on us. Our solution is not perfect, you are right in that, surely not, but we don't know a better way. Such that we can make an agreement on with the majority of the professional sector, that we can make the markets accept, that we can make the coalition partner accept. We, who do it at the top, from Béla " [probably Béla Katona, floor leader deputy of the Hungarian Socialist Party] " to Jani " [János] " Veres, from Péter Kiss [socialist representative, recent first commissioner of works] to Ildikó " [Ildikó Lendvai, floor leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party] ", from Imre Szekeres " [socialist representative, recent secretary of war] " to Hiller " [István Hiller, socialist representative, recent minister for education and culture] ", and let's say me, we believe that it is by and large right. Because they are the ones, all of them has to believe it. Alone, separately we can do other things as well, but we are not separate, instead, some ten of us are sitting around the table, and we have to accept it."

"I think, that it can be done. I think, there will be conflicts guys, yes, there will be. There will be protests, there will be. It is allowed to protest in front of the Parliament... Sooner-or-later they will get bored of it and go home. It can only, it can only be carried out, if in the substance, in the substance you believe and in the substance there is an agreement. By-passing the conflicts between us, to be afraid of the fact, that we trespass interests, then it not ought to be started, not made to be. I don't insist on anything. It is not true to the effect that I'm wedded to, that I have something in my mind, that it has to be the way in the healthcare system, that it has to be the way in... Tut. I organize these discussions, I mediate them, I open up the fellas, in order to let them tell what they have inside. I don't dictate. It's not true. If I dictate, it's only when they want to slow down and they don't want to come to an agreement, saying 'get moving, goddammit!'. I deem this to be my job. And when we came to an agreement, not to let them slow down. It's not about that I have the scenario on Hungary written from A to Z, and I'm saying that I will beat that out from you. Bullshit! I have a scenario from A to Z on how that huge amount of energy hidden inside the socialists can be used in changing the country, make them put into it, make them finally overcome their defeatism, and their old verities. On this, I have one " [scenario] ". And when it finally gets too much for me, I shout it out. I don't have a personal story in this matter, not at all. I got a great snitch from what I've had the opportunity to do in the last one and a half year. My personal story is to let us change this fucking " [prefix 'kurva' used again] " country, because who else is going to do it? Is it going to be Viktor Orbán " [chairman of opposition] " with his team? Or option 'C': nothing is going to happen. It is feasible to flounder further for a while. It is obvious, that the matter of the healthcare system is complicated. But whoever of us goes into a healthcare institution, knows, that it is built on a set of lies. It is obvious, that it's extremely hard to touch anything in the educational system. But yes, we see, that it does not distribute knowledge equally. Somebody among you said, that after all it is - maybe it was Gergő Arató " [representative of the socialist party] " - that after all it is the greatest injustice, you know, that the Hungarian educational system on the one hand amplifies social differences between us, it does not attenuate them, and it also segregates as well. This is the really huge problem, this is the big concern! And the big concern is, that we offer the free-of-charge public education to those, you know, those coming from the best families. According to this it is not the scandal, that it has to be paid in 3 percent installments. If there is a scandal in the society, then it is that the top ten thousand reproduce themselves using public money. And we do not dare to say this out, and we shit ourselves to say, that for that matter one should pay the 7 percent. Do not indulge ourselves here. This is the real scandal. The real scandal is, that on who Laci " [unknown representative from the socialist party with first name 'László'] " is talking about, his gipsy men, they get tenth the quality of the healthcare service I get. And since my mother, my mother's name is known in Pápa " [Ferenc Gyurcsány's hometown] " and they call her Katus " [pet name for 'Katalin'] ", she also gets better one, fuck me " [the original expression used here could be literally translated as 'fucking life', even if the word 'kurva' is used again as a prefix of 'life' instead of 'fucking'] "! She did not know, what had happened. 'Has the healthcare system improved, my son?' I reply: 'Bullshit, mom! The truth is that they recognize your name.' This is scandalous. Compared to this, in a social sense the admission for medical attention " [i.e. 300Ft (~1.5 USD) per each visits in a doctor's office as a starting rate] " is nothing. It is not a scandal, it is unpleasant politically, and to pay it. Because politically it can have heavy consequences. But frankly, this consequence only corresponds to us, if we are idiots. Its social consequence, that corresponds to everybody. We do not dare to touch a bunch of evident social lies, because we are afraid of the political consequences affecting us."

"But ladies and gentlemen! This is a couple of hundred people's and their families' and their acquaintanceship's problem, ours. But one shouldn't be a politician just because one can make a fucking good living from this. Because we have already forgotten, how it is to be a car polisher. Instead, it is because we want to solve these. And by the way it is just the last four years' experience, it is just the experience of Gyula Horn's " [socialist prime minister, 1994-1998] " governance, that people use to fail " [i.e. lose the elections] " not for doing something, or not for doing nothing. To hell, for what then actually? We need to start going. We need to know, what we want to do. The first couple of years will be direful, of course. It is totally irrelevant, that only 20 percent of the population is going to vote for us. Last summer, first time in the last eight years out of 100 people only 18 said that they are going to vote for us according to Szonda " [i.e. Szonda Ipsos, a Hungarian media, opinion and market research institute] ". Last summer, guys! One year after, we won. What if we didn't lose our popularity because we are fucking each other but because we deal with great social matters? And it doesn't matter if we temporary lose the support, our support of the public. After all we will regain it. Because they will understand it. And one can go to the countryside calmly, by knowing that we did it, goddammit. Doesn't it become better for everyone? They are right. But for him, and him, and her, and there were dormitories built in this maggoty country once again. This is what politics is about. It is not about who is going to become a regional mayor, how many deputies one will have. It is also important, I know, I'm not naive. But it is not in the most important one hundred problems of the country. And we are the ones to decide which one to take care of, we. And I think the country deserves it, and we deserve it too to do such things."

"So what I can say to you is to stop, is to do it. You have a lot of truth in warnings, in the fear for us, in matters on details. I can only say, that I will play no games, neither this way, nor that way. We are doing our job. Until it is possible to go the pace, we go the pace. If it is not possible to go, and you explain it, that 'Yes, BUT...' For that I think you don't need me. You need someone else for that. And I will write fucking good books about the modern Hungarian left " [viz. Ferenc Gyurcsány already wrote a book on this subject in 2005, entitled 'In Transit' (Útközben)] "."


"What? Do I need to say anything else, Ildikó " [Ildikó Lendvai, floor leader of the Hungarian Socialist Party] "?"

(May 26, 2006. Balatonőszöd)

Excerpts from the speech with their translations

Obscene and offensive excerpts

Not only the content but also the obscenity of the speech has been heavily criticized. In response to the criticism concerning the obscenities, Ferenc Gyurcsány emphasises that "these words were the words of objurgation, passion and love". ("Ezek a korholás, a szenvedély és a szeretet szavai voltak") [http://www.icenter.hu/cgi-bin/automatic/bianko.pl?szo=4800&cikk=0609285045007] .

While giving the speech, Ferenc Gyurcsány has used - among others - the Hungarian word "szar" (i.e. shit) or its related terms ("szarból", "beszarni" etc.) eight times and the word "kurva" (i.e. bitch, whorish, fucking) seven times. The following table presents some of the obscene remarks - of which not everything has been translated by the foreign (i.e. non-Hungarian) press in general - with their corresponding translations.

Other excerpts

As a reaction to the speech Viktor Orbán, chairman of Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union, has called Ferenc Gyurcsány "a sick liar" ("beteges hazudozó") whom his party considers as "a person who is a part of history and the past" ("a történelemhez és a múlthoz tartozó személy"). [http://www.mno.hu/index.mno?cikk=375107&rvt=2] [http://index.hu/politika/belfold/ov0821/] In addition to the excerpts above, the following table contents excerpts from the speech for which Ferenc Gyurcsány has received heavy criticism.

See also

* Ferenc Gyurcsány
* 2006 protests in Hungary


* A teljes balatonőszödi szöveg (The whole text from the Balatonőszöd speech. In Hungarian): http://nol.hu/cikk/417593/
* The speech in mp3 format: http://dl.index.hu/dl/sziget/fleto/oszod5.mp3
* The speech on the blog of Ferenc Gyurcsány (Hungarian) - http://blog.amoba.hu/blog-3.php?oid=Tc145d815a1773790c5ebf1a638f1e97
* Ferenc Gyurcsány: "These words were the words of objurgation, passion and love". ("Ezek a korholás, a szenvedély és a szeretet szavai voltak", Hungarian) - http://www.icenter.hu/cgi-bin/automatic/bianko.pl?szo=4800&cikk=0609285045007
* Viktor Orbán: "This person [i.e. Ferenc Gyurcsány] is a sick liar." ("Ez egy beteges hazudozó.", Hungarian) - http://www.mno.hu/index.mno?cikk=375107&rvt=2
* Fidesz - Hungarian Civic Union considers Ferenc Gyurcsány as "a person who is a part of history and the past". ("a történelemhez és a múlthoz tartozó személy", Hungarian) - http://index.hu/politika/belfold/ov0821/
* English translation by BBC - http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/5359546.stm
* English report as seen on BBC - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7kh5TsREt4A

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