"Soros plan" makes another appearance in a National Consultation

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"The pandemic is a serious thing, it shouldn't be played with, so I think it is time that we utilized the National Consultation," Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said during a weekly radio interview on Friday. 

The National Consultation will concern the coronavirus and the restarting of the Hungarian economy, Orbán said, including which economic measures should stay in place and what additional measures should be introduced. 

"I will also ask...whether we should implement the George Soros plan of issuing perpetual bonds with no expiration, which would result in debt slavery," Orbán said, referring to a proposal by the Hungarian-American financier that the European Union issue perpetual bonds to finance the economic recovery of member states.

National Consultations, first used by the Fidesz-led government in 2010, are a publicly-funded, non-scientific questionnaire sent to every adult in Hungary ostensibly to measure public opinion, and have been criticized for containing leading questions and distorted information. In 2017, then Fidesz vice president Gergely Gulyás acknowledged that the consultations are in fact not opinion surveys, and that "any normal-thinking person can only answer the questions in one way".

The upcoming National Consultation will not be the first to invoke George Soros: in 2017, the government launched a consultation on "the Soros Plan" which insisted that the financier was working to force the European Union to settle "at least one million migrants per year from the Middle East and Africa".

A billboard publicizing the National Consultation on the "Soros plan" in 2017.Fotó: ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP

A previous National Consultation was planned for mid-March which would have addressed topics including the "prison business", the proposed tightening of conditions for parole, restitution payments for Roma victims of school segregation in Gyöngyöspata, and the suspicion of judicial corruption surrounding the case of construction company Szeviép. That consultation was interrupted by the coronavirus crisis.

The newest consultation will be mailed in early June, the Government Information Center announced on Monday.

Uniformed guards coming to Hungarian schools

A proposal submitted to Parliament on Wednesday would introduce uniformed guards to Hungarian schools in order to manage and prevent school violence.

According to Menedzsment Fórumthe guards, which will be composed of former police officers, would be authorized to carry batons and handcuffs and could use physical force and chemical deterrents on students if necessary. They would be required to pass exams on authorized measures and punishments, as well as tests on their knowledge of pedagogy and child psychology. The fitness of guards would be evaluated by police every two years. 

Fotó: Balázs Attila/MTI/MTVA

Additionally, the proposal would allow for a one-year suspension of family support allowances for families with children who have committed violent offences. The government has also recommended lowering the criminal age limit to 12 for students who physically abuse teachers. 

The Democratic Union of Teachers (PDSZ), which opposes the introduction of school guards, posted an article on its Facebook page which draws on a study of the efficacy of school guards in the United States.

"The operation of school police and the increase in their numbers are by no means preventive in terms of school violence, but rather criminalizes students," the article reads.

A member of the board of PDSZ told RTL Klub that "citizens should not be educated using police state methods", and that the government should have conducted a social dialogue on the matter before authoring the proposal.

The government took up the cause of protecting teachers in schools after a 17-year-old student in Győr stabbed his teacher in a classroom last December. The woman survived the attack.

Fradi player receives reprimand for George Floyd shirt

The Hungarian soccer federation issued a written reprimand to South Sudanese midfielder Tokmac Nguen Chol after he lifted his jersey to reveal a shirt which said "Justice For George Floyd". 

Nguen Chol showed his undershirt with the written message after shooting a goal for his team Ferencváros, or Fradi. George Floyd, who was African American, was killed by a white police officer in Minneapolis, Minnesota on May 25, sparking a historic wave of protests and riots in hundreds of US cities.

The federation's disciplinary committee issued the reprimand on Monday, writing that the player had "worn prohibited writing on his clothing", and that any further offences would result in an "actual penalty". FIFA, the international football organization, prohibits the display of any political messages on the field.

The Hungarian soccer federation's spokesman told 444 that the disciplinary committee could have suspended Nguen Chol for up to four matches or issued him with a fine, and that the decision to issue the smallest possible punishment was a significant sign of the federation's stance on the matter.

Unions oppose "Slave Law 2.0"

Five union confederations have written a letter to MPs asking them not to pass a proposal which would extend working time reference periods to as much as 24 months.

The proposal, which the unions are calling the "Slave Law 2.0", is included in an omnibus bill submitted by Deputy Prime Minister Zsolt Semjén on "transitional rules and health care preparedness related to the cessation of the state of emergency". According to the bill, in the case of "job creating investments", the reference period for measuring average labor hours would be extended to 24 months, giving employers more freedom to require employees to work more than the maximum 48 hours per week on average.

These measures could only be utilized if the implementation of the investment is "in the national economic interest", but the bill leaves unclear the question of how such a qualification would be determined.

The unions argue that they were not consulted on the proposal, and that the extension of the reference period exceeds the EU maximum of 12 months, which can only be established through a collective agreement. They also argued that the measures would weaken their bargaining power, and give the Minister for Employment Policy unilateral authority to extend reference periods without any agreement between unions and employers.

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