Connect with us


The 100-year wound that Hungary cannot forget



Hungary lost two-thirds of its territory in the 1920 Trianon treaty and now aims to revive its past.

The 100-year wound that Hungary cannot forget

The new Monument of National Solidarity is directly in line with the main entrance of parliament

Image copyrightTamas Wachsler/Flickr

Exactly 100 years ago, in the Trianon palace at Versailles, two medium-ranking Hungarian officials signed away two thirds of their country, and 3.3 million of their compatriots.

A new monument has appeared in the past weeks in front of parliament in Budapest, among many already erected by Viktor Orban’s government to Hungary’s past glories.

For Hungary the 1920 treaty was a national wound that still festers to this day. Mr Orban’s message to the world is that Hungary must now be respected. For his critics, he has dug deeper into that wound.

What Hungary lost in the Treaty of Trianon

As the Austro-Hungarian empire fell apart at the end of World War One, historic Hungary was forced to cede what is now Slovakia, Vojvodina, Croatia, part of Slovenia, Ruthenia, the Burgenland and Transylvania to the new states of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia, to a much-enlarged Romania, and even to Austria, a fellow loser in the war.

US President Woodrow Wilson’s proposal for the self-determination of all national minorities was valid for everyone, except Hungary. 

National groups, which had long felt oppressed by the Hungarians, claimed their own sovereignty while Hungarians found themselves suddenly divided among several states.

Mainland Hungary was shaken from 1918 to 1921 by violence perpetrated both by occupying troops and by Hungarians against each other. Four months of communist “Red Terror” in 1919 was followed by the “White Terror”, carried out by Adm Miklos Horthy’s National Army militia.

Horthy was regent from 1920-44 and later refused to apologise for the atrocities, arguing that “only an iron broom can sweep the country clean”.

Attempts to revise Trianon through the 1920s and 30s led directly to Hungarian participation in World War Two on the side of Nazi Germany.

Hitler was the only European statesman who offered them the return of territory.

What is the point of the new monument?

A national trench, or tomb, shelves gently beneath street level directly in line with the main entrance of parliament in Budapest.

Stainless steel letters depict the names of all the towns and villages of historic Hungary according to their size in the last, pre-war census in 1910. At the centre of the hard granite Monument of National Solidarity, is an eternal flame.

The anniversary of the Treaty of Trianon is a difficult balancing act for the Orban government.

By pursuing alliances with the governments of Serbia, Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Poland, Mr Orban is fond of saying that Hungary has broken out of its “hundred years of solitude”.

What do the neighbours think?

But Romania, Ukraine, and to a certain extent Austria, watch his actions with distrust. Romania will this year celebrate the Trianon Treaty officially for the first time.

“All these years we took note… of the many political statements coming from Budapest, which were very offensive for Romania,” former Romanian foreign minister Titus Corlatean told the BBC.

He proposed the legislation, passed by the Romanian Parliament, to celebrate Trianon day. “I do not understand why the Romanians should be shy of marking what was fundamental for their history, because we don’t want to offend anyone.”

Apart from the monument, the Hungarian parliament will hold a commemorative session. 

Church bells will be rung. And at 16:30 (14:30 GMT), at the request of liberal Budapest Mayor Gergely Karacsony – a fierce opponent of Viktor Orban – all transport will grind to a halt in the capital, as people observe a minute’s silence.

A new musical will be performed in the Operett theatre, entitled They Tore It Apart. Nationalist group “Our Homeland” will distribute black armbands.

“We don’t need to forget Trianon. That would be impossible,” said the opposition Democratic Coalition party in a statement. “But mourning about Trianon can no longer be the focus of Hungarian politics, because, apart from the fact it leads nowhere, it paralyses, makes it incapable of action, it also consumes the moral and political power of the homeland.”

“No other nation or country could have survived what happened to us 100 years ago. And we should be really proud of our existence,” government spokesman Zoltan Kovacs told the BBC.




Vietnamese, Lao defence ministries ink cooperation plan for 2021



The ministries of national defence of Vietnam and Laos agreed to continue promoting the effectiveness of cooperation mechanisms during their leaders’ talks in Hanoi on December 4.

Vietnamese, Lao defence ministries ink cooperation plan for 2021 hinh anh 1

The defence ministers of Vietnam and Laos exchange the signed 2021 cooperation plan in Hanoi on December 4 

General Ngo Xuan Lich, Politburo member, Vice Secretary of the Central Military Commission and Minister of National Defence, affirmed that Vietnam always treasures the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation with Laos, and that the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence will keep sharing experience with and assisting Laos in COVID-19 response and helping the Lao People’s Army improve its capacity.

For his part, General Chansamone Chanyalath, Politburo member and Minister of National Defence of Laos, offered sympathies over the losses suffered by the Vietnamese army and people during the recent floods in the central region.

He congratulated Vietnam on its fulfillment of the 2020 ASEAN Chairmanship, including the successful organisation of ASEAN military – defence meetings, amid complex developments of the global and regional security situation and impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He affirmed that his ministry will continue supporting Vietnam to successfully hold the 14th ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and the 7th ADMM Plus next week.

Laos attaches utmost importance to the great friendship, special solidarity, and comprehensive cooperation with Vietnam, the minister emphasised, appreciating the Vietnamese Defence Ministry and military units’ support and assistance for the Lao army in many aspects, including the exchange of experience and provision of medical supplies in the COVID-19 fight.

Expressing their delight at defence cooperation outcomes obtained this year, the officials pointed out that despite complex developments of the global, regional, and COVID-19 situation, cooperation between the two armies have still developed unceasingly, helping to ensure defence – security stability and socio-economic development in each nation and deserving its status as an important pillar in the countries’ relations.

Both sides have also fruitfully carried out the 2020 cooperation plan, they said, highlighting the timely mutual assistance in sharing anti-pandemic experience and provision of medical supplies.

This reflected the two defence ministries’ proactiveness, timeliness, and flexibility in the face of the new context, as well as their resolve to not let COVID-19 affect bilateral defence ties, according to the ministers.

For 2021, they agreed to coordinate in directing their defence ministries’ agencies to effectively implement cooperation deals between the two Parties, States, and defence ministries.

The ministries will further consolidate and promote the effectiveness of cooperation mechanisms, especially the defence policy dialogue at the deputy minister level.

Besides, they will increase all-level mutual visits, boost coordination between their border management and guarding forces in combating trans-national crimes like smuggling and drug trafficking, and step up border patrols as well as the management of the shared borderline, border gates, and border crossings to thoroughly prevent illegal exit and entry so as to help prevent COVID-19 transmission.

They will also continue to share army building experience and guarantee political stability and social order and safety in each country, thereby contributing to the success of their countries’ national Party congresses.

Concluding the session, the two defence ministers signed the cooperation plan for 2021 between their ministries./.VNA


Continue Reading


Deputy PM addresses UNSC’s debate on UN-African Union cooperation



Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh addressed a debate of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) regarding the cooperation between the UN and the African Union (AU), held on December 4.

Deputy PM addresses UNSC’s debate on UN-African Union cooperation hinh anh 1

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh addresses the debate 

The debate was under the chair of President of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.

In his remarks, Minh spoke highly of Africa’s efforts and the role of the AU and sub-regional organisations in promoting regional integration and socio-economic development over the recent past.

Meanwhile, challenges such as terrorism, transnational crime, climate change, food and water security, the COVID-19 pandemic and ebola, have dealt a heavy blow to peace and stability in many countries in the region, and even posed the risk of worsening current conflicts and instability, he added.

The Vietnamese official affirmed that the UN-AU cooperation serves as an important framework for the implementation of security and peace initiatives in the region, via the utilisation of international support and expertise, as well as the role of regional mechanisms like the AU, which help prevent and address conflicts in Africa.

On such basis, he put forth some suggestions to bolster the UN-AU cooperation, which are to enhance the coordinating role of the AU in handling regional conflicts and to elevate the AU-UN strategic partnership.

He also suggested the expansion of inter-regional cooperation, and underlined the sound traditional friendship between Vietnam and African nations.

The cooperation between the UN and regional organisations is always among Vietnam’s top priorities during its current term as a non-permanent member of the UNSC, which was realised through an initiative to hold the first ever meeting on ASEAN-UN cooperation while Vietnam served as the President of the UNSC in January.

Vietnam always stands ready to actively contribute to the cooperation process in an endeavour to strengthen the ASEAN-AU partnership in the coming time, for the common benefits of Asia and Africa.

At the debate, delegates hailed the UN-AU strategic partnership and contributions by the AU to advocating peace, security and development in Africa. The UN and the AU need to further deepen cooperation in responding to global challenges, preventing and handling regional conflicts, they stressed.

They also affirmed that the cooperation framework between the UN and regional organisations must be maintained and consolidated in keeping with Chapter VIII of the UN Charter. 

They highly valued significant achievements gained through the UN-AU cooperation over the years, which contributed to the political-peace and socio-economic process in many nations like Central African Republic, South Sudan and Sudan.

Participants also expressed their concern at the complicated developments in other countries such as Libya, Yemen, Somalia, and the Sahel and Lake Chad region, voicing a hope that the AU and the UN will continue close cooperation to handle global challenges and address the root causes of the conflicts.

Launched in 2002, the AU is a continental body consisting of 55 member states that make up the countries of the African Continent, with a combined population of 1.3 billion and accounting for 3 percent of the global GDP.

The union acts as an observer at the UN General Assembly. In December 2018, the UNSC held the first debate on the UN-AU cooperation, with a focus on boosting finance for peacekeeping operations on the continent./.VNA


Continue Reading


Gov’t commits to gaining 2.5%-GDP growth target



While Vietnam continues to pursue the dual target of containing the pandemic and boosting economic recovery, protecting people’s lives remain the government’s utmost priority, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has said.

Gov’t commits to gaining 2.5%-GDP growth target
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the monthly government meeting. Photo: Quang Hieu/Hanoitimes

The Vietnamese government is committed to ensuring the GDP growth target of 2.5 – 3% for this year, stressed Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc at the monthly government meeting on December 2.

Among other key economic indicators, Mr. Phuc said the inflation rate is on track to stay below the 4% target, given the average consumer price index (CPI), a gauge of inflation, expanding by 3.51% year-on-year in the first 11 months of this year.

Total goods retail sales and services revenue along with industrial production are recovering, thanks to growing demand in final months of the year, he noted.

“Agricultural exports could meet the year’s target of US$41 billion, while Vietnam continues to be Southeast Asia’s top food exporter,” stressed Mr. Phuc, adding that as the trade surplus in the January-November period reaching a record high of US$20 billion, the figure would be likely to exceed the one attained in the same period of 2019.

“Vietnam’s efforts in global integration, including the signing of recent free trade deals, have contributed positively to such result, especially as global trade revenue is set to decline by 15%  this year,” added Mr. Phuc.

Mr. Phuc went on as saying the EU – Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) that became effective in early August has contributed to higher exports to the EU. Notably, the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), which is scheduled to take effect in the next 18 months, will bring “more opportunities for export, trade, tourism and serve as a key factor for Vietnam to pushing forward with administrative reform and improving business environment.”

With public investment seen as a key measure to boost economic recovery, the Government leader also highlighted a 5-year high rate of public funds disbursement at nearly 80% of the year’s target in the first 11 months of this year, representing an increase of 34% year-on-year.

The tasks ahead

At the meeting, Mr. Phuc also pointed to existing challenges to socio-economic development, including serious Covid-19 situation globally; trade and technological tensions between major economies; and climate change with associated natural disasters.

“Uncertainties surrounding financial markets could lead to asset and financial bubbles, for which government agencies should closely monitor the global situation,” he noted.

Mr. Phuc urged ministries and sectors to continue pursuing the dual target of containing the pandemic and boosting economic recovery.

Mentioning nearly 41.000 enterprises having resumed operation in the January–November period, or an increase of 11% inter-annually, as sign of positive economic prospect, the PM expressed concern over the number of enterprises temporarily ceasing operations that remained high at 44,400, a surge of 59.7% year-on-year.

“More supports are required from local authorities to aid businesses overcoming this difficult period,” stated Mr. Phuc.

In addition to public investment, Mr. Phuc called for higher mobilization of private capital, including domestic- and foreign-invested sources. In this regard, the PM expected substantial solutions to improve investment environment for business community, while grasping opportunities from a shift of global supply chains to lure more FDI to Vietnam.

Ministries and ministerial-level agencies are tasked with perfecting legal framework for new business models emanating from new technologies such as fintech, mobile money, e-verification, to accelerate the digital transformation process, stressed Mr. Phuc.  Hanoitimes 

Ngoc Thuy


Continue Reading